Judge okays lawsuit over Texas removing mock nativity scene

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge says a group has a right to question whether Texas' removal of a satirical nativity scene from the State Capitol was unlawful.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks is allowing a lawsuit to move forward against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and state officials following last year's removal of a holiday display that included Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

The two Founding Fathers were gathered around a manger containing the Bill of Rights.

The mock nativity scene was created by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which promotes the separation of church and state.

Abbott criticized the exhibit as "tasteless sarcasm" and "designed to belittle and defend."

State officials had approved the mock nativity scene prior to Abbott's objection.

The group sued the State of Texas after the display was removed. Sparks on Tuesday denied Texas' request to dismiss the case.

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