Faithandthelaw's Blog

The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

ACLU targets Fulton Nativity scene

Posted by faithandthelaw on March 29, 2010

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas has submitted a public records request which was sent by mail as well as by facsimile for information regarding a Nativity scene allegedly placed on the grounds at Fulton Navigation Park. The request, dated March 11, was sent to both the Aransas County Navigation District and the Town of Fulton.

Although addressed to the ACND as well as Fulton, the request is for “information maintained by the Town of Fulton and its officers, employes, and/or agents,” as follows:

“1. All information relating to the display of religious information, including but not limited to signs, banners, posters, dioramas, and/or three-dimensional scenes, during November 2009 through January 2010 in town parks or any other areas on town property, including a Christmas nativity scene displayed at Fulton Navigation Park.

“2. All information related to written and/or verbal complaints by residents, visitors, and/or other persons regarding the display of any religious information identified in item 1 above (sic), including but not limited to information relating to any measures taken to investigate and/or address each complaint.

“3. All information identifying the location and content of each religious display present at each town park or other town property during November 2009 through January 2010.

“4. All policies, requests, and other information relating to the process by which individuals and/or organizations request permission to distribute and/or display religious information, including but not limited to signs, banners, posters, dioramas, and/or three-dimensional scenes within or on public property. Please include information as to whether each request was approved or denied, as well as the reasons why each individual was approved or denied.

“5. All agendas, minutes, and/or audio and/or video recordings of town council meetings in 2009 at which the display of religious information was proposed, discussed, and/or approved with regard to town parks.

“6. All information describing the source of funds for displaying religious information on town park property, including but not limited to a Christmas nativity scene displayed at Fulton Navigation Park.”

The request was signed by ACLU staff attorney Fleming Terrell. He requested the materials be sent at the earliest convenience, and no later than March 25.

ACND board chairman Ron Outen said the district’s attorney Gerald L. Benadum responded to the request via faxed letter which states as follows:

“I have consulted with the staff of the district and have determined that the district does not have any of the records described in your request.”

The ACND has no files belonging to the Town of Fulton.

Fulton Mayor Russel Cole said the Town’s attorney Hal George responded for the Town of Fulton. George’s correspondence explained the only record the Town has is of a Town Council meeting at which Cole announced a Christmas in Fulton celebration would be held at Fulton Navigation Park, and listed the dates. George also reported to the ACLU, all booths were decorated by individuals.

Cole also pointed out the Town Council has received no complaints, verbal or written, regarding the Christmas event in Fulton, or about a religious/nativity scene.

The ACND staff and Town of Fulton council and staff await further response, if any, from the ACLU.

Courtesy of http://www.rockportpilot.com/articles/2010/03/26/news/doc4bad2bd737b4c535801980.txt

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