My Final Thoughts on the Knightstown Christmas Tree Cross Lawsuit

So I wrote a post the other day about the Knightstown Christmas tree cross, which was taken down after the ACLU filed a lawsuit against it on behalf of a resident.

Anyhow, the video I first watched was by Anthony Brian Logan, and I decided to make a response video about the tree as well as Anthony’s comments in that video. So I hope you’ll give it a watch and let me know what you think.

It’s unlikely that someone like Anthony with his approximately 80,000 subscribers will see my video, but I thought it would be fun and help me get a handle on creating these types of videos.

Oh, and I got a little carried away with the editing. I was messing about, trying to figure out some things and decided it would be fun to make a Christmas themed video.

Thanks in advance and I hope you enjoy the video.

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62 Comments

  1. Ahh, poor wittle Chwistian under attack by those other rewigious meanies… Jews, atheists, and gravitationalists – oops, I should say , evolutionists – who force bakers to support gay mawwiage by baking cakes. So mean, so nasty.

    What a twit.

      • If my job is to bake cakes and take orders for them, then I would do as good a job for Christians meeting their orders to their satisfaction as I would for anyone else.

        You see, SoM, unlike you I understand the difference between the personal and the public. I am quite able to separate my personal feelings from doing my public work. The criticisms I aim is at those who are so immature and/or confused, that they mix up the two and think their personal feelings should determine their public work. If I don the mantel of working for the public, it is illegal to import my personal biases and discriminations to define what I will and will not do in my work-based treatment of others.

        Why Christians assume this means that THEY are the ones being ‘attacked’ – and scream bloody murder at implementing their biases and discriminations and imported religious bigotry in public only to be criticized for them – is a marvel of rationalization to behold. It’s the behaviour of a immature child throwing as a temper tantrum when he or she doesn’t get his or her selfish and stupid and harmful way..Get over yourself and grow up.

  2. well now and then one of the righteous gets a hair across their butts because hark and alarm, if they climb the outside stairs after dark at the police station or the fire station, and stand on the handy stool they brought with them, they can, if they press their nose (or noses) against the glass they can see the glimmer of a christmas tree All Lit Up, and sound, on pre Christmas eve, of festivities related to a religious holiday.
    And since this constituts a violation of a religious observance publicly displayed on town property, well, the tree has to come down and the offenders roundly berated.

    I rank stuff like this right up there with “mummy I found a razor blade in my Hallowe’en apple when I bit into it!” but no one ever wonder how the razorblade got in there without leaving a mark…

    Better, take the cross down (which frankly doesnt really belong up there aesthetically, since its the wrong holiday for crosses anyway), and put up a nice, inoffensive angel.

      • How slimy!

        Claiming religious symbols to be ‘cultural’ – and therefore perfectly fine to support in the public domain – is a transparent attempt to get around the separation of Church and State… and have the public pay for it!

        But is the cross really a cultural symbol? Or is it a religious one? Hmmm… that’s a really tough one. Let’s ask people. Oh look. Each and every person declares it as the fundamental symbol of Christianity. Not a symbol of Western culture.

        Nice try, SoM. A swing and a miss… but at least you’re consistent batting zero.

        • What I find so interesting about SoM’s (and others) perspective is that it’s “OK” for Christian symbols (in whatever form) to be displayed on government property, but will scream to high heavens if the FFRF or any other atheist organization puts up something to support their views.

          If I’m not mistaken, there was a recent hubbub about a billboard (!) in Nebraska that had to be removed because local residents complained about the “atheist” message: “The Good Life without God? It’s possible. Visit us at LincolnAtheists.org.” And it was on public property!

          SMH

        • Tilden,

          We’ve already been through this and you know you are absolutely wrong.

          Nobody is forced to practice a state religion, and the government is not required to pay for any decorations.

          And yes, if you weren’t an atheist bigot you would know that all religion is cultural.

          It is atheism that is non-cultural so you folks can just go suck wind during Christian holidays and leave the Christians be.

  3. I enjoyed your video, GC. Funny thing is, my opinion shifted a little actually seeing the lighted cross on the tree in the video. My comment on your previous post was like “ugh, waste of time, mixed symbology, who cares?” But seeing it… yeah, it felt like an inappropriate endorsement of Christianity on government property. I still think a lawsuit is extreme. Did they try writing a letter to City Council? That would be a more level-headed approach. Get a bunch of citizens to sign it, and it probably would have been just as effective.

    I did think your points were well argued in the response video. (recommend an outro to video, it ended abruptly) Well done!

    • Thanks HG!

      “Did they try writing a letter to City Council? ”

      I couldn’t find any evidence that they did that.

      However, in past cases I know the ACLU has sent the city a letter first. I’m thinking that’s what they did in this case as well, and them taking the cross down was their response, before they had to go to court.

      “Get a bunch of citizens to sign it, and it probably would have been just as effective.”

      From what I’ve read, the town only has a little over 2000 residents and 10 churches. So I doubt the signing campaign would have garnered many signatures.

      “I did think your points were well argued in the response video. (recommend an outro to video, it ended abruptly) Well done!”

      Thanks so much. I put a lot of work into it. I have an outro but I don’t like asking for likes and subscriptions. It just seems like begging and I don’t do begging well. lol

      I’ll try to think of something different. Maybe a simple thanks for watching thing.

    • HG, it’s possible that, based on the number of citizens (even his own family member), who spoke out against him, the plaintiff might’ve sought counsel, initially.

      Once his issue was determined, he would’ve been directed to the ACLU. They should’ve done a demand letter to the city and once that was proven to be ineffective, then the filing of the suit was merely a tool to light a fire under the city’s butt. Haha…

      I’d be willing to bet that he only sought injunctive relief instead of money damages.

  4. You did a very good and fair evaluation of the issues in this poscast. I am speaking from a christian perspective and my view is that America is not a christian country. The government itself should not promote any one religious belief. There are plenty of other ways christian beliefs can be shown, of which I believe should be love and acceptance of all people rather than various religious symbols. I could go on but I think you responded to each issue very well. We are not all going to agree, yet we should be able to respect each other and be kind to each other even in our differences. Good job.

    • Thank you. I tried to be fair with my criticism. I’m glad you enjoyed the video. I totally agree with the sentiment we should try to be kind with one another in regards to our differing opinions. I find that’s getting harder and harder to do, with both sides becoming polarized.

      Thanks again. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to share your thoughts.

  5. Irreparable harm? Bullshit. Frivolous. Preposterous. Stupid. But………there MIGHT be an explanation for that part of his claim for damages.

    I haven’t seen the pleadings on this (so, I cannot guess as to which parts of the Plaintiff’s suit might prevail), but off the top of my head, I think he wins on violation of establishment. In spite of its felicitous intentions, the city does give the impression that it favors one religion over others.

    So, the irreparable harm comes in because if the city wins, then the city sends a message of religious bias (by the latant display of said cross), which could, essentially, color their decisions, rulings, etc. in the future. How, then, can the plaintiff enjoy his freedoms as a citizen of this community when his beliefs go against the “religion” of the city he resides in?

    That would be my guess as to an explanation as to why the claim for irreparable harm comes in.

    Also, I’m beginning to worry about Anthony, haha! Is “it seeems kinda weird” a sound legal premise? Can I put that in a legal brief or a motion? Hehe….

    By the way, that is one sad looking Christmas tree. The tree itself is beautiful, but woefully deficient in accoutrement.

    This argument reminds me….do we still have “In God We Trust” on our money?

    That is all. 🙂

  6. Just popped by to see your blog after a long time. Well made video! I agree that a cross on a Christmas tree is out of place. The cross is about Easter, not Christmas. If the tree is paid for by the town council, then there is an argument that money should not be spent on religious items such crosses – although a Christmas tree itself does have religious associations. However, most atheists and agnostics are not such bores and fun-spoilers as to ban Christmas trees.

    Having said all that, and whilst I agree with many of your comments, the man who complained is a wimp! “Irreparable harm”? Is he going to fall down a hole or suffer a breakdown because he saw a cross on a tree?!

    On a different note, I see that your lovely dog is just as adored as always! The last time I looked at your blog, he was going in your swimming pool or something like that…!

    • Thanks and welcome back, Peter! I’m glad you enjoyed the video.

      I’m working on learning how to make those types of videos and trying to build a subscriber base.

      ” Having said all that, and whilst I agree with many of your comments, the man who complained is a wimp! “Irreparable harm”?”

      Haha. Yup. I totally agree. Such an over the top way of describing a cross on top of a Christmas tree.

      “On a different note, I see that your lovely dog is just as adored as always! The last time I looked at your blog, he was going in your swimming pool or something like that…!”

      Oh right! Yeah, I have a kids pool for Dex in the summer and he goes to a boarding house for the day to play in the salt water pool.

      He’s frightfully spoiled.

  7. I think you did a great job GC breaking down Logan’s analysis and throwing another (proper?) lens on the LEGAL removal of the cross. IMPO, it is long overdue that Puritan Americans remorsefully embrace the true history of the U.S.’s historical religious neutrality by the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, including Amendments. Regarding public property and government property (currency?), it should never be any debate, ever. Period. Most if not many of America’s immigrants were fleeing (for their lives) Europe and other continents for exactly the same religious freedoms/intolerances many Puritans here want to exterminate and replace with close renditions to strictly Protestantism, Catholicism, or Judaism. This runs in direct conflict with the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and many U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

    Again, job well done GC. 🙂

  8. Your video (correctly) notes that the story focuses on the townspeople’s reaction to the lawsuit rather than the underlying legal issue. But couldn’t it be similarly argued that the plaintiff has leveraged his personal displeasure into a legal issue? Because I honestly fail to see what “irreparable harm” this display has caused the complainant.

    The First Amendment reads:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    I’m no legal expert, but to my mind, providing electricity for a Christmas display does not constitute an establishment of religion.

    • “But couldn’t it be similarly argued that the plaintiff has leveraged his personal displeasure into a legal issue? Because I honestly fail to see what “irreparable harm” this display has caused the complainant.”

      Yeah, that part is silly.

      However, the real issue is the promotion of religion by the government by spending taxpayer money on this single symbol.

      Like the other case I mentioned in the video, they could have likely avoided the lawsuit altogether if they had put up a secular symbol or two near the display to show plurality.

        • Is the chamber of commerce part of the government? Is it on public land? Is there a Christian symbol on that tree on public land? Are there any other religious or secular symbols surrounding that display?

          Just because the tree is natural doesn’t make the decorations natural.

          Even the town thought they would lose so they took it down, and judging by past cases they were likely right. They could have easily avoided that by including more displays.

            • Ron, why do you insist that it is right and proper for Christians to undermine your freedom of religion? That is what you’re trying to argue. Because you don’t see it doesn’t mean you aren’t trying to harm the rights of others. That’s why the FFRF constantly takes various local and state governments – and all the organizations that are part of the public domain – to court. For you.

              Doesn’t it make you feel warm and fuzzy that so many atheists as well as religious supporters of the FFRF have your back even when you forget you have one?

              The cross is the fundamental symbol of Christianity. Adorning a Christmas tree – a cultural symbol of Christmas, which is fine in the public square – with a cross alters it into a religious symbol. That it has been erected on public land is a de facto attempt by some misguided souls who work for the secular government to promote Christianity during Christmas for religious reasons. This is considered contrary to the principle of not establishing religious preference by a mandated neutral government. (Government and other public sector workers who do this should have their ass fired because it is always – ALWAYS – unconstitutional. It’s actually illegal.) That’s why you can adorn all the Christmas trees you want with crosses…. on PRIVATE property and no one has any legal right to say Boo! But put it on PUBLIC land and you will have a law suit smacked on you so fast it is a foregone conclusion that you are in contravention of the law – not matter how popular the religious symbol may be – and will have to pay damages if any – ANY – harm is done to any individual. Hence, the attempt in this case to claim harm – so that if the city is stupid enough to keep the religious display and go to court knowing full well that they are guaranteed to lose on Constitutional grounds, they will also have to pay damages and the people who did this stupid thing will be held accountable on fiscal grounds.

              The message is clear even to the dullest among us: don’t promote private religious allegiances in the public domain. Ever. In any way. It is illegal because it undermines the freedom of religion for all by trying to privilege one. (If the attempt is done through law, the law must pass the Lemon test or be ruled unconstitutional and overturned.)

              • The Lemon test applies to legal statutes. And the intent of the Establishment Clause was to detain the government from instituting a state religion.

                So please explain how these displays infringe upon my lack of religious beliefs or cause personal damage to non-adherents.

                • You’re very good at telling me what I’ve already explained to you… as if you’re raising a point when you’re not. I already said the Lemon test is used for challenged laws on the establishment clause. You don;t need to reiterate this point as if you’re informing me of anything.

                  As for your next faux-question (the first being how putting a flipping cross on a Christmas tree turns it into a religious symbol… as if that one is a Deep Mystery), I’ve already explained how these religious displays on public land privilege them and how this privileging inflicts harm on the principle of a neutral secular government. Pretending you’re raising a serious question demonstrates a lack of either reading comprehension or a willful deafness to not hearing the answer on your part. To be clear, breaking the neutrality of the public domain is what is unconstitutional. and this intentional breaking of the neutrality is what causes harm to the full support by government. It has nothing to do with your religious beliefs or lack of them.

                  Maybe now you can get over yourself and your willingness to sacrifice my freedom of religion or someone else’s to privilege the breaking of this neutrality.to suit the stupid enjoyment some people get by trying to get away with privileging some display of a religious symbol in the public square. It’s illegal. The Constitution is clearly and unequivocally a secular document for a secular government and secular laws derived forthwith for a more perfect union.The public domain is very intentionally neutral – the only means by which private religious preference can be protected from public encroachment – and breaking this neutrality year after year after year this way and that way for this privilege and that one is so fricken tedious that only religiously inspired dullards and morons continue to try to find some way to accomplish this unconstitutional and illegal act. Pretending that there is any question about the illegality of doing so is really just a transparent tactic to try to undermine the intent of the establishment clause in the hope that those who respect the Constitution will be asleep at the wheel or deluded by their own private religious delusions of piety and grandeur that they undermine their own rights and freedoms in their quest to make everyone submit to their religious idiocy. Your questions are faux-questions because you don;t care to hear the answer; you’re trying to find some way around it while pretending to seem reasonable. It’s bullshit from the start.

                    • No Ron. Another swing and a miss. My feelings have nothing to do with it. The action is illegal and the practice harms the principle upon which your freedom of religion resides. You are harming yourself supporting the use of religious symbols in the public domain.

                    • Again, please demonstrate exactly what irreparable harm is being caused by allowing the display. Thus far you have failed to do so. And just because something is deemed legal or illegal does not mean it’s justified. It was once legal to own slaves, deny non-propertied men and women the right to vote, incarcerate homosexuals and prohibit the consumption of alcohol.

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