Indiana courthouse nativity scene to feature Bill of Rights

By Daniel Uria  |  Nov. 25, 2015 at 11:15 AM
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BROOKVILLE , Ind., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- An Indiana courthouse will display a "nativity" scene featuring the Bill of Rights and other United States historical symbols following controversy surrounding its traditional nativity display.

The Franklin County courthouse will display an alternative nativity scene featuring the Statue of Liberty, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the Bill of Rights in addition to the biblical nativity scene.

The Bill of Rights nativity scene was put in place by the Freedom From Religion Foundation following an ordinance that allowed residents to place their own displays in front of the courthouse.

"While we prefer that no displays go up, they've opened up the courthouse grounds for displays from multiple people," Freedom From Religion attorney Sam Grover told WLWT. "That's the only way they can legally continue to allow the nativity scene on its property."

The controversy dates back to 2011 when residents complained about a biblical nativity being displayed in front of the courthouse. It reached a height in 2014 when the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against the courthouse, leading to the passing of the ordinance.

The ordinance allows residents to apply for a permit to erect their own display regardless of message.

The Indy Star reports that nine applications had been approved as of Nov. 18, including banners celebrating winter solstice and the original biblical nativity that has stood outside the courthouse for years.

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