Tuesday, February 26, 2013

6th Circuit: City Not Required To Add "Winter Solstice" Sign To Holiday Display

In Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. City of Warren, Michigan, (6th Cir., Feb. 25, 2013), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a holiday display put up by the city of Warren, Michigan in its civic center. The court held that the display-- which included a lighted tree, reindeer, snowmen, a "Winter Welcome" sign and a nativity scene-- does not offend the Establishment Clause. It also held that the city was not required to include near the display a Winter Solstice sign composed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The sign included language calling religion "myth and superstition." The court said:
The short answer to the Foundation’s Winter Solstice request was that the Supreme Court has long permitted exhibits like the Warren holiday display, and the Establishment Clause does not convert these displays into a seasonal public forum, requiring governments to add all comers to the mix and creating a poison pill for even the most secular displays in the process.
The court also concluded that the mayor's letter rejecting FFRF's request, despite some questionable statements in it, did not turn the city's holiday display into an impermissible establishment of religion.

Finally, the court emphasized the the holiday display involved is "quintessentially government speech." Quoting the 9th Circuit, it added: "Simply because the government opens its mouth to speak does not give every outside individual or group a First Amendment right to play ventriloquist."  The Detroit Free Press reports on the decision.

1 comment:

Nancy Danielson said...

Even a ventriloquist cannot imitate The Word of God. Only The True God can endow us with our unalienable rights, including Religious Liberty, the purpose of which is so that we can come to know, Love, and serve The True God, not so that we may worship false idols. If you are not worshipping The True God Who desires that we overcome our disordered inclinations so that we are not led into temptation, but rather, sin no more, you are not worshipping The God of Salvation, God with the capital G, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, as recognized by our Founding Fathers. ( see Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Paris)