Down on Downey Nativity Scene

January 16, 1986

In your Jan. 12 edition (Southeast / /Long Beach sections), you had a letter from Ken Kent of Downey. I would like to respond, even though I didn't bring the lawsuit referred to by Kent.

I have brought, and won, similar lawsuits in other communities over the same Nativity scene issue as the one in at Downey City Hall.

It is evident that Mr. Kent does not really understand what is involved in this action. It has nothing to do with being for or against religion. No one is deciding for anyone else what to believe, or not believe.

That scene was built on city property, constructed by city employees on city time, paid for by city funds. Where do city funds come from? All the taxpayers, not just those in favor of the scene but the tax dollars of those opposed to the Nativity scene for whatever reason.

The U.S. Constitution, Amendment I, as ruled on numerous times by the U.S. Supreme Court, strictly prohibits mixing of religion and politics and specifically maintains the church and state must be separated.

Many of us have fought in wars to give you the right to believe what you want to believe, but we fought just as hard to keep religious people from forcing non-religious people to pay for your belief. Why should a non-religious taxpayer be forced to see his tax dollars spent on your belief?

If you want a Nativity scene, fine. Place it on private property and pay for it using only private funds from those who believe as you do. But don't try and force me, or any non-religious taxpayer, to foot the bill for your religious beliefs.

So, Mr. Kent, before you condemn whomever filed that lawsuit, I suggest you read the U.S. Constitution. Be glad someone is more aware of your rights than you apparently are. Like and dislike are irrelevant. It was simply an easy legal question and the U.S. Constitution won, as it should have.



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