KNIGHTSTOWN, INDIANA – A small Indiana town is locked in a legal battle over its Christmas decorations, which some say violate the Constitution because they are overtly religious.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indianapolis is suing Knightstown, home to 2,000 people, for displaying an illuminated cross at the top of its community Christmas tree.
The ACLU and resident Joseph Tompkins say the cross violates the First Amendment, effectively blurring the line between church and state because the tree is displayed prominently in the town square.
According to court documents, Tompkins ‘objects to any of his tax dollars going to pay for the erection or maintenance of the display or the lighting of it’, as reported by the Indianapolis Star.
The lawsuit also states Tompkins has been ‘forced to come into unwelcome contact’ with the display, causing him ‘irreparable harm’.
He is seeking immediate removal of the cross and and monetary damages.
But not every resident in Knightstown believes the religious symbol should be taken down.
‘I think we can find people in this town that can replace that 0.0004 cents to give to him and not have to worry about it,’ Knightstown businessman Lau Ghioc told Fox 59 Indianapolis in response.
A relative of the plaintiff, Mark Tompkins, has a plan for expressing his faith if the ACLU lawsuit wins and the cross is removed.
‘He can take it down and I tell you what, I’ll park this car here until Christmas Day with three crosses on it,’ Tompkins told the station.