A nonprofit law firm is sponsoring a 19-foot cross for an Easter celebration in downtown Chicago

Event marks the 17th annual Easter sunrise service in Daley Plaza

A nonprofit law firm that has fought many high-profile religious liberty cases is co-sponsoring this year's 17th annual “Jesus in Daley Plaza” celebration that marks Easter with a 19-foot cross in downtown Chicago.

Tom Brejcha, who serves as president and chief counsel at the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, noted in a statement the importance of displaying such symbols in the public square as religion is increasingly pushed out of it.

“The Easter celebration represents a constitutionally protected expression of religious belief by private citizens in a public forum,” Brejcha. said. “It is an appropriate response to the concerns raised more than 39 years ago by the late Rev. Richard John Neuhaus in his book, The Naked Public Square.”

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“Neuhaus lamented that America's public spaces had been stripped of any references to religion or religious practices — as if it were somehow 'undemocratic' or 'uncivil' to celebrate Christian holidays outdoors where others could witness,” he continued.

“This is truer than ever in today's increasingly secular environment. But people still have worries, fears and problems. Christians believe that Jesus offers the hope that helps us all deal with and answer those worries,” added Brejcha.

The display is also sponsored by Tapestry Fellowship, City First Foundation, as well as Karl and Nancy Fritz, who designed and built this year's cross. It is scheduled to be lifted Thursday night, and will remain in place for a week. An interdenominational Easter sunrise service will also be held at the cross on Sunday.

Because the display is privately funded without any government aid or support, Brejcha noted that it is “clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of our United States Constitution.”

“Actually, in [1988]Chief U.S. District Judge James B. Parsons, entered a permanent injunction prohibiting any discrimination against religion on Chicago's Daley Plaza,” he added.

In November 1988, priests ruled that the Public Buildings Commission of Chicago must allow both a Nativity scene and a menorah in Daley Plaza, according to The Chicago Tribune.

In his ruling, he noted that the US Supreme Court “has consistently ruled that religious expression enjoys the same protection as political expression.”

Lawyers with the Thomas More Society also worked pro bono last Christmas season to protect the rights of anyone who wanted to sponsor a Nativity scene at their state Capitol under the First and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.

Echoing his recent statement about Easter displays, Brejcha told The Christian Post last December that he believes Nativity scenes at state Capitols are important “because it's an exercise of fundamental constitutional rights that, if not exercised, will be lost or forgotten .”

Source: www.christianpost.com

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