JOHN SATAWA OF WARREN, MI SUES OVER RIGHT TO DISPLAY TRADITIONAL NATIVITY SCENE ORIGINALLY BUILT BY HIS FATHER IN 1945…

Posted on November 1, 2009. Filed under: News And Politics... |

 
Once again, Christianity is being targeted…
 
A cherished family tradition since 1945 is in jeopardy because of a clash between the Constitution and a Christmas tradition which has led to a federal lawsuit in Warren, MI.  John Satawa is fighting to return the Nativity scene his father built in 1945 to the median of a public street.  The Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan firm that promotes Christian values, filed a suit on his behalf last week, charging Satawa’s rights to free speech and equal protection under the law have been violated.  The Macomb County Road Commission, which ordered the creche removed, also cited the First Amendment.  After receiving a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, of Madison, WI, last December, the commission ruled the display on public property violated the separation of church and state.
 
Christians seem to be easy targets.  Maybe it’s because Christians won’t cut off the heads or hands of anyone who would dare speak out against them or kill them and their families for denouncing their religion like other members of extremist groups would.  I’d like to see these anti-Christian organizations speak out against all the extremist terrorist groups that have been setting up camp across the United States for the sole purpose of killing as many Americans as they can, but they won’t because they fear them.  I believe that the United States of America was founded on the Judeo-Christian principles, and our motto is still "In God We Trust".  Now that radicals and athiests (a minority, I might add) are challenging the very principles this country was built on and everything it stands for, why should Christians step aside and be silenced by the likes of these non-religious idiots?  Once again, just before we celebrate Christmas, anti-Christian sentiment like this will be rearing its ugly head.
 
Before you read the story, let’s look at the big picture first…
 

This table offers a glimpse of U. S. statistics for religious and nonreligious worldviews as reported by ARIS 2001 and 2008.

American Adults Religious Identification (Age 18+)

Christian Religious Groups  2001 2008
Catholic 24.5% 25.1%
Baptist 16.3% 15.8%
Mainline Christian
(Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian/Anglican, United Church of Christ, etc.)
17.2% 12.9%
Generic Christian
(Christian Unspecified, Non-Denominational. Christian,
Protestant Unspecified, Evangelical/Born Again)
6.8% 5.0%
Pentecostals/Charismatics
(Pentecostal Unspecified, Assemblies of God, Church of God)
3.8% 3.5%
Total Christian 76.7% 76.0%
     
Other Religious Groups    
Jewish 1.3% 1.2%
Muslim/Islam 0.5% 0.6%
Buddhist 0.5% 0.5%
New Religious Movements
& Other Religions
0.9% 1.2%
     
No Religion Groups    
Agnostic 0.5% 0.9%
Atheist 0.4% 0.7%
Not a worldview group, but rather
individuals who stated: "No religion"
13.2% 13.4%
Total No Religion Specified 14.1% 15.0%
 
As of 2008, there were 76% Christians, overshadowing "No Religion" groups.  Maybe they should either shut up or leave the country if they don’t like it here.  Who the heck would stop them?
 
QueenBee 
 

Michigan Man Sues for Right to Put Back Family’s Nativity Scene on Public Median

Thursday , October 29, 2009
By Joshua Rhett Miller
 Thomas More Law Center
John Satawa filed a lawsuit last week to reclaim the right to rebuild this Nativity scene originally built by his late father in 1945.

 

A Michigan man has filed a federal lawsuit claiming his constitutional rights were violated when he was ordered to remove a Nativity scene from the median of a public road — a creche that his family has displayed at the location for 63 years.
 

John Satawa, of Warren, Mich., filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday in an attempt to be allowed to put back the 8- by 8-foot Nativity scene his late father built in 1945.

After receiving a complaint by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation last December, the Road Commission of Macomb County told Satawa to remove the holiday display, citing incomplete permits. Satawa’s permit application was later denied because it "clearly displays a religious message" and violated "separation of church and state," Macomb County Highway Engineer Robert Hoepfner wrote.

Satawa says he simply wants to restore the "tradition" on the median between Mound and Chicago Roads outside of St. Anne’s Parish Church.

"The Nativity display has been a tradition not just for my family, but for the whole community for 63 years," Satawa told Foxnews.com in a statement. "I am disappointed the Road Commission would not stand up for our community and our Constitution and that is why I was compelled to file this lawsuit."

According to Satawa’s lawsuit, St. Anne’s Parish received a donation of Christmas statues in March 1945 that were too large to house inside the church — so they were moved to the public median outside. Jack Eckstein, president of the village of Warren at the time, granted permission for the move.

"As a result, a Christmas tradition was born," the lawsuit reads.

The Nativity display has been there every Christmas season since, except for one — 1996 — when there was road construction. The creche returned the following year, according to the lawsuit.

But last year, just 14 days before Christmas, Satawa received a letter from the Macomb County Road Commission instructing him to "immediately remove" the Nativity scene within 30 days. Satawa removed the structure and was denied a permit when he reapplied in January. In March, he received a formal denial of his petition to erect the nativity scene because, according to county officials, it would be a violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits government from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion."

"It boils down to maintaining a tradition that’s been going on for six decades and one letter received from an out-of-state radical organization," attorney Brian Rooney of the Thomas More Law Center told Foxnews.com. "We believe this shows hostility towards Christianity."

The Thomas More Law Center filed the lawsuit on Satawa’s behalf, alleging the Road Commission’s restriction violates his First Amendment rights and equal protection guarantee under the Fourteenth Amendment.

"We’re very confident," Rooney said. "We believe the law of the Constitution is on our side."

But Ben Aloia, an attorney representing the Macomb County Road Commission, disagreed, citing Allegheny v. ACLU of Pittsburgh, in which the Supreme Court held in 1989 that a county government’s Nativity scene displayed at a courthouse was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

"We believe that our decision is in line with that rule of law," Aloia said. "The fact is, he’s never acquired a formal permit to install this Nativity scene."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said the creche is also a traffic hazard.

"You can’t see around it," she told Foxnews.com. "We are a nation of rules and laws, and that law even applies to St. Anne’s Parish. I can’t understand why they can’t put the scene on their church grounds. They’re trying to take over public property for their religious purposes, and that’s not allowed."

Rooney said an emergency injunction will be filed within the next two weeks in an attempt to make sure the Nativity scene returns in time for the upcoming holiday season.

Satawa, meanwhile, says he has received support from hundreds of neighbors.

"This response is the USA I like," he said, "people that are not afraid to stand up for what is right."

 
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