Menominee, MI

AU received multiple complaints that the Menominee Parks & Recreation Committee was considering erecting a crèche in the bandshell of a public park. In past years, the City had displayed an illuminated manger. In a letter to the City, AU explained that a public entity may display a religious symbol only when it appears among other items that — together — communicate a secular message. The letter cautioned that the City’s planned display would run afoul of the Establishment Clause because it would send an unmistakably religious message. According to subsequent media reports, the City took AU’s advice and decided not to erect the nativity display. Instead, the local Women’s League paid for and set up a holiday display that included snowmen, Christmas presents, and Christmas trees, along with a crèche.