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Monday, December 22, 2014

The "Lititz and It's Creche" Story

The triangular "Square" in Lititz, PA where the creche created
national news in 1993 when the ACLU asked to have it removed.
It was an ordinary day.  Just got back from driving around looking at many of the Christmas light displays that illuminate the night sky in Lancaster, PA.  House after house with strands of lights in all colors as well as Santas on the roof with his reindeer, big blow-up snowmen and the traditional lighted creche.  Then, the next morning I was greeted with a creche on the front page of the local newspaper.  Only this time it brought back memories from the early 1990's when the nearby town of Lititz, PA was faced with having to take down their creche that was located in the center of town on a triangle of land known as the "Square" in Littiz.  Seems that in 1993 an anonyous person contacted the ACLU which resulted in the ACLU asking the borough of Lititz to voluntarily remove the creche which featured a stable with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and a few sheep.  The creche was to removed by December 24, 1993.  It had been the centerpiece on the "Square" in Lititz for decades.  ACLU claimed that the display was in violation of the separation between church and state.  Boy, you don't do that to the people in Lititz!  The local residents flooded the borough with phone calls, petitions and letters of support for the creche.  
Lancaster Newspaper photo taken by my friend Dan Marschka
on November 30, 1994 at the rededication of the creche.
Even organized a legal, peaceful protest with a large attendance in the "Square" in Lititz.  Well, the borough of Lititz decided to fight back and did get a repreive from the ACLU for an additional month which took it past Christmas.  The borough later found out that the town of Lititz has been set up as a grid system by the Moravian Church and the triangle of land known as the "Square" wasn't public, but private property, owned by the Moravian Church.  Well, that changed everything since there was no longer a church/state issue.  The borough employees could no longer set up and remove the creche so a private party took over that chore.  On November 30, 1994, the creche, after some refurbishing, was rededicated with close to 3,000 people attending on the cold night.  The creche stands today, not only as a symbol of the birth of Jesus, but as the community's decision to defend a liberty.  So, once again, all is well in the town of Lititz.  At least during Christmas season.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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