DUNLAP, Ind. – An Indiana school district is resisting calls from atheist groups to cut a Nativity scene from its Christmas Spectacular celebration, prompting a federal lawsuit.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Concord Community Schools in U.S. District Court on behalf of a student in the music program and his father, though neither are named in the litigation, The Elkhart Truth reports.
The lawsuit centers on the last 15 minutes of district’s annual Christmas Spectacular, which involves a Nativity scene with figures like Mary, Joseph and the three wise men acting out a reading from the Bible.
“The Nativity scene and the story of the birth of Jesus are, of course, well-recognized symbols of the Christian faith,” according to the lawsuit. “Their presence at the Christmas Spectacular is coercive, represents an endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation, has no secular purpose and has the principle purpose and effect of advancing religion.”
The lawsuit asks the court to force Concord schools to cut out the nativity scene for the 2015 celebration and all future productions, as well as legal fees, damages and “other proper relief,” according to the Truth.
The FFRF sent Concord Community Schools superintendent John Trout a letter in August with a threat of litigation if the Nativity scene wasn’t eliminated.