West Michigan Man Outraged Over Public Nativity Scene

Posted at 7:05 PM, Dec 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-13 19:05:32-05

DORR, Mich.- If you’re driving through town, it’s so small you might miss it: a nativity scene in a gazebo on land rented by the township downtown development authority.

The nativity has been there for years and the township supervisor says no one has ever complained about it until this year.

Jeremiah Bannister, an atheist, calls it a rogue nativity.

“Do we have a policy where we can just do that?” he asked.

Eighty-four-year-old Rusty Dutkiewicz bought the nativity with her own money to help decorate the town for Christmas.

She says she got permission from the township three years ago to place the nativity scene there, “to just say, thank you Jesus for coming into this cold, funny world.”

The township supervisor says he’s new and doesn’t know who gave Dutkiewicz permission, but that there are no plans to remove the nativity scene.

Bannister says this is activism.

“I don`t like activists being in power and saying ‘I`m going to push my hobby-horse on everybody else,’” he said.

Dutkiewicz says she hopes it reminds people of the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Bannister says he’s not lobbying to have the nativity removed, but wants to encourage conversation about different religious beliefs.

The Dorr Township DDA will have a meeting Jan. 13 to discuss any changes to its policies.