ATHENS, Texas, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A crowd of more than 5,000 people gathered in Athens, Texas, in support of a nativity scene on display at the Henderson County Courthouse.
"We are seeing unfold before our very eyes, the beginning of persecution of Christianity in our nation," First Baptist Church Malakoff Pastor Nathan Lorick said at the rally Saturday. "It seems it is no longer acceptable to express and exhibit the doctrines of our faith in the nation that was founded upon those same doctrines. That is why thousands are here today."
The rally came after Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., sent a letter to county officials Dec. 1 that was written on behalf of a citizen who objected to the display on the grounds that it violates a U.S. Supreme Court decision, The Athens Review reported.
Four pastors who organized the rally spoke at the hour-long event.
"The stage is set and the world watches as this small East Texas town displays together what America is all about," Lorick said. "This message has resonated in the hearts of Christians around the world. This is not because of a season or a symbol of our faith, No, those come and go. But because of our God who is sovereign and supreme."
Efforts by the Freedom from Religion Foundation to get the courthouse to display a banner with a non-Christian message were unsuccessful.