Speakers include Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society and Springfield's Bishop Thomas Paprocki
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire
/ -- At noon on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee (SNSC) will unveil its annual display depicting the newborn Christ Child, lying in a manger inside a handcrafted wooden stable. For the seventh year in a row, the nativity scene will stand in the center of the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda, next to the Governor's "Holiday Tree." The Capitol building is located at South 2nd Street & East Capitol Avenue in Springfield, IL.
"The nativity scene in the Rotunda represents constitutionally-protected free speech and expression of religious faith by private citizens in a traditional public forum," said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Vice-President and Senior Counsel, and State-Representative Elect for the 48th District. "The Government is neither censor nor endorser of such religious speech. In the Capitol Rotunda, where political rallies are routinely held during sessions of the Illinois General Assembly and at other times during the year, the Government is merely the gatekeeper upholding free speech."
Thomas More Society provides legal support for the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee and the American Nativity Scene Committee, placing nativity scenes in public places in twenty-one different States. Thomas More Society is co-sponsoring the nativity displays in the State Capitol buildings of Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island, and Texas.
Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel, added: "The Springfield nativity scene is privately funded and sponsored, bereft of any government aid or endorsement, and is clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and its counterpart in our Illinois Constitution of 1970. Such private expressions of religious belief in the public squares of our nation are not merely tolerated, but fully deserving of robust legal protection."
The December 2nd event is open to the public. Christmas carols will be sung by the Official Praise Team of the Springfield Baptist Church and led by Music Pastor Brian Morgan. Speakers will include the Most Rev. Thomas J. Paprocki, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, and Peter Breen, Vice President & Senior Counsel of the Thomas More Society, Chicago. Mr. Breen is State Representative-Elect for the 48th district.
For the second year in a row, Chaplain Steve Holden of the U.S. Emergency Chaplains Corps (USECC) will lay a Christmas wreath in honor of the service and sacrifice of America's military veterans.
The Nativity Scene will be on display in the Rotunda during normal business hours starting Dec. 2nd and throughout the Christmas season. Individuals or groups who would like to sing near the Nativity Scene (on weekdays, when the Rotunda is open) can call Salli Chernis of the Sec. of State's office at (217) 782-8996 for permits. Performances are limited to the noon hour.
About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society is a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends and fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court. www.thomasmoresociety.org