New York Catholic group alleges discrimination on nativity crib ban
The Catholic League in the United States has sued New York City, claiming discrimination against Christian students by allowing Islamic and Jewish holiday symbols to be displayed in public schools while banning nativity cribs.
"All we're asking for the city of New York to do is to treat Catholics the same way they do Jews and Muslims," said William Donohue, president of the Catholic League. "This is nothing but pure, unadulterated religious discrimination."
Nativity cribs are known as nativity creches in the US. In a 1989 judgment, the US Supreme Court ruled that Jewish Menorahs, and Christmas trees, are merely "symbolic recognition of a holiday which has attained secular status in our society and, as such, were not religious in nature". On the other hand, it said, "A creche or nativity scene, however, is religious in nature and should not be displayed."
The lawsuit, filed on Monday in the US Federal Court, claims the Department of Education holiday policy is unconstitutional because it permits Hanukkah menorahs and the Islamic star and crescent as secular symbols but prohibits scenes of Jesus' birth in a manger as religious. It seeks a court injunction against the policy.
The education department declined to comment on the lawsuit, but spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said the school's policy adheres to the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state.
New York City Department of Education
County of Allegheny v. ACLU, 492 U. S. 573 (1989) court ruling
The Catholic League | Religious Expression at Christmastime: Guidelines
The Christmas Crib (From the book, A Year of the Lord in the Christian Home, by Fr. Francis X. Weiser, S.J.)
Politically correct 'Holiday Tree' threatening identity of Christmas Tree (28/11/02)
12 Dec 2002