Skip to comments.ACLU axes nativity, menorah (away with the manger)
Posted on 12/18/2009 3:37:41 AM PST by Born Conservative
A familiar nativity scene and menorah were removed from the Luzerne County Courthouse lawn Wednesday night because the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to get a restraining order.
County Solicitor Vito DeLuca said a Pittsburgh lawyer from the ACLU contacted him Wednesday to give the county an opportunity to remove the items before it filed court action that was already in the works.
The ACLU argues the displays violate the separation of church and state clause of the U.S. Constitution, DeLuca said.
DeLuca said county officials opted not to spend time and money on a lawsuit at least not at this time because they are swamped with the budget crisis and other pressing matters.
We didnt feel it was in the best interest of the county at this time to fight that battle, DeLuca said. We believe the most prudent thing at this point was to remove the items.
An ACLU representative could not be reached Wednesday night.
The county may revisit the matter next year and come up with alternatives that dont violate the Constitution, DeLuca said.
DeLuca said the public should not get the impression that any county officials personally agree with the removal. He remembers spotting the courthouse nativity scene as a boy.
Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla said she expects people will be upset.
Clearly, we all have our own faith, but the laws the law. The nativity scene and menorah have been a part of the courthouse a long time, and Im sure people remember them when they were growing up, she said.
Petrilla said she and other county officials believed it would be irresponsible to engage in a lawsuit.
We can all express our faith privately when were in our homes, Petrilla said.
The nativity scene that has been placed on the lawn for decades included a manger, kings, shepherds, animals and Mary and Joseph. Building and grounds staffers placed Baby Jesus in the nativity on Christmas Eve.
Building and grounds workers removed everything except the manger and turned off the nativity spotlight.
DeLuca did not know if the ACLU complaint stemmed from a local concern.
The ACLU had threatened a lawsuit against the county over this issue in 1990, but a suit never materialized.
Commissioners at the time refused to comply with the removal request. They expanded the manger and decided to add a menorah. Security was also added to make sure the items were not vandalized at night.
Nativity scenes on courthouse lawns became an issue in the late 1980s after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a nativity scene was an endorsement of Christianity and violated separation between church and state.
I'm from Missouri. Show me.
I'm from Missouri. Show me.
I too can't seem to find this "separation of church and state" clause in any copy of the Constitution that I can see. I see something about government not being allowed to establish a religion and something about a government not being allowed to hold a gun to your head and dictate the practices of your faith, but I see nothing about this at all.
With Sandra Day O'Connor as the deciding vote. Many people don't realize that taxpayers are responsible for picking up the ACLU's legal fees, but the ACLU is under no reverse obligation.
I have always wondered how the legal fee bit became law. Can anyone confirm and enlighten?
As a side note, liberals will use religion when and if it suits their own purpose. A perfect case in point is the recent disclosure that the National Association of Hispanic Elected Officials paid to have a poster of Jesus, Mary and Joseph urging Hispanic churchgoers on to register for the Census.
The county could always put up a big sign stating that. Add how much it would have cost the taxpayer if the county had not surrendered. Surround the empty area with crime tape. It might help to educate people. Counties who haven't been threatened with law suits should put up similar signs next to their nativity scenes.
Note also that the ACLU commie is from Pittsburgh. Nobody within a hundred miles of Wilkes-Barre has any objections.
I’m getting a little tired of the ACLU hunting down baby Jesus, wherever He may be, like an escaped criminal.
Actually, it's a phrase from a letter Jefferson wrote.
As far as the religious symbols go, if it's private money and labor, the ACLU should be told where to put their lawsuit. It's ridiculous when they're allowed to prohibit private expressions of religion on public property. It's one thing if it makes it so no one else can use the property, but that isn't the case.
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