Court rules Warren can keep Nativity scene during holiday season
The U.S. District Court made a decision Friday to allow the city of Warren to keep its Nativity scene during the holiday season at City Hall.
The court dismissed Freedom From Religion, Inc.'s motion to allow it's anti-religion sign and ban on the City Hall Nativity scene.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts released the following statement in reaction to the decision.
“This is a monumental victory for freedom of religion. To say I am pleased with the U.S. District Court’s decision is an understatement. This decision gives a clear message to this group that the city was correct not to allow the sign because the sign was not designed to promote the holiday theme and good will in the community and to allow the Nativity Scene during the holiday season.
“As I stated in my letter to this anti-religion group (and upheld by the Court), the Nativity Scene did not constitute an endorsement of any religion, especially in view of the fact that we allowed other religions to celebrate their holiday seasons with displays at City Hall.
“The Court’s decision states that the city’s decision to allow the Nativity Scene and not the anti-religion display did not violate the free speech clause, the establishment of religion clause, or the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution.
“I was particularly pleased that the court found that the anti-religion group’s sign was ‘political and was not intended to celebrate the holiday season and promote good will.’
“My reason for refusing to allow the anti-religion sign was to avoid controversy and confrontation and disruption of city business, and that was upheld by the Court.
“The bottom line is the Nativity Scene will continue to be displayed at City Hall during the holiday season and the anti-religion sign will not be displayed. The decision now allows the Nativity Scene to be part of the holiday season at City Hall without a disruption anti-religion sign next to it.”