People sometimes wonder what advocacy organizations get when they win a lawsuit. The recent case of Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Concord Community Schools provides a good example. The FFRF won its case. It obtained an order from the judge that declared the school’s past Christmas programs to be unconstitutional. They judge did not grant the permanent injunction that FFRF sought. But the Foundation did recover damages—all of $1.00. The court’s order says nothing about the recovery of attorneys’ fees, but I expect that the court will award fees to the FFRF due to their success in the case.
FFRF, like other advocacy organizations, pursues litigation not to recover damages, but to make a point. In this case, the point made is that governmental entities cannot endorse religion. The court concluded that the “Christmas Spectacular” programs that the high school produced were unconstitutional. Here’s the takeaway quote:
As the Court has previously emphasized, the portrayal of a living nativity scene in and of itself does not render the performance unconstitutional. But the manner in which the living nativity scene was presented and its context within the show combined to create an impermissible message of endorsement.
The case was decided on March 6, 2017 by Judge Jon Deguilio of the Northern District of Indiana. We found it at 2017 WL 879848.
I wrote up this case in more detail on October 31, 2016. If you want a copy of that entry from the blog, just send me an email. I’d be happy to send it to you.
DAWG BONE: GOVERNMENT CANNOT “ENDORSE” RELIGION.
File this one under: RELIGION
Tomorrow: HB 218 deserves your attention….