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Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has made religious liberty a cornerstone of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Some of his Michigan supporters are taking the campaign rhetoric a step further.

On Dec. 12 and 13, Cruz campaign volunteers plan to stage a live nativity scene and carol next to the state Christmas tree outside the Capitol in downtown Lansing.

Cruz is placing fourth nationally behind front-runner Donald Trump, Detroit native Dr. Ben Carson and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, according to an average of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

And it appears the group of conservative activists won’t just be celebrating the birth of Jesus.

“We can’t think of a better way to stand for religious liberty and for life,” Cruz’s state director, Wendy Day, said in a statement. “Jesus was an unplanned pregnancy — at least unplanned by Mary and Joseph — and changed the world.”

The political event comes as the state Capitol has become a more popular place for political and religious groups to take a stand.

The Satanic Temple of Detroit successfully petitioned a state commission to display an atheistic “Snaketivity Scene” for three days before Christmas, featuring a snake, a book symbolizing knowledge and a message that “the greatest gift is knowledge.” The group said it doesn’t worship Satan and describes itself as a collective of Satanists, secularists and advocates for individual liberty.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, and a bipartisan coalition of fellow lawmakers responded by organizing a Nativity scene of no more than 3-by-3 feet that also would be erected and taken down daily in accordance with Capitol rules.

The legislators took action after a Florida individual had trouble seeking local help to exhibit a proposed nativity scene.

clivengood@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3660

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