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Nativity scene in western Md. stirs discussion

HANCOCK — Officials in the western Maryland town of Hancock are disassociating themselves from a Nativity scene in a public park that has raised concerns from a First Amendment group.

The crèche at Joseph Hancock Park was approved by the Town Council and is organized by a group of Hancock-area churches. It first went up last year.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation contacted the town about it earlier this year.

Town Manager David Smith tells the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown that the Nativity scene is not state-sponsored and that the Council of Churches met the requirements for displaying it.

A sign that will be posted next to the Nativity scene says the area is set aside for people exercising First Amendment rights and that town leaders take no position on the activities.

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