.- A citizens' petition drive to re-establish a Christmas tradition has begun in Berkley, Michigan. Under pressure from the American Civil Liberties' Union, the Berkley City Council voted to remove a decades-old nativity display.
Berkley resident Georgia Halloran launched a successful petition drive to place a Charter Amendment on the November ballot. The amendment would overturn the city council's decision and would model the Nativity scene on a holiday display ruled constitutional by the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court that governs Michigan.
Ms. Halloran described her efforts: “Christmas is a national holiday. And we’re not going to let ACLU threats dictate how we publicly celebrate it.”
The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, provided legal assistance to Halloran’s group. It also offered to represent the city without charge should it be sued by the ACLU.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented: “Despite all of their public rationalizations of why the Nativity should be removed from city property, it is clear the city council acted out of fear of an ACLU lawsuit. The council made the wrong decision, and Berkley citizens are working within the political system to correct that wrong.”