Springfield | There won’t be a nativity scene to celebrate Christmas in the rotunda of the Illinois State Capitol this year. Or a Menorah in honor of Hanukkah. Or a display from the Satanic Temple to make their presence known and maybe even raise a little ire. Why? Ongoing construction at Capitol.
A representative of the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees the annual holiday displays, told Springfield’s WICS, “Due to construction constraints, the Capitol will not be hosting decoration displays in the rotunda this year.”
According to the representative, the decision to forgo the tradition “was not made lightly, but it will ensure the safety of individuals and maintain open areas necessary for workers and construction materials.” The Capitol Architect’s office says construction is currently slated to be completed by November 2024.
Public scenes expressing religious faith must be privately hosted and temporary, according to interpretations of First Amendment rights.
In previous years the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee (SNSC) would host a ceremony in the rotunda to honor Christ’s birth.
SNSC was the first group in the nation to display a nativity scene in this manner in 2008. Since then, groups in at least 32 other states have followed.