Monday, July 25, 2016

Church Directional Sign On Public Property Did Not Violate Establishment Clause

In Tearpock-Martini v. Shickshinny Borough, (MD PA, July 22, 2016), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed an Establishment Clause challenge to the action of a borough council that voted to permit a sign on a public property pointing the way to a local Baptist church.  Plaintiff whose property was near the sign was a member of council as well, but voted against the action. Borough employees helped install the sign which read: "Bible Baptist Church Welcomes You!".  The sign included a cross and a Bible and a directional arrow with the words "one block". Finding that the sign is a "religious display," the court concluded nevertheless:
A reasonable observer familiar with the history and context of the display would not perceive the sign as a government endorsement of religion.
(See prior related posting.)