The Nativity scene, a staple of holiday decorating in Woodbridge, was late arriving on town hall property this year.
Letters written by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) to Mayor John McCormac last year objected to the display. FFRF is an atheist activist group from Wisconsin that operates nationwide on situations they view as being unconstitutional - such as erecting Nativity scenes on public property.
A nativity by itself on town hall property is "an unconstitutional endorsement of religion," said Patrick Elliott, an FFRF attorney.
When the story that the Nativity was missing was posted on Woodbridge Patch's Facebook page early Monday morning, it drew a lot of comments.
"One person complained and we cave..........very sad, but more frightening that we keep allowing this to happen," said Elizabeth Ann Vitale.
Stephen Mckessy was disgusted. "It is Christmas, we should have the scene up; also, put whatever religious scenes up that need be up. These people make me sick."
Linda Grohowski said she was "disappointed that Woodbridge gave in" by not putting up the manager display.
One Patch reader, Kathy Hollus-Lis, posted before 10:30 in the morning both town hall and McCormac's office number for people to make their feelings known.
By 4 pm on Monday, Public Works employees were erecting the Nativity scene in the rain. They also put up Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, a few reindeer, and a 'Happy Kwanzaa' sign.
After looking at Patch pictures of the reconfigured holiday display, Elliott was not impressed. "The initial response - not putting up the Nativity - was the correct response," said Elliott. "What they did now was put up a lot of stuff, and that's just a scheme. It seems they put it up because of complaints.
"It's not a matter of the majority, saying, we like it here. it's a matter of following the First Amendment," he said. "It also has to be viewed in an individual context."
By Tuesday, when Patch ran a second article on the now-erected display, Woodbridge residents on Facebook were, on the whole, delighted.
"Way to go, Woodbridge!" exclaimed both Diane Gacina Plutino and Carrie Christian D'Amato, while Janet Coppola said, "Great news!"
But not everyone was thrilled. "I personally don't care either way but why do you need your government to validate your religion?" Melanie Armenia posted.