In the angry eyes of Christians in Santa Monica, Calif., Damon Vix is the atheist who stole Christmas.

Vix is blamed for the city’s decision to ban all private displays in Palisades Park, ending a tradition of 14 Nativity scenes erected by church groups in the park every December for the last 60 years.

The Santa Monica Christmas controversy began several years ago when Vix decided to counter the crèches by posting a sign with a quotation mistakenly attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.”

Other atheists joined Vix to demand space, forcing the city to set up a lottery to divvy up slots in the park.

Tensions mounted in the community last December after atheist groups flooded the lottery pool and won most of the available space. Many of their displays were vandalized.

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