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‘Keep Christ In Christmas’ Sign Stirs Controversy In South Jersey Town

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By Robin Rieger

PITMAN, N.J. (CBS) – Some residents of a South Jersey town are calling a Knights of Columbus banner that hangs over Broadway in Pitman, a sign of the season.

It reads “Keep Christ in Christmas.”

“I think it’s wonderful, Christ is Christmas,” said Maria Marandino of Vineland.

Some unnamed residents who live in Pitman and who believe the sign that hangs across Main Street violates the Constitution, contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Wisconsin that promotes separation of church and state. The group’s consultant told Eyewitness News by phone that they’ve asked the town to remove the sign.

“It’s a group endorsing religion over a public right of way,” said Andrew Seidel, the group’s constitutional consultant.

The town’s mayor says the sign is attached to private property and hanging over a county road.

“I think it’s a sad state of affairs that our country, we kowtow to the minority and not the majority of people who like that sort of thing to stay,” said Mayor Michael Batten.

Some residents say a nativity scene was removed from a Christmas display because the park it was displayed in is Pitman’s property.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation says they will look for private property in Pitman now to hang their sign, which reads:

“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds,” said Seidel.

Anna Dora Shipley said the sign has been hung every Christmas in the 45 years she’s been here. She doesn’t like the Foundation’s sign but says they have a right to put it up.

“Just don’t take mine down,” said Shipley.

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