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ACLU loses court challenge over Indiana Nativity scene

Nativity Scene, Fulton County Court House Credit: Liberty Counsel

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU) has just lost a court battle to have a Nativity scene removed from the front lawn of the Fulton County Courthouse in Indiana.

The courthouse has had a Nativity scene displayed on its front lawn every Christmas for the past 40 years. The case was actually launched in 2018 by Roger LaMunion, with the help of the ACLU, but it was only late this year that the organization asked for an injunction to prevent the Nativity scene from being installed.

In addition to figures of the Bethlehem birth that included Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Nativity scene provided by the Rochester Optimist Club also had images of Santa and reindeer.

Liberty Counsel, an organization dedicated to preserving religious freedoms in the US, represented Fulton County in the court case.

The ACLU had asked the judge for a “hasty resolution” of the case but the judge dismissed it stating that the ACLU had two years to present its case but just got around to it in the last few days and then asked for a quick resolution.

In his ruling, Judge Jon DeGuillio noted, “Yet the plaintiff now asks the Court to not only rule on his motion for an injunction, but adjudicate the case in its entirety, in the span of a few days. That is plainly unreasonable, and neither equity nor the public interest warrant such a hasty resolution under these circumstances.”

Liberty Counsel added that the defendant Roger LaMunion doesn’t even live in Fulton County and as a result “failed to demonstrate that he has suffered harm or has just cause to bring this action.”

Despite claims to the contrary, in its news release, Liberty Counsel stated previous court cases have upheld the constitutional right to have a privately funded religious display, such as a Nativity Scenes, set up on government property.

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. Therefore, this display does not violate the First Amendment and includes all the elements federal courts have held to be constitutional. 

READ: Court Rejects ACLU, Lets Nativity Remain at Indiana Courthouse for Christmas Season AND Another IN County Will Celebrate with Nativity Scene

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