Knights of Columbus Lose Court Case Over Display of Creche in Public Green

December 7, 2000

Source: The Boston Globe

On December 7, 2000, The Boston Globe reported that "a federal judge ruled yesterday that Lexington selectmen aren't violating anyone's rights by refusing to allow the Knights of Columbus to display a creche on the town's historic Battle Green during the Christmas season. In a 12-page ruling, US District Judge Nancy Gertner concluded that a new town ordinance that bans unattended structures from being placed on the common for more than eight hours was designed 'primarily to protect the historic and aesthetic qualities of the Lexington Green.' Gertner wrote that the regulation is 'content neutral' because it applies to all sorts of displays that have been proposed for the green, including a pyramid to honor the Egyptian sun god, Ra, and a herd of cows to celebrate Hinduism. 'The selectmen recognized that if they allowed the creche, they would also have to permit each of these other displays, to avoid endorsing any particular religion in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution,' Gertner wrote in denying the request by the Knights of Columbus to strike down the ordinance." The Knights of Columbus will appeal the decision.