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Air Force Base Takes Down Nativity Scene Following Complaint

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File photo of a Nativity scene. (credit: PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a Nativity scene. (credit: PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

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SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (CBS Charlotte/AP) — Officials at Shaw Air Force Base are trying to determine what to do about a holiday display after a Nativity scene was taken down last week.

Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Keavy Rake said Tuesday a Nativity display was set up Friday by a group of volunteers from the base chapel at a small lake on the installation. The site was near where a tree lighting ceremony was scheduled Friday evening.

Rake says the Military Religious Freedom Foundation lodged a complaint about the display through the Air Force in Washington.

Paul Loebe, spokesman for the foundation, said the Nativity scene was in violation of the Constitution.

“It was very sectarian in nature and a direct violation of the US Constitution as well as a blatant violation of Air Force Instruction 1-1 Section 2.11,” Loebe said in a statement.

Rake says Air Force officials want a holiday display that reflects more than a single group, so the Nativity scene was taken down and officials are trying to determine the proper placement and arrangement of a new display.

Loebe thanked the Air Force for taking the Nativity scene down quickly.

“Within 2 hours and 15 minutes of initially being contacted by MRFF, the nativity scene had been promptly removed,” Loebe’s statement read. “MRFF wants to congratulate the Air Force on acting so swiftly to reverse this egregious violation and hopes that in the future they will ensure that no such violations continue to occur.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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