The American Civil Liberties Union of Indianapolis is suing Knightstown, home to just 2,000 people, for displaying a lighted cross at the top of its community Christmas tree arguing that the display is overtly religious.
It appears the suit was instituted by a resident named Joseph Tompkins who argues that the cross violates the First Amendment, effectively blurring the line between church and state because the tree is displayed prominently in the town square.
According to court documents, Tompkins ‘objects to any of his tax dollars going to pay for the erection or maintenance of the display or the lighting of it.’ The lawsuit also states Tompkins has been ‘forced to come into unwelcome contact’ with the display, causing him ‘irreparable harm’.
He is seeking immediate removal of the cross and and monetary damages.
Not everyone in the town shares Tompkins’ view, in fact, a member of his own family named Mark Tompkins is planning a more prominent display should the cross be removed. He said:
‘He can take it down and I tell you what, I’ll park this car here until Christmas Day with three crosses on it’.