Oral arguments were presented yesterday in a case over whether the Nativity scene can be displayed in New York City schools. At issue is whether it is legal to display Jewish and Muslim religious symbols, but not Christian ones.
For the past few years, New York City schools have allowed the menorah and the crescent and star, but not the Nativity scene. The Catholic League secured a plaintiff to challenge this decision, and the Thomas More Law Center provided an attorney.
Last December, Judge Charles Sifton of the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of New York City’s policy, saying that the menorah and crescent and star have a secular dimension while the nativity scene was “purely religious.” This is the decision that is being appealed.
Catholic League president William Donohue pointed out that the ADL files an amicus in this case last September on the side of keeping the menorah in the schools while banning Nativity scenes, arguing that the crèche was an “overly religious” symbol.
Donohue said the Catholic League finds the ADL’s actions in this case disappointing and disturbing. “If the menorah were banned from the same schools that allowed the Nativity scene, the Catholic League would be filing an amicus on the side of protesting Jews,” he said.