Texas gov orders removal of non-religious nativity scene from Capitol rotunda

A non-traditional nativity scene at the Texas state capitol featuring George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the Statue of Liberty standing over the Bill of Rights was taken down and deemed a “mockery” of Christianity by the state's governor Wednesday.

Fox 7 Austin reported the nativity scene had permission to be at the Capitol through the Christmas holiday before Abbot pulled plug. The scene featured the three Founding Fathers and the Statue of Liberty worshipping the document rather than Jesus Christ. It was placed in the basement rotunda of the Capitol on Dec. 18, according to the Fox affiliate.

“This was a really indecent way to promote an agenda," Nicole Hudgens, an official with Texas Values, told the station.

Abbot ordered the scene removed on Tuesday after sending a litter to the State Preservation Board saying they have “no obligation to approve displays that purposefully mock the sincere religious beliefs of others.”

The governor also said the exhibit “promotes ignorance and falsehood as it suggests that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson worshipped the Bill of Rights in the place of Jesus."

The Freedom from Religion Foundation countered Abbot saying they rather the government remain neutral toward religion.

"Governor Abbott, as a former attorney general, should be well aware that the government cannot censor any display based on its viewpoint. That's exactly what he's done here. He's personally offended that atheists exist and that we want an equal opportunity to express our viewpoint in the Capitol, so he censored our display. It's illegal and inappropriate," said Sam Grover, an official with the group.

Fox 7 Austin reported the group is considering pursuing legal action against the government.

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