Freedom from Religion Foundation | Courtesy
Remember that time Texas Governor Greg Abbott, including his decade-plus tenure as Attorney General, used his position of power to infringe on the rights of others?
OK, too broad. More specifically, during the season Texans look forward to every year: Winter Solstice.
Last December, Abbott ordered the removal of a state-approved display
of the above photo, which features Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, along with the iconic symbol of America, the Statue of Liberty, and genius Benjamin Franklin, reverently peering at a manger holding the Bill of Rights.
The scene was at the state capital in Austin, and it was created by the Freedom From Religion Foundation as an "equal time" display that was privately funded. It followed the same rules everyone follows and was by the books, until the governor found out.
"The exhibit is entitled “Bill of Rights [N]ativity and Winter Solstice [D]isplay.” The exhibit places the bill of rights in a manger and shows three founding fathers and the Statue of Liberty worshipping one of America’s founding documents as a replacement for Jesus Christ. This juvenile parody violates the Preservation Board’s regulations and should be removed immediately," Abbott wrote in a letter to John Sneed, executive director of the State Preservation Board, the entity that approved the display.
Well, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing Abbott and Sneed.
"Gov. Abbott has consistently advocated for displays of religion in the public sphere, while actively opposing any expression of nonreligious principles," Freedom From Religion Foundation states in a press release announcing the lawsuit.
They are referencing that time Abbott attacked the foundation for asking the Brewster County's Sheriff's Office to remove crosses from patrol vehicles.
The organization says both Abbott and Sneed violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, along with clauses protecting free speech, equal protect rights and due process rights. They are asking for damages and reasonable costs and attorneys' fees.
Read the lawsuit: