Citizens came in full force from Washington County and beyond in support of the city of Chipley. Many dressed in red, with shirts reading "Jesus is the reason for the season". But, the reason for the heavy public turnout comes after an organization advised the city a Nativity scene outside of their city hall was unconstitutional.
"I'm hoping the city will stay strong on this," said Richard Burke, a Chipley citizen. "Because, I would much rather y'all decide what's good for Chipley than a group that doesn't really believe in anything."
The Freedom from Religion Foundation contacted the city by letter. Tuesday night, the city had a response of their own.
"We as a country have given our rights away," said Council Member Karen Rustin. "We have been giving our rights away for years and it's about time that communities and church leaders all get together and start taking our country back."
In an email sent to the Chipley attorney, Randal Seyler, editor of the Washington County News, wrote he had contacted the FFRF about the matter. In the foundations letter to the city they said the issue was brought forth by a citizen.
"Does anybody see that citizen?" asked Ferrell Cain at the council meeting. "I don't."
Supporters asked the "citizen" to put out the fire and claimed it would be a blessing to the city.
"It would do a lot to mitigate the feelings that a lot of people have towards that person," said Cain.
In a letter to Mayor Linda Cain, the staff attorney for the foundation wrote that nativity scenes should be erected by churches, not governments, and recommended the city sell its display.
At Tuesday's meeting one citizen offered to buy the display and donate it back to the city.
"It's not coming down," said Rustin.
Nicole Barefield the publisher of the Washington County News told News13 the paper made inquiries about such a display on public property, but did not issue a complaint of any kind.
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