Pa. Christmas Display Altered After AU Complaint

Officials at a county in Pennsylvania agreed to alter a holiday display in front of their courthouse to meet constitutional standards after receiving a letter from attorneys with Americans United.

Americans United and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania asked the Luzerne County Commissioners to remove a crèche and menorah from the lawn of the Luzerne County Courthouse. In a letter dated Dec. 11, AU and the ACLU said the government may only erect religious symbols if they are part of a broader secular display, or if the government opens the space up to all individuals to put up a display.

County officials at first ordered the displays removed but then decided to put them back up and add a dose of non-religious elements.

The county opted to broaden the display to include a Santa, snowman, elf and other secular figures, along with the Nativity scene and menorah. AU and the ACLU agreed that the new display met constitutional guidelines.