Court Rules Nativity Scene allowed in median
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default 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?

    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."
    From The Detroit News: Nativity display back in Warren after lawsuit win | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com

    Additional Info:
    http://www.americanfreedomlawcenter....ion-et-al.html
    Last edited by GloriaInTX; 11-30-2012 at 04:38 PM.
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    I don't suspect this town is going to be giving out permits to anyone else who wants to put up a different kind of display, and that's not right. The government isn't supposed to single out any one religion, even if that's the only religion of the people in the area. Personally I'd rather not see anything religious on public property, ever, but my heart goes soft during the holidays. Put up a big menorah and a Christmas tree decorated with tai chi symbols further on down the road, and then we'll be good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    I don't suspect this town is going to be giving out permits to anyone else who wants to put up a different kind of display, and that's not right. The government isn't supposed to single out any one religion, even if that's the only religion of the people in the area. Personally I'd rather not see anything religious on public property, ever, but my heart goes soft during the holidays. Put up a big menorah and a Christmas tree decorated with tai chi symbols further on down the road, and then we'll be good.
    Is there someone asking to put up these displays and are being told no?
    wlillie likes this.

    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I do remember this debate from like 4 years ago! Too funny!

    But yeah, don't get how putting this up on public land isn't a violation of the separation of church and state? Maybe because if someone from another religion applied for a permit to put their thing up, they would be given equal space or something?

    Whatever, I thought it was nice that they said it was a very respectful case with no acrimony on either side.
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 11-30-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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    I do agree with Stacey that I have a sneaky feeling that permits aren't going out for other religious backgrounds but anyway.

    Sometimes to me there is a gray area. I'm confused to having it on a median because to me that seems distracting but...they are saying it is not so...

    I know there are legal guidelines that might disagree with me, but I am okay with a private person or group funding any type of holiday display on public common ground. For example, a near by town has a green that is funded by I think the Elks. They put up lights, Santa, a nativity, a menorah cut out that lights up etc. I'm good with that and think it is festive and the town is not paying for any of it.

    Not something that I would fight if that makes sense.
    Last edited by Jessica80; 11-30-2012 at 05:13 PM.

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    Is there someone asking to put up these displays and are being told no?
    That doesn't matter. What matters here is that a Christian display has been approved and nothing else has. That's favoring one religion and that's not OK. The city could easily write the permit to say something like, "The approved display must include equal areas devoted to at least three different religions and/or secular holiday designs." It didn't. It gave him a permit for a nativity scene.
    Last edited by Spacers; 11-30-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    That doesn't matter. What matters here is that a Christian display has been approved and nothing else has. That's favoring one religion and that's not OK. The city could easily write the permit to say something like, "The approved display must include equal areas devoted to at least three different religions and/or secular holiday designs."
    I don't know about all that noise. What if other religions don't *want* to put their stuff up on the median with him? I would think it would be sufficient to say that if they apply for a permit, they will be approved too.
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    There's a house near where my sisters live that is completely decorated every year. Half of it is a nativity scene, with a big star on the roof, with smaller & smaller stars leading down to the cradle. The other half is all Santas, candy canes, Christmas trees, with a sleigh & reindeer on the roof. I can just imagine the heat of the discussions that led to that....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    That doesn't matter. What matters here is that a Christian display has been approved and nothing else has. That's favoring one religion and that's not OK. The city could easily write the permit to say something like, "The approved display must include equal areas devoted to at least three different religions and/or secular holiday designs." It didn't. It gave him a permit for a nativity scene.
    If only one group applied, than it makes sense that only one group would be excepted. I would think there would be grounds to complain if several different religions applied, and they would only allow one group.

    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    And I happen to think that there being only one religion represented should be grounds to dismiss.
    The number of U.S. states in which a person can marry the person they love regardless of gender: 30 and counting!

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