A New Mexico mayor is vowing to fight to keep a nativity scene in a city park.

Belen Mayor Jereh Cordova said he was angry when he got a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which said that a citizen had complained about the nativity scene in a Belen park.

“Immediately, I was angry because I know my town very well, I know our history, I know our traditions, and that nativity represents our town,” he said.

Cordova has said that Belen means Bethlehem in Spanish, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation is arguing that the nativity scene is religious in nature and should be moved to private property.

“Even if Belen does indeed translate to Bethlehem, choosing the nativity scene to represent Bethlehem is an explicitly religious choice,” Freedom From Religion Foundation lawyer Andrew Seidel said.

Cordova said that Belen is prepared to fight for the nativity scene, even if the Freedom From Religion Foundation sues for its removal.


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