The Thomas More Law Center has petitioned the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to rehear a case challenging an anti-Christian policy of the New York City school system.
Recently, a sharply divided three-judge panel of the circuit court ruled that it was constitutionally permissible for New York City public schools to ban the display of the Christian Nativity during Christmas, while permitting and encouraging the display of Jewish menorahs and Islamic star and crescents during Hanukkah and Ramadan.
The City defended its policy by arguing that the menorah, star and crescent were permissible symbols because they were “secular,” whereas the nativity scene had to be excluded because it was “purely religious.”
Despite the fact that the appellate court disagreed with the City’s characterization of the Jewish and Muslim symbols, it nonetheless, upheld the policy.
The legal challenge to this policy was brought by the Law Center on behalf of a Christian mother, Andrea Skoros, and her two children who attend public elementary schools in New York.
“Review is necessary because this case presents a question of exceptional importance to public education in this country,” reads the petition that was filed for rehearing last week.
The decision creates a “dangerous” precedent and “provides support for those who would seek to enact and enforce such discriminatory policies in our Nation’s public schools,” the petition states.
Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, says the decision is another offensive example of the double standard applied by the federal courts to discriminate against Christians.
Robert Muise, the Law Center’s attorney handling the case, said it is “so starkly contrary to basic, constitutional principles that it calls into question the integrity of our federal judiciary on matters affecting religion, and, in particular, Christianity.”