Loss Of Holiday Display Sparks Backlash

December 18, 2009

Author: Jennifer Learn-Andes

Source: Times Leader


Former Luzerne County commissioner Frank Trinisewski said he will resort to legal action against the county if a Nativity scene and menorah are not returned to the courthouse lawn.

Political activist Gene Stilp is also organizing a live Nativity scene – complete with a baby Jesus – arguing that people have a First Amendment right to express their religious beliefs.

County officials decided to remove the Nativity scene and menorah from the courthouse lawn Wednesday night because the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State threatened to get a restraining order.

The organizations argued the display violated the constitutional separation of church and state. County Solicitor Vito DeLuca said officials decided to comply with the removal request, at least this year, to avoid the time and expense of fighting litigation amidst other pressing issues, including the county’s budget crisis.