Shoppers perusing the curiosity and gift shops in downtown Pitman might miss the sign hanging overhead that reads, “Keep Christ in Christmas.”

But the white plastic banner has caught the attention of a national group advocating the separation of church and state, which maintains that by allowing the sign on public property, the borough is promoting Christmas and Christianity and thus violating the Constitution.

The use of the term Christmas can be controversial when it comes to public life. Last winter, the establishment and subsequent name change of a “Christmas Village” outside Philadelphia’s City Hall riled observers of various religious persuasions.

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