Sunday, November 09, 2008

Louisiana City's Festival Creates Church-State Issue

Thibodeauxville, Louisiana's annual music and food festival has become the latest focus in the battle over the proper division between church and state. The flyer promoting the festival says it will include "all-day Christian music and dance." A citizen's complaint over this led the ACLU to write the mayor seeking an end to future city participation in events that highlight the Christian faith. However, according to Thursday's Lafourche Parish Daily Comet, the Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce says that it, not the city, is the sponsor of the annual festival, so no church-state issue arises. But the Louisiana ACLU says City Council has a cooperative-endeavor agreement of $10,000 with the Chamber to promote tourism and economic development. Yesterday's Daily Comet reports that the Alliance Defense Fund has offered free legal assistance to the city to fight the ACLU's charge. Chamber of Commerce president Kathy Benoit, though, says that the controversy has been one of the best sources of publicity for the festival.