'Christ' banner headed back to N.J. street

July 31, 2012 at 1:19 PM

PITMAN, N.J., July 31 (UPI) -- A controversial banner reading "Keep Christ in Christmas" is making its return to a New Jersey road, officials said.

Mark Pawlowski, the grand knight of the Pitman-based Knights of Columbus council Our Lady Queen of Peace 6247, said town officials have told the group they are on track to hang the banner over the intersection of Broadway and Second Avenue, where it has been posted every year for decades, the Gloucester County Times, Woodbury, N.J., reported Tuesday.

"One of the pillars of Knights of Columbus is community. We want them to know we're here and this is what we believe. We want to reach out to the community. It's important to keep Christ at the center of life," Pawlowski said.

Pawlowski said the group has two backup locations on private property in case they run into resistance from officials, but Mayor Russ Johnson said the city has no plans to block the banner.

The Wisconsin-based non-profit Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the separation of church and state, unsuccessfully lobbied officials last year to have the banner moved to a church instead of being posted on public property.

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