Planned lawsuit over courthouse nativity scene dropped - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Planned lawsuit over courthouse nativity scene dropped

American Humanist Association's display in the Harrison County Courthouse (Photo Source: Tim Holleman) American Humanist Association's display in the Harrison County Courthouse (Photo Source: Tim Holleman)
Nativity Scene at Harrison County Courthouse (Photo source: WLOX News) Nativity Scene at Harrison County Courthouse (Photo source: WLOX News)
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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The American Humanist Association dropped its plan to sue Harrison County over a courthouse nativity display Tuesday. They reached the decision after county officials allowed the AHA to include its own display next to the nativity scene.

The AHA display depicts an image of the axial tilt of the earth as "the reason for the season". It reads "Happy Holidays from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Humanist, Atheist, and Freethinker Association".

"We are satisfied that the courthouse has chosen to be inclusive of religious and nonreligious displays, and we hope that county officials will continue to grant equal access to other non-Christian groups," Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, said in a statement.

The AHA threatened to sue Harrison County over its nativity scene after county supervisors voted unanimously to keep the display in place. The group claimed the display is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of church and state. Harrison County officials have maintained that they are within their legal right to keep the nativity scene in place.

"The inclusion of the humanist display in the courthouse diminishes the overtly Christian nature of the prior display," Monica Miller, senior counsel with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement. "But to ensure that Harrison County officials uphold the First Amendment, we will continue monitoring the situation."

Read the American Humanist Association's original letter to Harrison County officials here: http://shout.lt/bmYL5

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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