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New York Village Would Rather Remove 9-Foot Menorah than Allow Nativity Scene
Life Site News ^ | 12.19.06 | JORGE FITZ-GIBBON

Posted on 12/20/2006 4:54:27 PM PST by Coleus

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y., December 20, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Village of Briarcliff Manor officials have decided to remove their entire holiday display, including a 9-foot-tall menorah, from a public park rather than allow a resident to add a crèche after Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and allied attorneys won a temporary restraining order Friday from a federal judge. The lawsuit and TRO motion were filed Dec. 11 after the Briarcliff Manor Village's Board of Trustees refused to permit the display.

"The village's constitutional violations regarding religious expression in public make them look like the grinches who stole Christmas and Chanukah from the citizens of Briarcliff Manor," said ADF-allied attorney John Stepanovich. "It is truly sad that officials have chosen not only to thumb their noses at religion but at the justice system as well, since our client's request of equal access for a privately-funded crèche in addition to the menorah was entirely constitutional."

In place of where the holiday display once stood, village officials displayed a sign criticizing U.S. District Judge William C. Conner's decision to grant the temporary restraining order. The federal court judge's decision forced officials to either remove the menorah or grant resident Henry Ritell's request to display a nativity scene alongside it.

The sign read, "The Village erected a menorah and Christmas tree display in a spirit of inclusion. In response to a federal court order the entire display has been removed. We disagree with the court." Following outcry from the public, village officials removed the sign.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; US: New York
KEYWORDS: aclumia; adf; antichristian; briarcliffmanor; brooklyn; catholic; chanukah; christmas; grinchstolechristmas; henryritell; jewish; menorah; nativityscene; religiousintolerance; waronchristmas; waronchristmas2006
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Menorah, yes; crèche, no: New York village officials deny resident opportunity to display nativity

ADF and ADF-allied attorneys file suit, request temporary restraining order against Village of Briarcliff Manor

VILLAGE OF BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. — Acting on behalf of a local resident, Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and allied attorneys are seeking a temporary restraining order against officials in the Village of Briarcliff Manor who refuse to allow a crèche display in a public park.  The attorneys filed their TRO motion today after filing a complaint in federal court Friday against the village’s board of trustees and its manager.

“It is outrageous that a private citizen has been denied the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in a public park,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Brian W. Raum.  “The Village’s decision to purchase, maintain, and display secular seasonal elements and a menorah in the park while prohibiting a privately sponsored nativity scene is not only hypocritical, but unconstitutional.”

The village-sponsored “holiday display” includes a 9-foot-high menorah, bows, garland, and a “Peace on Earth” banner. Henry Ritell, a Catholic and a village resident, first attempted to display a creche in the park in December 2005.  In accordance with his Roman Catholic faith, Ritell requested that the display be permitted between Christmas and Epiphany, which takes place on  Jan. 8, 2006.  In a Jan. 13 letter from the village’s manager, Ritell’s request was denied.

Officials also rejected Ritell’s renewed request in two letters sent to the village on Oct. 30 and Nov. 14, 2006.   The complaint and request for a temporary restraining order filed in Ritell v. The Village of Briarcliff Manor in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York may be viewed at www.telladf.org/userdocs/RitellComplaint.pdf   ADF attorneys are co-counsel in the case along with lead counsel Feerick Lynch MacCartney and allied attorney John Stepanovich.

“Mr. Ritell’s request is entirely constitutional,” Raum explained.  “The Village’s claim that a  ‘public’ park is somehow not a public forum for free expression is unfounded.  More importantly, it is a blatant denial of Mr. Ritell’s First Amendment rights.”   ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.       
www.telladf.org                www.saychristmas.org

1 posted on 12/20/2006 4:54:31 PM PST by Coleus
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To: Coleus

but a kwanzaa disply they would allow.


2 posted on 12/20/2006 4:55:54 PM PST by yochanan
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To: Coleus

Hannukkah is almost OVER for Pete's sake, so no big deal taking it down.


3 posted on 12/20/2006 4:56:40 PM PST by Suzy Quzy
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To: Coleus

Good for the judge. A menorah and a creche are religious symbols. A Christmas tree is a secular symbol.


4 posted on 12/20/2006 4:57:23 PM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: yochanan
If the Islams wanted to put something up, you can bet they would get first priority.
5 posted on 12/20/2006 4:59:22 PM PST by oyez (Why is it that egalitarians act like royalty?)
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To: Coleus

Rush is right. This is getting real stupid. Let them have their friggin' menorah.


6 posted on 12/20/2006 4:59:41 PM PST by dr_who_2
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To: Coleus

Interesting to see Christians on the other side of this situation. Remember this the next time Jews or pagans want to put up their religious symbols along with a public nativity scene (OTOH, the pagans already have the Christmas tree, so you're kind of on the same side there).


7 posted on 12/20/2006 5:02:42 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: dr_who_2

No. They shouldnt have a menorah. The equivelant Jewish symbol to a Christmas tree is a dreidel.


8 posted on 12/20/2006 5:04:02 PM PST by Chickensoup (If you don't go to the holy war, the holy war will come to you.)
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To: Coleus
You mean there are actually Gentiles in Briarcliff Manor? ;-)

(For those of you in outerwhitelandia, Briarcliff Manor, along with Scarsdale, Chappaqua, and Larchmont, make up the "bagel belt" of Westchester County).

9 posted on 12/20/2006 5:04:11 PM PST by Clemenza (Never Trust Anyone With a Latin Tagline)
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To: dr_who_2

apparently these people are so stupid they didn't know that the original menorah stood in the Temple in Jerusalem pre-Jesus. speaking of religious symbols..........


10 posted on 12/20/2006 5:04:21 PM PST by avital2
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To: Coleus; SJackson
1. Where are the people who were annoyed with the Rabbi at the SEa-Tac case?
2. A Dreidl or spinning top would be a secular representation of Hanukkah, akin to a Tree. A Menorah is explicitly religious.
11 posted on 12/20/2006 5:05:43 PM PST by rmlew (Having slit their throats may the conservatives who voted for Casey choke slowly on their blood.)
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To: Coleus

I'm so sick and tired of pu**ies in postitions of authority............


12 posted on 12/20/2006 5:07:59 PM PST by RightOnline
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To: taxesareforever
Actually, a Christmas tree is a religious symbol (whether or not it's your religion is the question), but a creche is hardly religious. It's simply a grouping of statues of Jews and animals.

I think that's what gets some folks up in arms about the creche scenes ~ they either don't like Jews, or they don't like animals.

13 posted on 12/20/2006 5:09:51 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: rmlew
Is a good looking Hooters girl secular or religious??
14 posted on 12/20/2006 5:09:59 PM PST by zarf
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To: Coleus

Cripes the muzzies must be laughing their butts off. Divide and conquer.


15 posted on 12/20/2006 5:10:15 PM PST by Felis_irritable
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To: dr_who_2

Rush is right. This is getting real stupid. Let them have their friggin' menorah. >>>

obviously, you didn't read the article which had NOTHING to do with the menorah. It had to do with putting a Christian symbol up next to the menorah, a nativity scene, also called a crèche. No where was it written that he wanted the menorah down. He paid for the crèche with his own money and wanted to donate it to the town to be placed next to the menorah. Not take the menorah down.


16 posted on 12/20/2006 5:10:58 PM PST by Coleus (Christmas is part of our Western Civilization and is an U.S. Holiday for all Americans)
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To: rmlew

The tree is not secular.


17 posted on 12/20/2006 5:11:51 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: rmlew
1-They're on the multi thousand post Sea-Tac threads, though the Rabbi never asked for anyting to be taken down.

2-Given the, imo credible, history of the dreidl as a ploy against persecution, I think it's inappropriate.

3, mine-Even if it's a secular holiday season, the holiday's are religious. I think no displays on public property is a defensible position, but if you're going to have them, why not a Nativity Scene and a Menorah.

18 posted on 12/20/2006 5:12:54 PM PST by SJackson (had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

High Volume. Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking on the Topic or Keyword Israel. or WOT [War on Terror]

----------------------------

19 posted on 12/20/2006 5:13:13 PM PST by SJackson (had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out)
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To: rmlew

It is both secular and religious. The menorah is also a national symbol of the Jewish people-religious and non religious.
Nevertheless as an Orthodox Jew I say let there be creches and/or Menorahs in every town that wants them and f-ck the JINO's and formerly Christian athiests that block them.
Please just have the heads covered on the Jewish characters in the nativity scenes.


20 posted on 12/20/2006 5:13:38 PM PST by yochanan
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To: muawiyah

How is a pine tree a Christian Symbol?


21 posted on 12/20/2006 5:13:45 PM PST by Coleus (Christmas is part of our Western Civilization and is an U.S. Holiday for all Americans)
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To: muawiyah

PETA has taken to harassing those who stage "living Nativity scenes" even when there are no live animals involved. So yep, some zealots DON'T like to see animals.


22 posted on 12/20/2006 5:13:50 PM PST by weegee
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To: SJackson
It's always been pretty obvious to me that for the government to prohibit religious displays on otherwise open public property is to violate the "religion clause" in the Constitution.

People who don't agree with me should go to a different country.

23 posted on 12/20/2006 5:15:33 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Is the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus secular?


24 posted on 12/20/2006 5:16:20 PM PST by weegee
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To: Coleus

Did I say Christian?


25 posted on 12/20/2006 5:16:29 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Coleus

This is stupid. How does suing get you want you want in this situation. It doesn't. Just pisses off people and they take everything down which makes even more people upset.


26 posted on 12/20/2006 5:16:31 PM PST by packrat35 (guest worker/day worker=SlaveMart)
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To: weegee
I'm not all that sure of the origins of the "Easter Bunny" but when it comes to the "Paas Haas" I have a little more grounding.

Now, regarding Little Red Man, what would you really like to know?

27 posted on 12/20/2006 5:17:39 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Did I say Christian? >>

how is a pine tree a non-secular symbol?


28 posted on 12/20/2006 5:19:05 PM PST by Coleus (Christmas is part of our Western Civilization and is an U.S. Holiday for all Americans)
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To: yochanan

"Please just have the heads covered on the Jewish characters in the nativity scenes."

I suppose I could put tongue in cheek and say that a nativity scene is really just depicting the birth of a famous rabbi;
so that if you have that, you still don't have any gentile or 'christian' representations.

Therefore should the village be requested also to put up--what, a reindeer? A Santa?

I'd love to see the lawyers tie the Village up in knots over this issue. . .


29 posted on 12/20/2006 5:19:36 PM PST by CondorFlight (I)
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To: SJackson

The rabbi threatened to sue. He was wrong.

These people sued. They were wrong. I wish people would stop defending the rabbi, as he was WRONG, just as these people were wrong.

Doesn't say much for the season with these idiotic threats of lawsuits and actual lawsuits which acomplish nothing but ill will for the holiday season.


30 posted on 12/20/2006 5:19:44 PM PST by packrat35 (guest worker/day worker=SlaveMart)
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To: Coleus

Can we jsut please cancel December in its entirety and jump right to New Years Day.

I am so sick of Christmas, Hannukkah, kwansa, ramadan, etc... every December. Every year the pettyness of it all gets worse and worse.

I hate this time of year! Its sucks!!!!!!!!!


31 posted on 12/20/2006 5:20:06 PM PST by MaDeuce (Do it to them, before they do it to you! (MaDeuce = John Browning's gift to freedom))
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To: Coleus

If the a-holes who don't want to let him put down his creche (whatever that is), he should put it in his own yard. If the town tells him to remove it, he should tell them to get lost. If it's a gated community and they want him to remove it, he should tell them to get lost and if that doesn't work he should move to some place sane at the soonest opportunity. Some battles aren't worth fighting. As for Christianity, ask yourself whether the depth of your faith should be measured by the number of "creches" you place in the public square.


32 posted on 12/20/2006 5:21:20 PM PST by dr_who_2
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To: MaDeuce

You could try hibernating for the month like a bear.


33 posted on 12/20/2006 5:21:43 PM PST by packrat35 (guest worker/day worker=SlaveMart)
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To: Clemenza
What is with these elitist NYers? All these towns with two elitist names, where do they come up with them? Are they suppose to sound like resorts and tourist destinations more than towns, or what?
34 posted on 12/20/2006 5:22:09 PM PST by gidget7 (2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:)
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To: packrat35

This is stupid. How does suing get you want you want in this situation. It doesn't. Just pisses off people and they take everything down which makes even more people upset. >>

obviously, you never heard of the ACLU. They've been succeeding in this area for years, it's about time a Christian fights back. And if you look closer at the article, it was a sensible judge who understood the issue who told the town: put up the nativity scene or take down the menorah.

from the article: "The federal court judge's decision forced officials to either remove the menorah or grant resident Henry Ritell's request to display a nativity scene alongside it. "

Instead of allowing the Christian Symbol, the town chose to have no Christian symbols displayed during the Christmas Season.


35 posted on 12/20/2006 5:23:22 PM PST by Coleus (Christmas is part of our Western Civilization and is an U.S. Holiday for all Americans)
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To: packrat35

"You could try hibernating for the month like a bear."

I wish I friggen could! And miss my stupid birthday as well.


36 posted on 12/20/2006 5:23:38 PM PST by MaDeuce (Do it to them, before they do it to you! (MaDeuce = John Browning's gift to freedom))
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To: Coleus
This creeping insanity has nothing to do with "separation of church and state" - it is about the elevation of petty personal grievances over a sense of community that used to define the uniqueness of America.

As a Jew, I never recall even THINKING about feeling "disincluded" when I saw crèches in public places. Rather, I felt warm and welcoming of my Christian neighbors, and tried to share in the joy they felt for the season which occasioned such displays. I felt then and feel now that free expressions of honest religious faith - especially those given in the spirit of love, peace and charity to all - should be welcome, as many of my neighors greeted the appearance of menorahs in other public locales.

I am disgusted and dismayed at what is happenening to our nation. With tears in my eyes at this moment, to my Christian friends here at FR, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, from the bottom of my heart.

37 posted on 12/20/2006 5:23:52 PM PST by andy58-in-nh
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To: Coleus

You're not serious are you?


38 posted on 12/20/2006 5:25:32 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: rmlew
if you missed it.

Hanukkah Menorahs Light Path for Nativity Displays-Christian Activists Cite Campaign as Precedent

39 posted on 12/20/2006 5:25:38 PM PST by SJackson (had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out)
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To: yochanan
Nevertheless as an Orthodox Jew I say let there be creches and/or Menorahs in every town that wants them and f-ck the JINO's and formerly Christian athiests that block them.
Works for me.

Please just have the heads covered on the Jewish characters in the nativity scenes.

Realism is not a necessity. The most amusing Nativity scene I saw had a pig and chicken near the manger.

40 posted on 12/20/2006 5:27:56 PM PST by rmlew (Having slit their throats may the conservatives who voted for Casey choke slowly on their blood.)
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To: dr_who_2
As for Christianity, ask yourself whether the depth of your faith should be measured by the number of "creches" you place in the public square. >>

that's not the issue. We've been fighting the ACLU secularists for years. This town decided to put up one and only one religious symbol, a Menorah. Mr. Rittel wanted some parity for the Christmas Season and donated a Nativity Scene to the town to put up "along" with the menorah. The judge gave an ultimatum, put the Christian symbol next to the Jewish one or have none. They chose to have none.

Some battle aren't worth fighting>>>

are you kidding, the ACLU has been suing, mostly poor cities and towns, all over the country for decades to have them remove nativity scenes and other Christmas decorations from city property. It's about time a Republican puts his money where his mouth is and fights.
41 posted on 12/20/2006 5:29:22 PM PST by Coleus (Christmas is part of our Western Civilization and is an U.S. Holiday for all Americans)
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To: Felis_irritable

***Cripes the muzzies must be laughing their butts off. Divide and conquer.***

Absolutely!


42 posted on 12/20/2006 5:29:28 PM PST by kitkat (The first step down to hell is to deny the existence of evil.)
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To: rmlew; yochanan
Depicting Jews with their heads covered would be true to the event ~ particularly for the folks identified as Jews in the story ~ on the other hand the shephards might simply have been bedouin, or maybe some other nationality then living in this area under Roman control.

What I'd like to see is Santa Claus clearly represented as "Little Red Man", his quite obvious predecessor.

43 posted on 12/20/2006 5:31:01 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: andy58-in-nh

Thank you andy, and Happy Hanukkah to you!


44 posted on 12/20/2006 5:32:00 PM PST by gidget7 (2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:)
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To: zarf

If it is the ACLU is gonna come after me cause I like that symbol


45 posted on 12/20/2006 5:32:03 PM PST by Dov in Houston (Hmmmm....)
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To: muawiyah
It's always been pretty obvious to me that for the government to prohibit religious displays on otherwise open public property is to violate the "religion clause" in the Constitution....People who don't agree with me should go to a different country.

I think religious displays should be allowed, but I'm willing to let that be decided locally. Some places people go crazy over these things. Whether that's constitutionally based, I doubt it, but it's not worth argueing about. Sending folks to another country or back home when they disagree, that's SOP on these threads.

46 posted on 12/20/2006 5:32:04 PM PST by SJackson (had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out)
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To: SJackson
1-They're on the multi thousand post Sea-Tac threads, though the Rabbi never asked for anyting to be taken down.
Exactly. Those running Briarcliff are acting like those at the airport.

2-Given the, imo credible, history of the dreidl as a ploy against persecution, I think it's inappropriate.
What else is there? Gelt looks like an ethnic joke, and latkes are not so good.

47 posted on 12/20/2006 5:32:16 PM PST by rmlew (Having slit their throats may the conservatives who voted for Casey choke slowly on their blood.)
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To: andy58-in-nh
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you.

Good yontiff to you.

48 posted on 12/20/2006 5:32:25 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (This is my tagline. There are many like it but this one is mine.)
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To: weegee
Is the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus secular?

The Easter Bunny is Republican since he attacked Carter.

49 posted on 12/20/2006 5:32:43 PM PST by SJackson (had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out)
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To: Coleus

Any mention of the ACLU in this article?


50 posted on 12/20/2006 5:33:09 PM PST by dr_who_2
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