After they received a request for a mall space to present a nativity display for The Legion of Mary association — a Catholic group — the Thistles Shopping Centre responded that it:
"…prides itself on being religiously and politically neutral in its behaviour within the local community and with this in mind we do not feel it would be right to agree to host this type of promotion within a shopping centre where our customers come to enjoy a leisure activity without being subjected to individuals organisations beilefs."
A barge of comments appeared online in reaction to the decision.
A shopping centre in Stirling won't have a nativity scene this year because it wants to remain religiously & politically neutral! The snowflakes have taken over Stirling 😡— Barclay 🇬🇧 (@blairforce2) December 6, 2018
Phone in show today is on a shopping center in Stirling not having a nativity display.— My door is adorned with a festive Rhys (@Rhys180) December 6, 2018
May have to leave room for next hour or so.
What is Christmas without those things? I'm the same as you, I get emotional and get that real human connection when I hear carollers.— Onewomanandherdog (@1womanandadog) December 2, 2018
Don't like: Thistle Centre in Stirling not having a nativity scene for whatever reason.— Alan Grant (@alangrantuk) December 6, 2018
Do like: The sheer outrage and impotent fury at it — hilarious!
It's lovely to see Baby Jesus Manger at Christmas and always. ❤️🎄🛐— Wonder Woman aka Lynda Tatrai❤️✌️💙 (@lulabelldesigns) December 5, 2018
A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh reportedly said that move was a "little Grinch-like" and added that "in the true spirit of Christmas", they would "ask them to reconsider their decision".
A spokeswoman from the Church of Scotland added:
"We find it very disappointing that the true meaning of Christmas has been completely lost here. When a shopping centre can focus purely on commercialism to the exclusion of the reason for the celebration of Christmas it is a sad day for all of us."