Lawsuit For Displaying Nativity Scene

Dec 17, 2002 11:24 AM EST

NEW YORK NY – The debate on displaying the nativity scenes in public schools fires up as a devout Roman Catholic and her two sons take the case to the federal court.

The conflict began when the New York City public school system allowed displays featuring the Jewish menorah and the Islamic star and crescent, but not of the nativity scene during Christmas time. The Thomas More Law center has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Roman Catholic, who claims that permitting non-Christian symbols while forbidding Christian symbols to be displayed is violating her constitutional rights.

The chief council at Thomas More, Richard Thompson, says the policy sends a bad message.

"The message is one of discrimination against Christians, which is ironic since Christians make up the vast majority of the population in the United States," he says. "Over 80% of Americans consider themselves Christian."

The main objective of the lawsuit is to ensure that Catholics and Christians do not suffer from discrimination in the public school under the guide of diversity.

"We want the court to declare that their policy discriminating against Christians during the Christmas season is unconstitutional," he says. "We want a permanent injunction to prohibit the New York school system from ever implementing that policy again. And we're asking for nominal damages on behalf of the plaintiffs in this case."

Thompson noted that the case might end up in the Supreme Court because courts are normally more sensitive to establishment clause regarding schools and minority children.

By Paulina C.