"German Nativity Scene" by Andreas Praefcke is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Appeals Court: For Now, a Nativity Scene Can Go Up Outside an Indiana Courthouse

Nov 20, 2020

By Hemant Mehta

A Nativity scene outside a former Indiana courthouse will remain up this winter even though it was declared unconstitutional earlier this year. But that victory for conservative Christians may not last for long.

Some background is helpful here: All of this takes place in the city of Brownstown at the site of the Jackson County Courthouse. A couple of years ago, the court moved to another location nearby and the old building was converted to office space. The county’s treasurer, auditor, surveyor, and many others now work out of there.

In any case, starting around 2003, the Jackson County Commissioners approved a Christian Nativity display outside the building and it’s gone up around the holidays every year since. (Technically, it’s owned by the Brownstown Ministerial Association but it’s on government property.) There are lights nearby so that people can see it in the evenings, and that electricity is paid for by the government. Until 2018, this was unmistakably a pro-Christian display.

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