Atheists who objected to a small Indiana county's nativity scene lost one lawsuit but now have filed a second that remains in court.
Franklin County (Indiana) allows citizens to erect private displays, including an annual nativity scene that offended a couple of local non-believers. Attorney Jocelyn Floyd of the Thomas More Society tells OneNewsNow the atheists filed suit.
“The Freedom From Religion Foundation said that this is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, that by having this on the courthouse lawn it is the government officially endorsing or promoting one particular religion,” she says.
The county adopted a written policy spelling out how local citizens could put up different displays, so the court dismissed the lawsuit as moot.
“And so Freedom From Religion Foundation applied from Wisconsin, and the Satanic Temple applied from Massachusetts and they were denied under the policy, and they said that that makes the policy unconstitutional,” she explains.
But the policy specifies only local individuals or groups are permitted. Discussions are under way to settle the lawsuit without going through the legal hoops a second time. Floyd says the ordinance is content-neutral and is open for all topics for county residents.
The American Civil Liberties Union joined in the lawsuit with FFRF.