FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005
CONTACT: American Family Association of Michigan
Gary Glenn, President 989-835-7978
Tracey Lee, Attorney 248-535-2095
AFA-Michigan commends city officials’ rebuff of ACLU threat to Nativity scene and Star of David
Family group offers to defend Berkley Christmas display at no cost to taxpayers
BERKLEY, Mich. — A statewide traditional values organization Tuesday offered to defend in court the city of Berkley’s annual Christmas display, including its 65-year old Nativity scene and a Star of David, at no expense to city taxpayers.
The offer by the American Family Association of Michigan came in response to Monday night’s Berkley city council meeting, during which city officials rebuffed an ultimatum from a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union to immediately remove the display or be sued. (See Daily Tribune here.)
AFA-Michigan President Gary Glenn, in an e-mail message Tuesday evening to Mayor Marilyn Stephan and Berkley city council members, commended city officials for “calling (the ACLU’s) bluff” and offered to provide free legal representation for the city should the ACLU follow through on its threat.
“Through the generosity of families who volunteer their financial support specifically to address issues such as the ACLU grinches’ annual anti-Christmas campaign,” Glenn wrote, “the American Family Association of Michigan and our national legal counsel, the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, offer to provide legal counsel and representation to the city of Berkley free of charge, at no expense whatsoever to taxpayers, and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”
The full text of Glenn’s message to Berkley city officials follows:
December 20, 2005
Dear Madame Mayor and Council Members:
Thank you for refusing to be intimidated, bullied, or bluffed by the American Civil Liberties Union’s annual anti-Christmas campaign.
We describe their threat of a lawsuit against the city of Berkley as a “bluff” because ACLU attorneys know full well that the issue they raise has been thoroughly litigated and that the U.S. Supreme has upheld the constitutional right of local governments to publicly display Nativity scenes in recognition of the origins of the secularly-recognized Christmas holiday.
The United States Constitution’s only reference to religious freedom is the following passage from the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Obviously, the City of Berkley’s decision to publicly display a Nativity scene (and a Star of David) in its holiday display involves no making of any law by Congress, and just as obviously involves no establishment of any religion.
The grinches at ACLU headquarters hope to steal the city of Berkley’s Christmas traditions nonetheless by making threats they hoped would bluff you, out of ignorance, into surrendering your Constitutional rights and traditions. Again, we appreciate your being knowledgeable and courageous enough to call their bluff.
Now it’s put up or shut up for the ACLU grinches, and Councilman Benton is quoted in Tuesday’s Daily Tribune as expressing concern that the threatened litigation “could be a costly legal battle.”
If you will allow us the privilege, we hope to remove from your future decision-making on this issue any concern you may have for the potential cost of litigation to Berkley taxpayers.
Through the generosity of families who volunteer their financial support specifically to address issues such as the ACLU grinches’ annual anti-Christmas campaign, the American Family Association of Michigan and our national legal counsel, the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, offer to provide legal counsel and representation to the city of Berkley free of charge, at no expense whatsoever to taxpayers, and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Should you decide to accept this offer, you can make all future decisions to protect the Christmas traditions of your community based on the principle involved, without concern for any expense to Berkley taxpayers.
Thank you for your stand and your consideration.
Gary Glenn, President
American Family Association of Michigan
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