Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Jesus Banned from Michigan Highway

A man who says his family has erected a nativity scene in the Mound Road median since about 1945 has filed a federal lawsuit against the Macomb County Road Commission for denying him permission to do so this year.

-- From "Warren man sues after county denies permission to put up nativity" by Paul Egan, The Detroit News 10/26/09

John Satawa of Warren alleges the commission has violated his constitutional rights. His lawsuit is backed by the Thomas More Law Center, an Ann Arbor-based law firm that promotes Christian heritage and values.

County Highway Engineer Robert Hoepfner said in a March 9 letter to Satawa's attorney that the road commission denied permission for Satawa to place the nativity scene in the Mound Road median south of Chicago Road in Warren because the scene "clearly displays a religious message."

To allow the scene on the public median would violate a clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits government from taking a position on religious issues, Hoepfner said in the letter.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "OK for 63 years, now Jesus in manger gets dumped" by Drew Zahn © 2009 WorldNetDaily 10/26/09

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the [Thomas More] Law Center, commented in a statement, "Every Christmas holiday, militant atheists … use the phrase 'separation of church and state' – nowhere found in our Constitution – as a means of intimidating municipalities and schools into removing expressions celebrating Christmas, a national holiday. Their goal is to cleanse our public square of all Christian symbols.

"However," Thompson continued, "the grand purpose of our Founding Fathers and the First Amendment was to protect religion, not eliminate it. Municipalities and schools should be aware that the systematic exclusion of Christmas symbols during the holiday season is itself inconsistent with the Constitution."

But in December of 2008, the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent the county a complaint letter.

It read, in part, "When the county displays this manger scene, which depicts the legendary birth of Jesus Christ, it places in imprimatur of the Macomb County government behind the Christian religious doctrine. This excludes citizens who are not Christian – Jews, Native American religion practitioners, animists, etc., as well as the significant and growing population that is not religious at all."

Citing a selection of Supreme Court cases, the letter concludes, "There are ample private and church grounds where religious displays may be freely placed, including, presumably, St. Anne's Parish, where this display clearly belongs. Once the government enters into the religion business, conferring endorsement and preference for one religion over others, it strikes a blow at religious liberty, forcing taxpayers of all faiths and of no religion to support a particular expression of worship."

After receiving the letter, the county road commission demanded Satawa remove the nativity scene because he had not obtained the appropriate permit.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.