Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Possible Nativity Scene Fight in Michigan

There’s a possible lawsuit brewing in Menominee, Michigan, where the city has approved a nativity scene in a public park band shell. The Freedom from Religion Foundation is threatening suit, but I don’t think they’ve got a case. Here’s what happened:

The nation’s largest group of atheists and agnostics has filed a letter of protest with the city for deciding to put a Nativity scene in its bandshell.

Members of the parks and recreation committee approved the display earlier this month with the provision that non-Christians be allowed to add their symbols.


And here’s the FFRF’s statement:

The co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., said in a Nov. 15 letter that the display would violate the separation of church and state.

“It is unlawful for the city of Menominee to maintain, erect or host a display that consists solely of a Nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for and endorsing one religion, and commemorating its most holy day,” Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote to Menominee city manager Eric Strahl.

City attorney Rob Jamo warned the parks committee during its meeting that the display was close to violating the separation of church and state established in the Constitution.

Not likely. If the city did indeed require that others be allowed to add their own symbols to the display, it’s not likely that this would be unconstitutional under Lynch and Allegheny. I’m going to contact the city tomorrow and see if I can get more details.