Nativity Scenes: Case Dismissed?

Nativity Scenes: Case Dismissed?

On Monday (December 3, 2012), we will be back in U.S. District Court opposing the City of Santa Monica's Motion to Dismiss the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes lawsuit.

A copy of our opposition to the motion can be found here.

Note this important language, quoted in our brief:

"The Establishment Clause prevents the government from treating religious speech more favorably than nonreligious speech. But both the Establishment and Free Speech Clauses prevent the government from treating religious speech less favorably." Kreisner v. City of San Diego, 1 F.3d 775, 791 (9th Cir. 1993) (emphasis added). Indeed, it is well-established that "private religious speech, far from being a First Amendment orphan, is as fully protected under the Free Speech Clause as secular private expression." Capitol Square Review & Advisory Bd. v. Pinette, 515 U.S. 753, 760 (1995). As such, '[r]eligious speakers have the same right of access to public forums as others." Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 269 (1981). There can be no dispute that Defendant restricted Plaintiff's speech because it conveyed a message opponents of the Nativity tradition interpreted to be approval of religion.

In Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 684 (2005), the Court stated resolutely that "we have not, and do not, adhere to the principle that the Establishment Clause bars any and all governmental preference for religion over irreligion." Indeed:

"When the state … cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups…. [W]e find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence." Id., at 684, quoting Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313-314 (1952) (emphasis added).

The City is fighting hard to defend its decision to ban Nativity Scenes from Palisades Park. Why? There can be just one explanation, and it isn't the ones the City likes to give. The reason is that Santa Monica is opposed to religious freedom and free speech. It sides with the atheist protesters against a 59-year-old community tradition. It ignores the fact that Christmas is a federal holiday that can be celebrated by religious and non-religious citizens alike.

Please support our cause by commenting on this and our other blogs. Please also support the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee responsible for exhibiting the displays each year, and the Pacific Justice Institute which has been underwriting the cost of this litigation.

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Freedom X works hard to protect the truth against hate-mongering anti-religious, anti-Christian atheists and others who work ceaselessly to destroy the values this Nation has promoted since its founding. We prosecute and defend lawsuits throughout the country. If you have been discriminated against because of your Christian or conservative views (or know someone who has), please contact us to discuss how we can help you protect our Freedom of eXpression (Freedom X).

Documents:

Motion to Dismiss

Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Reply to Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

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