Man sues Texas AG Abbott over nativity scene - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Man sues Texas AG Abbott over nativity scene

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A San Antonio man will file a lawsuit Friday against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for supporting a nativity scene on city property in Northeast Texas. The man claims it is illegal.

For the second time in two years the city of Athens, Texas is being asked to take down it's nativity scene on the courthouse square, baby Jesus and all.

On Monday San Antonio resident, Pat Greene, filed this lawsuit against the city.

"Because there's only a Christian scene there and no other faith around it like a menorah for Jewish people it gives the idea that the government gives preference to one religion over the other--which is strictly forbidden by the Texas constitution," Pat Greene said.

Greene says if the city will not include other religious symbols, it should move the display to private property like a church.

The atheist says he learned of the display when the Freedom From Religion Foundation out of Wisconsin sent a letter to county leaders this time last year demanding the scene be removed.

Christians held a protest and city leaders stuck to their guns. Jesus spent his birthday in the manger.

In the new lawsuit, Greene claims the display is also illegal because the city uses part of the funding for keep Athens beautiful to maintain the decorations.

Mayor Jerry Don Vaught says that's not true.

"The city has absolutely nothing to do with the nativity. Keep Athens Beautiful, the Light up Athens committee decorates the square and has purchased all the decorations that are down there. The city has not purchased any item down there," said Vaught.

Attorney General Greg Abbott released this statement about Greene's claims.

"The city of Athens and Henderson County have no legal obligation to remove a nativity scene from the courthouse grounds during the Christmas season. The Attorney General's Office stands ready to provide appropriate legal support to further protect religious liberties in the state of Texas."

That backing caused to Greene to draft this document requesting to withdraw his lawsuit against the city. He plans to file it tomorrow.

"Everybody deserves a fair trial and a fair hearing with Greg Abbott doing this it's impossible," Greene said.

So instead of going after the city, Greene will now file a lawsuit against Abbott.

"To have a judge order him to do what the constitution tells him to do and nothing else," said Greene.

Greene says he eventually plans to sue the city again.

According to a county judge, the nativity scene will stay put.

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