Scots shopping centre lifts '˜Grinch-like' ban on nativity scene

A Scottish shopping centre has dropped their self-imposed ban on staging a nativity scene as part of their Christmas display.

Thistles shopping centre in Stirling have done a backflip over their nativity ban
Thistles shopping centre in Stirling have done a backflip over their nativity ban

Thistles in Stirling had initially announced they would not be hosting any form of religious display, with bosses declaring the centre “prides itself on being religiously and politically neutral”.

But in a statement issued today, centre management confirmed they were lifting their ban on the installation of a Christmas crib.

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Thistles will now be hosting a nativity scene within their shopping mall from Sunday onwards.

A statement said: “We’ve listened carefully to everyone who contacted us about the installation and have decided to reverse our original decision.”

The original application for the centre to stage a crib scene was made by Margaret Patterson of the Stirling Presidium of the Legion of Mary.

The application had been knocked back by Thistles on the grounds the crib was not “religiously neutral”.

It prompted an attack from the Church of Scotland, which said: “We find it very disappointing that the true meaning of Christmas has been completely lost here.”

Today’s statement from centre management added: “We have offered Mrs Patterson 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.”

The move was welcomed by the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.

A spokesperson said: “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.

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“We wish the management, staff and shoppers at Thistles a very happy and very peaceful Christmas indeed.”