Controversial Brookville nativity scene will stay in place this - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Controversial Brookville nativity scene will stay in place this Christmas

Thomas More Society and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana reached an agreement Friday that would keep a controversial nativity scene in place in Brookville, Ind this Christmas (Photo: FOX19 NOW/File Photo) Thomas More Society and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana reached an agreement Friday that would keep a controversial nativity scene in place in Brookville, Ind this Christmas (Photo: FOX19 NOW/File Photo)
BROOKVILLE, IN (FOX19) - Thomas More Society and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana reached an agreement Friday that would keep a controversial nativity scene in place in Brookville, Ind this Christmas.

[Related: Community responds to Christmas nativity scene controversy]

The agreement was reached on the heels of a hearing this morning before U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt and on behalf of the two organizations' respective clients--Franklin County and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

"We're pleased to secure the right to display the nativity scene on the Franklin County Courthouse lawn through Christmas,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel, in a release. “The parties will now litigate the case on a normal schedule, without the threat of an emergency injunction forcing the removal of the nativity scene just before Christmas.”

The Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit seeking an immediate injunction against Franklin County over the County's allowing private citizens to display a nativity scene on the Courthouse lawn. 

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, says that the display "represents an endorsement of religion and has principal effect of advancing religion, and it therefore runs afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."

According to The Associated Press, the Franklin County Commissioner says the federal complaint violates the county's rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion. 

[Related: ACLU lawsuit: Controversial Indiana nativity scene violates Constitution]

County Commissioner told the AP that the county isn't opposed to allowing other religious groups to erect displays as long as they are tasteful.

Under this new agreement, the Franklin County nativity scene will be taken down the day after Christmas, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation will drop its request for a preliminary injunction against Franklin County. which could have required the county to remove the nativity scene before Christmas.

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