The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana is seeking to remove a nativity scene that has been displayed on the lawn of the Fulton County Courthouse since 1980.
On Monday, nonprofit religious freedom litigation firm Liberty Counsel filed a brief opposing the ACLU’s preliminary injunction on behalf of its client Roger LaMunion of Argos. LaMunion filed a federal lawsuit in December 2018 claiming that the nativity scene, which has been on display along with secular Christmas symbols as Santa Claus, is “advancing one preferred religion over all others.”
LaMunion complained that his trips to Rochester brought him in “direct and unwelcome contact with the display.”
“In addition, LaMunion is not even a resident of Fulton County, and he has failed to demonstrate that he has suffered harm or has just cause to bring this action,” Liberty Counsel observed. “The U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal appeals courts have recognized that government entities may recognize Christmas as a holiday and may maintain Christmas displays that include both religious and secular symbols,” Liberty Counsel noted in a statement. Therefore, this display does not violate the First Amendment and includes all the elements federal courts have held to be constitutional.
“Publicly sponsored Nativity scenes on public property are constitutional, especially when the display includes other secular symbols of the holiday,” the statement continued. “This Christmas display in Fulton County is no exception. Every year, the ACLU unsuccessfully attempts to prove that it is wrong on the law.”