By Randall Chase
A Catholic fraternal organization is suing a popular Delaware beach resort in federal court over its decision to end a decades-long practice of allowing the display of a Christmas Nativity scene on public property.
The Knights of Columbus Star of the Sea Council contends that the 2018 decision by Rehoboth Beach officials violates constitutional guarantees of free speech and the free exercise of religion.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, contends that city officials have refused to allow the Nativity scene on public property while allowing secular holiday displays, including a Santa house sponsored by the local chamber of commerce on the town’s boardwalk.
“By prohibiting private organizations from displaying religious holiday messages on city property, while simultaneously allowing private organizations to display secular holiday messages, defendants’ policy facially discriminates against religious viewpoints in violation of the First Amendment,” the lawsuit states.
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