Town Can’t Ban Cross Display, Says Conservative Legal Group

By:  Dave Bohon
07/11/2011
       
Town Can’t Ban Cross Display, Says Conservative Legal Group

A conservative legal advocacy group has come to the rescue of a New Jersey man who was told by authorities in his community that he could not display a cross in his yard. In early July the Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to officials in the township of Livingston asking them to cease from employing an ordinance prohibiting homeowner Patrick Racaniello from displaying crosses in various areas of his front yard. Local police had used the ordinance as justification for ordering Racaniello to remove a cross he was displaying on a tree in his front yard in celebration of Lent, after one of his neighbors had complained.

“It’s ridiculous to stop citizens from displaying a cross on their own property,” said ADF attorney Jonathan Scruggs, who is representing Racaniello. “The Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to express their religious beliefs in this fashion, and no local ordinance can trump that.” Scruggs noted that in the present case, “the ordinance itself doesn’t actually even prohibit these crosses. The law is being used in a vague fashion to stop him from doing what he wishes on his own private property.”

A conservative legal advocacy group has come to the rescue of a New Jersey man who was told by authorities in his community that he could not display a cross in his yard. In early July the Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to officials in the township of Livingston asking them to cease from employing an ordinance prohibiting homeowner Patrick Racaniello from displaying crosses in various areas of his front yard. Local police had used the ordinance as justification for ordering Racaniello to remove a cross he was displaying on a tree in his front yard in celebration of Lent, after one of his neighbors had complained.

“It’s ridiculous to stop citizens from displaying a cross on their own property,” said ADF attorney Jonathan Scruggs, who is representing Racaniello. “The Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to express their religious beliefs in this fashion, and no local ordinance can trump that.” Scruggs noted that in the present case, “the ordinance itself doesn’t actually even prohibit these crosses. The law is being used in a vague fashion to stop him from doing what he wishes on his own private property.”

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Photo: A scene in Livingston Township, N.J.

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