Oral argument is set for a federal appeals court case over a nativity scene that a nonprofit litigation organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom maintains is a constitutional display.
Liberty Counsel filed its reply brief last week at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, refuting the opinion by an Indiana federal judge who ruled against the nativity scene display at the Jackson County Courthouse.
"An individual read an article or heard something on the news that this atheist organization objected, and so she was contacted or she got in communication with this atheist organization and had never visited this location where the nativity scene was located," reports Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "So she went down there one time, specifically for the purpose of visiting this location and then becoming a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit."
The nativity scene has been featured for many years and is part of a broader display that includes non-Christian symbols of the Christmas holiday.
The case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The precedent is quite clear already; this is a constitutional display," Staver continues. "You can have the government putting up a display on property regarding the holiday which also includes the nativity scene. In fact, to leave out the nativity scene as part of a holiday display would be blatant discrimination against the Christian viewpoint."
Indiana Southern District Judge Tanya Walton Pruitt ruled against the nativity scene on April 29 and ordered Jackson County to pay attorney fees and other expenses for Rebecca Woodring, the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit.
According to The Indiana Lawyer, Woodring is an atheist who believes government should not be involved in religious activity.
The nativity scene in question was purchased by Brownstown Ministerial Association and maintained by the local Lions Club. The county pays for the electricity.