Study: Most Americans like religious holiday displays

More than 40% of Americans approve of nativity scenes on public property

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – They’re classic signs of the season — lights, red and green decorations, Christmas trees, and perhaps even a nativity scene on your town green. And new Pew research shows more than 40% of Americans think those Christian holiday displays on public property are just fine, regardless of whether or not other faiths are represented.

“I enjoy it. I went to a live nativity scene out in Granby, Connecticut last week. I look at it. I enjoy stuff like that,” said Vincent Barre of Westfield.

An additional 30% of Americans think Christian displays on public property are okay, but they do have some conditions. They say Christian holiday displays should only be allowed in a community if they’re accompanied by other symbols that represent all the people who live there.

“I welcome them, all of them. I want every religion represented. I enjoy driving through communities and looking at lights, seeing the nativity scenes, menorahs. Just to feel all people are included. Community to me is all inclusive,” said Sharon Looney-Armstrong of Northampton.

Still, even people who don’t share Christian views told 22News they appreciate nativity scenes because they’re a treasured tradition that reminds them of home.

“I was born here and that has always been there. It’s a part of my memories of my childhood Christmas. It’s not my faith but it’s part of Greenfield. It’s always been there,” said Kate Hunter of Greenfield.

In fact, the vast majority of Americans consider the Christian displays historical. About three-quarters of U.S. adults believe Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary, an angel appeared to shepherds to announce his birth, and that wise men followed a star to deliver him gifts.

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