Chester County, Penn. Okays Crèche on Courthouse Lawn, Avoids Controversy
Contact: Colin Hanna, Pennsylvania Pastors Network, 610-793-1800, 610-291-3700
WEST CHESTER, Penn., Dec. 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- Within 48 hours of receiving a letter from former Chester County Commissioner Colin Hanna (in office from 1995 to 2003), the current Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to permit the addition of a Christmas crèche to the existing holiday display on the Courthouse lawn.
In the previous week, the Commissioners had permitted the addition of a Menorah to that display.
In learning of the Commissioners' decision, Mr. Hanna said, "I am pleased that Chester County handled this matter correctly, and thus avoided controversy. In contrast to other governmental entities such as New York City and the Seattle-Tacoma airport, Chester County's decision shows that it respects the original intent of the framers of the First Amendment to the Constitution."
The full text of Mr. Hanna's letter to the Commissioners follows:
As a citizen, taxpayer and former Commissioner of the County of Chester, and also on behalf of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, I commend you for permitting the display of a Menorah on the Courthouse lawn, symbolizing the seasonal holiday of Chanukah in the Jewish faith. At the same time, I write to request that a crèche scene be added to the overall display, symbolizing the equally seasonal holiday of Christmas in the Christian faith. Although I will leave it to others to make the formal Constitutional argument, if necessary, it is my understanding that the County's decision to accept the Menorah virtually mandates that it also accept a crèche, if offered in a similar manner to that of the Menorah. I contend that the lighted and decorated tree does not meet this requirement.
Several individuals and institutions have offered to donate a suitable crèche for this purpose, so I am sure that together we can select one that is appropriate in size, generally meets the test of comparability, and is free of any cost to the County.
As a timely response to this request is critical, I hope that your work schedule permits us to reach an agreement within the next day or so. I'm available by phone and could meet in person at almost any time today or tomorrow.
With warmest regards,
Colin A. Hanna, President
Pennsylvania Pastors Network
The Pennsylvania Pastors Network is a broadly inter-denominational association of over 1200 biblically-faithful pastors committed to active involvement in the public policy and political processes.