The trouble in Santa Monica began three years ago, when atheist Damon Vix was granted a booth in Palisades Park alongside the story of Jesus Christ's birth.
Vix hung a sign that quoted Thomas Jefferson: "Religions are all alike -- founded on fables and mythologies." The other side read "Happy Solstice." He repeated the display the following year but then upped the stakes significantly.
Vix recruited 10 others last year to inundate the city with applications for displays and the atheists used half their spaces, displaying signs such as one that showed pictures of Poseidon, Jesus, Santa Claus and the devil.
Most of the signs were vandalized and in response the city ended a tradition that began in 1953 and earned Santa Monica one of its nicknames, the City of the Christmas Story.
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