ACLU: Knightstown Christmas tree case to lay dormant for time being

WISH Photo, Howard Monroe

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. (WISH) – A case removing a cross from the Knightstown Christmas tree last December will lay dormant until this upcoming Christmas.

ACLU-Indiana legal director Ken Falk said the display planned for later this year can’t be determined constitutional until it is put up.

The town council removed the cross from the tree Dec. 12 after one resident in town filed a lawsuit claiming his civil liberties were being infringed upon. The suit was then picked up by the ACLU.

Residents said they understood the man’s complaint but did not agree with it. Some gathered to protest the removal of the religious symbol and placed their own crosses on the tree while also handing out crosses to those who walked by it.

“It’s just ridiculous,” said Aaron Magee, a Knightstown resident said at the time. “I’m very offended that the cross was taken down, and I want it put back up. We all want it put back up.”

Two weeks after the man sued to get it removed, the cross was returned to the tree, but not on top of it. A motion to request a preliminary injunction was lifted to allow the cross back as long as it was not placed on top.

In December, Curl Hunt, a local pastor said the lawsuit brought the town together.

“The fact that it is up there shows us that we still have the right to profess our faith openly and it doesn’t have to be at the top of the tree,” said Curt Hunt, a local pastor.

A star was then put on the top of the tree in place of the cross.

“The cross is not a Christmas symbol. The cross is the preeminent symbol of Christianity and it reminds Christians not of the secular trappings of Christmas, but of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus,” said Falk last December.

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