OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) For the first time a Nativity display has been installed for Christmas at the Washington state Capitol after a yearlong campaign for a creche by a real estate agent.
"I would like people to remember the true meaning of Christmas," said Ron Wesselius, who was helped by the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty group founded by evangelicals. "The state ended up doing what was constitutionally right."
The display was set up Monday near the State Reception Room on the third floor.
Wesselius reached an agreement for the display in October with the Department of General Administration. He sought permission in 2006 for a Nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus after a menorah, used as a symbol of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, was placed in the Legislative Building, but officials said the request came too late in the year.
Officials in the department said it was the first Nativity scene in the history of the Capitol. Other religious displays also may be allowed, depending on availability of space, said Sandra L. DeShaw, director of Capitol Visitors Service.