Every Christmas season the sprawling, life-size displays are put up by local Christian congregations on a bluff at Palisades Park, overlooking Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific.
But the pratice has come under attack from non-believers who this year applied to use the land to deliver their own message.
Santa Monica, which is well known for its liberal politics, decided to institute a lottery to ensure everyone's constitutional rights to frees speech under the First Amendment were protected.
A flood of entries to the lotyter from atheist groups led to them winning 18 of the 21 display spots. Instead of scenes depicting the manger in Bethlehem the area is now staked with signs referring to Christianity as "fables and mythology." One poster depicts God and says "37 million Americans know myths when they see them." Read more