Jul 26, 2014
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Letter: If Nativities Go, So Should Winter Solstice Sculpture

A letter to the editor from Santa Monica resident Eric Cooper. He argues that Nativity displays should get 14 spots at Palisades Park if a winter solstice statue stays there year-round.

Letter: If Nativities Go, So Should Winter Solstice Sculpture Letter: If Nativities Go, So Should Winter Solstice Sculpture Letter: If Nativities Go, So Should Winter Solstice Sculpture


The city attorney has recommended the City Council .  

The city already hosts a permanent "winter display" at Palisades Park called Gestation 3. It’s a circular-shaped sculpture designed so that the sun sets in its center only on the winter solstice. It has a winter solstice plaque marking the return of the life giving sun. 

Winter Solstice is celebrated by atheists and is a religious observance for numerous cultures throughout the world. Most scholars agree that Christ's birth was strategically placed by religious leaders on the calendar Dec. 25 in order to displace the "winter solstice pagan feast of the invincible sun."  

Winter solstice and Christmas celebrations have been competing with each other for 2000 years.    

The city's winter solstice display in Palisades Park stays year-round… yet the City Council wants to ban Jewish and Christian displays that only request 14 days in December.  

A ban will open up the city to expensive lawsuits. The City Council cannot deny the Nativity while at the same time continuing to endorse the winter solstice display paid for in part by the city.  

Furthermore, a vote  to ban "winter displays" will also be a vote to remove the city's winter solstice display, too.  

So, I have an easy solution:  

Allow the winter solstice to stay 12 months a year for the atheists. That’s one display but for 12 months a year. Allow the Christians 12 Nativity scenes but for one month a year. Work something out with the Jewish Community with the Menorah. Then nobody can sue the city, because it will have given everyone  equal treatment.

— Eric Cooper, Santa Monica

This opinion was read by Santa Monica resident Eric Cooper during the Feb. 28 meeting of the Santa Monica City Council. With permission from Cooper, it is being published on Patch as a letter to the editor.

Do you have a solution for the winter displays at Palisades Park? Tell us in the comments, below, or send a letter to the editor at santamonica@patch.com.

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