The cross atop the Knightstown Christmas tree was taken down after the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a resident:
The suit alleges that the Latin cross “is the preeminent symbol of Christianity, representing the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus.” So if the display is religious, the suit argues, it has no business on town property. The documents go on to say that every day, Tompkins “is forced to come into direct and unwelcome contact” with the cross on top of the tree as he drives through town. This, it says, has caused him “irreparable harm,” which can only be remedied by taking the cross down and paying Tompkins monetary damages.
The lawsuit also specifies that Tompkins doesn’t want his taxes helping light and maintain a religious display on town property.
First off, I think the claim that the cross was doing irreparable harm to the resident (Joseph Tompkins) is just ridiculous.
Yesterday I saw this story and watched a video where they made pretty much the same case against taking down the cross as the article does:
“There’s a church on every corner here,” said Mark. “There’s a church on every corner. Is he offended by all the crosses?”
This isn’t a good defense, unless you’re only talking about the ridiculous ‘irreparable harm’ part of the lawsuit.
Putting up religious imagery on private property is different than putting it up on public property using government funds.
With that being said, maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age, but I think it a shame that the cross was taken down. I understand that the resident is likely in the right legally, but I just don’t think this was a necessary move.
It might have something to do with the whining tone of ‘irreparable harm’ that has rubbed me the wrong way, which makes me less charitable towards the person filing the suit.
Then again, the town’s response is hardly better:
Memo to Knightstown: You could always have hundreds of crosses lit on private property across town. It’s not like this lawsuit changed your ability to light crosses and put them up on church property etc.
I don’t know. The passive aggressive nature of the response is a bit annoying as well.
So my opinion so far is that legally the resident was likely right, and the town made the right decision to take the cross down, rather than spend taxpayer money fighting a suit they’d likely lose.
However, I think the lawsuit was whiny, petty and not something that really needs to be fought, but like I said, maybe I’m just getting soft.
What’s your thoughts on this story?