CANONSBURG (KDKA) – All it took was a single complaint to nearly bring a tradition of more than 50 years in one community to an end.
Now, the nativity scene in front of the Canonsburg Borough Building is preparing to make another move.
It’s been 2,010 years since there was no room at the inn in Bethlehem.
Something similar happened a week ago in Canonsburg because of a single complaint from Megan Hartley.
“We have Jewish members of this community, Muslim members, Atheists – even Pagans – and having a nativity site up – doesn’t represent a single one of them,” Hartley said.
Baby Jesus was moved off public property in front of the Borough Building to private property, a few doors away.
“Since last week we’ve had calls from Virginia Beach, California, Florida, Texas, Utah,” according to Canonsburg Mayor David Rohme.
All of them wanted Baby Jesus back where he’d been in Canonsburg at Christmastime for 57 years.
On Monday, the decision was made to have the nativity scene moved back. However, it will have to be surrounded by secular signs of the season.
“We followed legal counsel’s opinion and the candy canes, the community Christmas tree – um – reindeers -those are all the items that will be in front yard,” Rohme said.
Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, it may take some work to relocate the crèche. It’s now frozen to the ground and very fragile.
“I think we surely ought to have it here,” Ed Deresh said.
Deresh had been so upset he was going to try to rent a bit of the municipal lawn himself to allow for the manger.
“I’d still like to rent a space there and I think that would make it official that we could put it there,” Deresh said.
People have been calling the mayor all day sharing similar sentiments.
Canonsburg will have a live nativity scene this coming Sunday evening from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
The Knights of Columbus hope to have the crèche back in its original place in a few days.
KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson attempted to contact Hartley for a reaction, but was unable to reach her.