County Judge: No Nativity Or Other Displays At Courthouse

Nov 25, 2015

The nativity display in 2014 at the Baxter County Courthouse.

Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass says there will be no Nativity scene or any secular holiday displays on the courthouse lawn this year.

Pendergrass announced the decision Wednesday in Mountain Home in response to a federal judge's ruling earlier this month that the Nativity display violates the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks ruled that the county must either stop placing any religious seasonal displays on the property, or create a public forum allowing displays by all religions and viewpoints.

The American Humanist Association and Mountain Home resident Dessa Blackthorn sued last December after Pendergrass denied at least two requests to place a "Happy Winter Solstice" banner on the lawn. A lawyer for the association says it's happy with the county judge's decision.