Star or asterisk? Nativity scene has disclaimer

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2014 8:57 PM

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) — A nativity scene at an Arkansas courthouse will feature an additional element this year: a disclaimer saying the county had nothing to do with it.

The Baxter Bulletin reported Wednesday ( ) that the Baxter County Quorum Court voted to point out that private residents — and not the local government — are responsible for a display featuring the baby Jesus and his family.

The family of Mountain Home lawyer F.S. "Rick" Spencer has put up the nativity scene for years in memory of his late wife, Coralee Faith Spencer. Also on the lawn are a Christmas tree and a depiction of Santa Claus.

The disclaimer that the Quorum Court approved reads: "During the Holiday Season, the County of Baxter salutes liberty. Let these festive lights and times remind us that we are keepers of the flame of liberty and our legacy of freedom. Whatever your religion or beliefs, enjoy the holidays. This display is owned and erected by private citizens of Baxter County."

County Judge Mickey Pendergrass suggested the disclaimer. Last year, he received complaints after refusing to let someone erect a banner reading "Happy Winter Solstice." At the time, Pendergrass said he feared others would propose "hundreds" of displays for the courthouse lawn.

Pendergrass said no county workers are involved in putting up and taking down the display, nor are any county funds involved.