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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Split Decisions on Courthouse Nativity Scenes

LUBBOCK, Texas (CN) - A religious display that included a baby Jesus, a cross and a sign, "Reunite the church and state ..." was removed last week from the entrance to the Lubbock County Courthouse - but another Texas county refused to remove its religious display.

The Lubbock sign stated: "Reunite the church and state, and separation of church and state is not just wrong, the '63 ruling of the Supreme Court is unconstitutional," according to local station KJTV.

Lubbock County Judge Tom Head ordered the display removed. He told KJTV that the displays had been placed without the Commissioners Court's consent or knowledge.

A county judge in Texas is not a judicial officer, but the head of a county commission.

Lubbock attorney Curtis Parrish agreed with the judge's decision to remove the display, telling KJTV, "it doesn't matter if it is a religious object or protest object, there is a procedure they have to go through. Judge Head was correct that does need to come down, there is procedure in place if it is not approved by the County Commissioners."

Though he ordered the display removed, Head said he agrees with its message.

But he added: "If I were to call our attorneys they would say take that stuff down, so I don't have to call them. I know how they think."

Four hundred miles away in Henderson County, southeast of Dallas, county leaders refused to remove a Nativity scene from the lawn of the Henderson County Courthouse, despite a demandfrom the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Follow @davejourno
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