Law Allows Public God with Limits

By Dobranski, Patti | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

Law Allows Public God with Limits


Dobranski, Patti, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Every Easter morning for the past decade, the sun rises over the pond at B-Y Park serenaded by the Trafford United Methodist Church choir.

On Sunday, an Orthodox priest from South Greensburg blessed the waters at Westmoreland County's Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield to mark the Feast of the Epiphany, a long tradition, according to Claude Petroy, director of county parks and recreation.

But in Irwin, borough council would not allow a church group to conduct an overnight camp at the municipal park this summer.

When government meets religion, just what is correct?

Irwin Council President Danyce Neal said borough leaders steer clear of permitting religious services at the park.

"We have allowed religious groups or churches to have barbecues or fundraisers there, but not services, because it is government property," she said.

Trafford has no problem permitting the Easter service, which is presented for council's approval every spring.

"No one has ever complained about it. As far as I know, there is no law against it," said Lisa Mallik, borough administrator.

Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Phoenix-based Alliance Defense Fund, a group of 1,100 attorneys from across the nation who "defend the right to hear and speak the truth through strategy, training, funding and litigation," said Irwin officials unknowingly are violating the First Amendment by prohibiting religious groups from using their park.

"You cannot discount religious viewpoints. They made it clear they are anti-religious. It's actually a backward interpretation of the First Amendment," he said from his Louisiana office.

Irwin Solicitor Todd Turin said the borough does not restrict groups because they are religious. "The group sent a letter to council asking to sanction their actions at the park, which they would not do. But their general use of the park was not prohibited," he said.

Neal pointed to objections about nativity scenes at public buildings as a benchmark for the borough's position.

"It's kind of a double-edged sword, I guess. If we put up a nativity scene at the park, we'd have people complaining," she said.

Sara Rose, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Pittsburgh office, said parks are considered areas that would provide a public forum to express opinions or beliefs, including religious expression.

"You can't discriminate against religious expression because public parks are considered public forums. (Irwin council) can probably restrict the overnight use of the park," she said.

The same conflict surfaces with prayer before municipal meetings.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Law Allows Public God with Limits
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.