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'Atheists win' ban on religious beach displays

The Californian city of Santa Monica's 60-year tradition of beachfront nativity scenes has come to an end after a court upheld a ban on religious displays in an effort to stop a spiralling row between atheists and Christians.

City authorities halted all Christmas displays after finding themselves in the crossfire between supporters of traditional Christmas celebrations and their secular opponents.

Religious groups conceded "the atheists won" and compared the judge's ruling to Pontius Pilate's decision not to intervene and halt the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The battle began in 2009 when non-believers first challenged the tradition of church groups setting up large displays in Palisades Park.

Irish Independent