This is what you’ll see when you walk inside the Harrison County Courthouse in Mississippi:
If you think that looks like a Nativity scene, well, I’m not patting you on the back because this is Mississippi and what the hell else would that be?
The problem, obviously, is that the courthouse is sending the message that Christianity is the only faith that matters, which is disturbing for anyone who’s not Christian hoping to get a fair hearing.
The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center has sent a letter to Harrison County officials asking them to take the display down, regardless of how many years this tradition has been going on:
“Nativity scenes in courthouses, like any blatantly religious display on public property, show government favoritism toward religion and to Christianity in particular,” said Monica Miller, senior counsel at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Numerous courts, including the Supreme Court, have found these Christian displays in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said, “When the government endorses one religion over all others, it tells people of minority faiths and of no faith that they are unwelcome in their own community.”
When an outside group has to tell the people running a courthouse how the law works, you have to weep for the people whose lives hang in the balance as they’re tried in that building.