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Green Bay opens door to religious displays on city property

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Despite a new legal challenge, the Green Bay City Council has opened the door to allowing religious displays on city property at Christmastime.

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The Council voted 8-4 Wednesday night to modify a proposed policy on what can and can't be put up.

The city's legal staff will review the matter before it goes back to the Council. Madison's Freedom from Religion Foundation is still trying to get the federal courts to penalize Green Bay, after Council President Chad Fredette put up a nativity scene above the front door at City Hall for two weeks last Christmas.

The judge considered the lawsuit irrelevant because the display was removed and the mayor vowed to bar religious displays on city property.

But Alderman Tom Weber says the U.S. Supreme Court lets cities put up combinations of religious and non-religious items. And he didn't want the city to shy away from its constitutional rights just because somebody's suing over it.

Weber proposed an amendment which the Council approved.

Mayor Jim Schmitt says he has no problem with the new language but he still has no intention of allowing religious displays

The freedom-from-religion group said this week it was appealing the suit's dismissal, saying there was no guarantee the city would bar religious displays on its own.

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