Court Rules Nativity Scene allowed in median
I'm pretty sure we did a debate on this when it was in the news a few years ago. The court has now ruled that this Nativity scene is allowed to be on public property. Do you agree with this decision, or do you think the FFRF should have won?
From The Detroit News: Nativity display back in Warren after lawsuit win | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com
Warren ? A longtime Nativity scene on Mound Road will be back this Christmas after a four-year absence.
Responding to a ruling from a federal appeals court, officials with the Macomb County Road Department are expected to give Warren resident John Satawa a permit to put up the display in Mound Road's median just north of Chicago Road, attorneys for the family said Thursday.
This year, the display could be erected as soon as Dec. 15 and will be allowed to stay up for two weeks, according to attorneys for Satawa and the Macomb County Department of Roads.
"He will be able to put the Nativity scene every Christmas, every year," said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor.
"It's a tremendous victory for the display and it comes just before Christmas."
Attorneys with the center filed a federal lawsuit on Satawa's behalf in 2009 against what was then the Macomb County Road Commission, seeking a court order to let him erect the display. The Road Commission was replaced by the Road Department when the county's new charter took effect last year.
Ben Aloia, attorney for the Road Department, said the permit is being finalized.
"This wasn't an acrimonious case," Aloia said. "Both parties believed that they were right in their positions, but in the same sense there was a mutual respect on both sides."
Satawa will be able to apply for a permit every year since the parties have agreed the scene can be placed back on the median in a location deemed safe by the Road Department, Aloia said.
The spot is about 10 feet from the original site. Aloia said placement is based on measurements to avoid sight impediments.
"Everyone gets something out of it," he said. "He gets to put his Nativity scene up, and we are able to make sure it's placed in a safe location."
Satawa's family had erected and maintained the Nativity scene on Mound Road every Christmas since 1945.
But in 2008, the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained to the Road Commission, claiming the display violated the "constitutional principle of separation of church and state."