The ACLU has sued Knightstown, Indiana, over its Christmas display, which features a lighted cross on top of the town Christmas tree.
The suit was filed on behalf of Joseph Tompkins against the town of about 2,200. Tompkins alleges the display violates the separation of church and state and said in court documents he “is forced to come into direct and unwelcome contact” with the religious display each day he drives through town, Fox59 reported.
The lawsuit also says Tompkins doesn’t want his tax money paying for the religious display.
Fox59 was unable to find any Knightstown residents who agreed with Tompkins, including his relative Mark Tompkins.
“A couple weeks ago they had a crowd here,” Mark Tompkins told the station. “Everybody was here. Everybody was fine with it. But now you’ve got one person, you know, out of everybody. There’s a church on every corner. Is he offended by all the crosses?”
Lau Ghoic, a resident who owns a hardware store next to the display, told Fox59 he was sure the town could find people to repay Joseph Tompkins the “0.0004 cents” of his tax money that may have been used to fund the cross’s lighting.
If the town is forced to remove the cross from the official display, Mark Tompkins said he will put three crosses on his car and park it in the square until Christmas.
It looks like he may have the chance to make good on his promise. Facebook page Knightsown News and Events posted a statement from the Knightstown Town Council on Monday that read: "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. We could not win the court case brought by the ACLU. We would have been required to pay the legal fees of the ACLU lawyer and monetary damage to the plaintiff, Mr. Joseph Tompkins, as set by the Court."
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