From the Thomas More Law Center.
ANN ARBOR, MI —
“Thomas More Law Center attorney Brian Rooney will address a press conference on the steps of the New York City Hall this Sunday, June 24, 2007 as City Councilman Tony Avella announces a resolution to change New York City’s public schools anti-Christian policy, which bans Nativity scenes during Christmas, but specifically allows and encourages Jewish and Islamic displays during their respective religious holidays. Avella’s resolution was prompted by the February 2007 refusal of the U. S. Supreme Court to overturn lower court decisions which held New York’s discriminatory anti-Christian policy was constitutional. His resolution will allow Nativity scenes to be displayed in an inclusive manner similar to how the Jewish and Islamic symbols are displayed in the City’s public schools. Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, stated, “This case illustrates the court supported double-standard used by public schools across the country to outlaw Christian expressions while permitting and even encouraging expressions of every other religion. I applaud Councilman Avella’s endeavor to correct this obvious injustice to the Christian parents and their children that he represents. Authentic tolerance and pluralism includes respect for Christians.” The original constitutional challenge was brought by the Thomas More Law Center, a national, public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on behalf of Andrea Skoros and her two minor children, devout Roman Catholics, who attend the New York City’s schools. The lawsuit was filed only after William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, made several unsuccessful attempts to convince school officials to allow Nativity displays alongside the other religious symbols. The Supreme Court considered the Law Center’s request for review at seven different conferences, signaling a strong interest in the matter. At the end of the day, however, by deciding not to review the case the Court allowed to stand an anti-Christian policy that adversely affects over one million students enrolled in the Nation’s largest public school system, which has 1,200 public elementary and secondary schools. Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney who litigated the case, stated, “Our Nation has a strong Christian heritage that is reflected in our traditions. One such tradition is displaying a crèche during the Christmas season. New York City’s current Nativity ban exhibits a hostility toward religion that is contrary to our history and our Constitution.”