Town gives in to ACLU lawsuit and removes cross from Christmas tree

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. — A cross no longer sits atop a Christmas tree on town property in Knightstown, Indiana.

Last week, the ACLU sued the 2,000 person town on behalf of a resident who said seeing the cross caused him “irreparable harm.”

Joseph Tompkins demanded the cross be removed and he be paid for damages.

Most people said Tompkins had a right to his opinion, but should have handled it differently.

“You gotta sit down and talk about it before you file the lawsuits,” Knighstown resident Kevin Richey told WTTV.

The town council released the following statement:

“It is with regret and sadness that the Knightstown Town Council has had the cross removed from the Christmas tree on the town square and is expected to approve a resolution at the next council meeting stating they will not return the cross to the tree. We could not win the court case brought by the ACLU. We would have been required to pay the legal fees of the ACLU lawyer and monetary damage to the plaintiff, Mr. Joseph Tompkins, as set by the Court. This is our statement based on advice from our legal counsel.”

Residents are responded by putting crosses in their yards and standing around the tree with crosses.