Christmas banner causes flap in New Jersey town

A Christmas banner is causing some controversy in one New Jersey town.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation wants the “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner hanging over Broadway in the Gloucester County borough of Pitman to be taken down.

Borough officials say they don’t have the authority to remove the banner, put up by the Knights of Columbus, because it is attached to a privately owned building and a utility pole.

If local governments have holiday displays, they must be all inclusive, said Matthew Weng, an attorney with the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

“Any displays that they would put up would have to include any and all major religions,” Weng said. “Or they would have to completely avoid religious displays altogether.”

Weng said the displays can be a headache for municipal officials.

“Every year … I get a pretty decent number of calls because it’s always a concern for municipalities, and they especially want to avoid not antagonizing certain residents,” he said. “And they also want to avoid any potential lawsuits that might result from it.”

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