- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Commanders at a U.S. Air Force base in South Carolina have booted a Nativity scene from its premises, agreeing with separation of church and state activists that the display violated both the U.S. Constitution and military code.

The removal of the Nativity scene at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C., came at the pushing of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and its leader, Mikey Weinstein, WLTX-TV reported. Mr. Weinstein reportedly called the Pentagon to complain, saying 41 airmen agreed the display was offensive — and shortly after, the scene was removed, The Blaze reported.

The group said on its website that the Nativity scene “was very sectarian in nature and a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution as well as a blatant violation of Air Force [code],” especially since it was located right next to a Christmas tree. And Mr. Weinstein bragged that it took only a little more than two hours after lodging his complaint for the Pentagon to vow to have the display torn down, The Blaze reported.

But some aren’t so enamored with the group’s touted success.

“I don’t know where a plastic baby Jesus could cause such emotional distress on somebody that they would want to get involved with the military freedom folks and then have that removed,” said one veteran, John Sammons, quoted on WLTX-TV. “Many have died overseas today for the right for your religious freedom and it breaks my heart.”

Shaw’s Facebook page exploded with comments and criticisms, too.

One posted, as The Blaze reported: The removal of the scene was a “shame” and that “Christmas is Christ.”

Another wrote: “Since Shaw AFB decided to buckle to pressure and immediately remove the nativity scene … why bother acknowledging Christmas at all? No days off, no holiday leaves or schedules … all civilian employees report to work like any other work day.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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