After politicians in Brookville, Indiana, once again ignored atheists' threats against a nativity display near a local courthouse for the fourth year in a row, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit seeking the Christmas symbol's permanent removal by court order.
"The display represents an endorsement of religion and has the principal effect of advancing religion, and it therefore runs afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution," the complaint reads. "The display, which is owned by Brookville, has been erected for some 50 years."
Two unnamed local residents in Franklin County are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana working with the Freedom From Religion Foundation to seek its forced removal, according to a press release.
Image source: Freedom From Religion Foundation
As TheBlaze previously reported, the atheist group has taken issue with the display each year since 2010, claiming that the nativity’s presence next to the Franklin County Courthouse constitutes a First Amendment violation.
Commissioners, though, have been ignoring the Freedom From Religion Foundation's demands, leading activists to up the ante in their protest by taking the issue before a judge.
"The First Amendment protects these kinds of displays by individuals and groups on private property, but also makes clear that displays on public property, which is maintained by taxpayers, cannot demonstrate a preference for religion," ACLU Indiana attorney Gavin M. Rose said in a statement.
Franklin County Commissioner Tom Wilson, though, has said that other religious displays that are tasteful would be welcomed on the property, providing a balance often seen in other cities and towns across the country during the holiday season.
Both the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the ACLU are seeking the nativity's permanent removal from its current location.
(H/T: Friendly Atheist)