The town of Knightstown, Indiana, has removed the cross from the top of the Christmas tree in its town square permanently as a result of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Indianapolis Star reported:
“Knightstown officials say a cross atop the town’s Christmas tree will be removed because the Henry County community could not win a lawsuit from the ACLU.”
The Knightstown Town Council posted on Facebook regarding the removal of the cross:
“It is with regret and sadness that the Knightstown Town Council has had the cross removed from the Christmas tree on the town square and is expected to approve a resolution at the next council meeting stating they will not return the cross to the tree.”
The ACLU sued the town over an illuminated cross at the top of the Christmas tree in the town square. The cross has been at the top of the tree for several years, but this year, it caused a town resident “irreparable harm.”
The law suit stemmed from a resident of the town, Joseph Tompkins, who was “forced to come into direct and unwelcome contact” with the cross every time he drives through town.
Maybe take an alternate route?
Alas, this contact with the cross has caused him “irreparable harm,” and the only way to even attempt to make it better is to have the cross removed and pay Tompkins monetary damages.
Little does Tompkins know, the worst kind of “irreparable harm” actually comes from hell – the result of not coming in contact with the cross.
The law suit documents note the Latin cross “is the preeminent symbol of Christianity, representing the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus.”
It goes on to say since the display is religious, it should not be located on town property, and that its presence in the town square violates the First Amendment.
So let’s go back to civics 101 and review the First Amendment of the Constitution.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
You see, in colonial times, there was a law establishing the Church of England that required people to pay religious taxes and even attend church services. The government had their fingers in religion – all the way down to choosing the clergy. Therefore, the Founding Fathers established the First Amendment, agreeing upon disestablishment – meaning that the national government could not create a state religion – hence the “Congress shall make no law.”
Could someone please explain to me how this cross in Knightstown’s town square is equivalent to a Congressional Law?
On a related note, if the cross has caused Tompkins “irreparable harm” – I’m wondering how he got past the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree tradition was started in Germany by devout Christians. The harm he’s sustained has to be hard to avoid this time of year, as “Christ” is explicitly in the word “Christmas,” which is common to see this time of year. Never mind the fact that the holiday is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Sure makes me glad I’m not prone to “irreparable harm” from symbols of religions I don’t identify with.
I’d love to see one of the Knightstown churches get that cross from town council and put it on display for all to see.