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HHC Provides the Missing Nativity Scene at Honolulu Hale

Every year the Honolulu City and County hosts the City Lights event. Along with the lighted displays built by the City, they have a lottery to allow 5 non-profit organizations to also design and build their own displays for public viewing. This year Healthy Hawaii Coalition was awarded a display site.

Although there are usually several churches that also have displays at City Lights, this year there were no churches that participated in the lottery. An article titled “City Hall will not host Nativity scene” appeared in the Honolulu Star Bulletin on November 19th. HHC quickly responded to the newspapers to let them know that there would be a Nativity scene at Honolulu Hale this year. HHC alerted the churches and was able to borrow a Nativity scene. HHC’s display includes a sign that reads:

Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono
The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness.


HHC’s Press Release

December 2, 2005

I’m responding to a recent Star Bulletin article (11/19/05), “City Hall lawn will not host Nativity scene.” Healthy Hawaii Coalition’s display does feature a representation of the birth of Jesus.

Right after the City had its lottery to award private organizations display space on November 1st, it became pretty clear that there wouldn’t be a Nativity scene this year.

I thought it would be totally absurd to celebrate someone’s birthday and not have him represented. Besides every year since 1992, there’s been a Nativity scene at City Hall. Why stop that wonderful tradition in 2005?

Media Coverage of HHC’s Christmas Display....

City Hall lawn will not host Nativity scene
Star Bulletin – November 19, 2005

There will be no Nativity scene on the City Hall lawn this Christmas, but it's not because of a challenge on the issue of separation of church and state.No Christian groups applied for a display in the space set aside for private organizations at the Honolulu City Lights exhibition on the grounds of Honolulu Hale.

Only five groups applied, so they won the five spots allotted annually, said Patty Teruya, special-events coordinator of the city Department of Customer Services. In past years a lottery was held to select the five from nonprofit organizations seeking to display their message to holiday crowds.

There's only one religious organization this year, the Spiritual Assembly of Bahais of Honolulu. In past years, members of the Bahai faith, which teaches the oneness of God and all religions, have used a lighted "tree of humanity" with images of people from around the world.

Other exhibitors will be:

  • Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
  • Stand Up for America.
  • Healthy Hawaii Coalition.
  • Windward Ahupua'a Alliance.

A manger scene depicting the birth of Jesus has been exhibited on the municipal grounds every Christmas since 1992. A Pearl City church member convinced former Mayor Frank Fasi that the Christmas story ought to be represented amid the secular Honolulu City Lights displays. It was challenged by American Atheists in 1997. The group and the city resolved the issue by establishing the lottery for nonprofit organizations.

View from the Pew
Star Bulletin- December 17, 2005
Click here to read article...

Community Response to HHC’s Display...

City Lights displays exude Christmas spirit
Star Bulletin- December 7, 2005
Click here to read letter to the editor...

Manger scene turns dismay to elation
Star Bulletin- December 8, 2005
Click here to read letter to the editor...