Courthouse Grounds Used For Exclusive Christian Displays
For Immediate Release
(Washington, DC, Jan. 10, 2014) — A south central Missouri county government is being asked to stop its practice of placing a Christian nativity scene on the lawn of the county courthouse. Oregon County, Missouri Presiding Commissioner Patrick Ledgerwood was sent a letter yesterday by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. Representing a local county resident, the letter demands that the county “remove its display immediately and refrain from putting up a similar display in the future.”
“For about four or five years, the county has featured an exclusively Christian nativity scene in front of its courthouse during the holiday season,” the letter states. “This Christian display would be appropriate at a church or home, but is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as it is displayed on government property.”
“Displays on government property that promote a singular religious viewpoint are clearly unconstitutional,” said Appignani Humanist Legal Center Legal Director David Niose. “We hope that county administrators take appropriate steps to stop this constitutional violation.”
The letter asks for a reply by Jan. 17, 2014.
A picture of the nativity scene can be found here.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.