Well — I guess sometimes they can win.
In Scotland, the Thistles Centre mall rejected the installation of a Nativity scene in honor of Christmas by the Catholic Legion of Mary. The shopping center said any such display would violate its “neutral” position on religion.
Hmmm…I wonder if the mall also outlawed the purchase of Christmas gifts from all its stores, just to be completely consistent with the whole eschewing of the religious holiday.
Surely they did; after all, a spokesperson beamed:
“Thistles prides itself on being religiously and politically neutral in its behaviour. With this in mind, we do not feel it would be right to host this type of promotion in a shopping centre.”
Christians didn’t appreciate the blacklisting, and the Church of Scotland released the following statement:
“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.”
The story made (inter)national headlines.
Two young Christians — 27-year-old John Mallon and 30-year-old Elena Feick — decided to make a statement of their own. The kind that involves action.
They created a Nativity with…themselves.
John dressed as Joseph; Elena went as a baby-carrying Mary.
The two paraded through the mall, introducing themselves as the Biblical characters and sharing the true meaning of Christmas.
John told Lifesite News they were well-received:
“It was fun. It was terrific to be there and share our faith. The shoppers loved us. No objections from shoppers.”
On Wednesday, on the strength of what was apparently a positive reception of the live-action Nativity, the mall reversed its decision — the Catholic organization’s honoring of Christmas would be welcome after all:
“We’ve listened carefully to everyone who contacted us about the installation and have decided to reverse our original decision. We have offered [a representative for the Legion of Mary] the opportunity to host a nativity scene at the centre this Sunday in line with her original request and we are delighted that she has accepted.”
Upon hearing the good news, John was delighted:
“It’s a Christmas miracle. What great news! The real reason for the season!”
And he had an idea, which he — as administrator of Glasgow’s Holy Family Roman Catholic Church Facebook page, shared on social media:
“If you are shopping in Thistles Shopping centre this Advent, why not pay a visit to the Crib and share your picture with us to spread the peace and joy of the Christmas season to all.”
Via the Scotsman, the Archdiocese of St. Andrews & Edinburgh expressed tremendous gratitude to the mall:
“The management of the Thistles Centre, along with owners Standard Life Investments, are to be commended and congratulated for listening to the general public and responding with such generosity and inclusivity, recognising that contemporary Scotland should be a place that both respects and upholds religious liberty in the public square.”
If you will, take the time to also thank Thistles Centre for doing the right thing and honoring the faith of so many members of its community. Contact them here:
Thistles Shopping Centre
Tel: +44 178 640-0055
Fax +44 178 646-5443
Find all my RedState work here.
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