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Nativity scenes banned at UK shopping centre

Fri 07 Dec 2018
By Alex Williams

"Religiously neutral" bosses at a UK shopping centre have been criticised by church groups for refusing to allow a nativity set to be staged on their premises.

Managers at Thistles in Stirling declined a request to host props and figurines representing the first ever Christmas, saying customers would not approve.

A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh told the Scottish Sun: "At this time of year, Christmas cribs grace many public squares all across the British Isles, bringing joy to nearly all who encounter them, regardless of their religion.

 

"It seems just a wee bit, well, Grinch-like for the Thistles Shopping Centre to ban the Christmas crib and, in the true spirit of Christmas, we would certainly ask them to reconsider their decision."

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scotland told the newspaper: "We find it very disappointing that the true meaning of Christmas has been completely lost here.

 

"When a shopping centre can focus purely on commercialism to the exclusion of the reason for the celebration of Christmas it is a sad day for all of us."

A member of the Legion of St Mary's Association, Margaret Patterson complained to her local MP, Stephen Kerr, who took up the matter with Thistles.

 

A reply he received from the shopping centre said: "Thistles shopping centre prides itself on being religiously and politically neutral in its behaviour within the local community and with this in mind we do not feel it would be right to agree to host this type of promotion within a shopping centre.

"Our customers come to enjoy a leisure activity without being subjected to individual organisation's beliefs.

 

"We will not be willing to reconsider the application any further and hope that this final decision is accepted."

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