OLYMPIA -- The state Capitol Grounds will feature a Nativity Scene this year, and a park a few blocks north will have a nine-foot lighted Menorah, state officials said.
The Nativity Scene will be go up Dec. 11 and come down Dec. 28. The Menorah goes up Dec. 6, and there's a lighting ceremony on Dec. 9 at Sylvester Park, about three blocks down Capitol Boulevard.
An atheist group usually arranges for some sort of display, also, but so far they haven't requested the necessary permits. The outside displays are a result of the problems the state had a few years ago inside the Capitol Building when competing displays seemed on a path to fill up the available space. (Regular Spin Control readers may recall how the controversy generated fodder for conservative talking heads fuming about a "War on Christmas" on television and radio).
All religious displays are now required to be set up outside. The only interior display is the holiday tree in the Rotunda.
This year, the battleground in the War on Christmas appears to be in Santa Monica, Calif., as this video points out.