December 25, 2016

On Beacon Hill: State House nativity display divine for crusading lawmaker

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Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Rep. James Lyons celebrates the setup of a nativity scene at the State House.

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State Rep. Lyons revels in Great Hall nativity display

BOSTON — Rep. Jim Lyons got a Christmas surprise last week, in the form of a green light to host a nativity scene display in the State House.

Actually, the Andover Republican was surprised twice — first, in November, when he was told he couldn’t put up a nativity on the State House lawn. Then, last Friday, he got word the Bureau of the State House had approved his application for a display inside the building after all.

The effort grew into a matter of “religious liberty, freedom of expression, First Amendment, all kinds of things tied into one,” Lyons said.

“That wasn’t where I was going at the beginning,” he said. “I was simply going, can we put up a nativity scene? I thought the answer would be — to be honest with you — yes.”

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