Christmas market nixes nativity scene

Oct. 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM

HELSINGBORG, Sweden, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Organizers of a Swedish Christmas market said there will be no nativity scene in order to keep the market "politically and religiously independent."

Eva Asare, who was working to organize the nativity scene at the Christmas market, located at Fredriksdal Gardens and Museums in Helsingborg, said the two churches planning the display received an email from market organizers saying the nativity scene would not be allowed in order to allow the market to be a "politically and religiously independent operation," the Swedish news agency TT reported Thursday.

"I am devastated and think they are crossing a line here. What are they celebrating at Fredriksdal? Is it just a commercial affair?" Asare said.

Asare described the decision as a sign of "blatant fear of religion."

"Are you allowed to sell a straw star -- that's also a religious symbol? Are you allowed to sing Christian carols in concert? And what about the advent calendars?" Asare said.

The cultural board of the local authority said it will review the decision.

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