Court Finds County Seal Unconstitutional Because of Cross
Despite most residents being unable to identify their county seal, a federal district court ruled that the county seal of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania is unconstitutional. Learn more at Firstliberty.org/Briefing.
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Most residents of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, probably have no idea what their county seal looks like. It has a cow, factories, a silo, an oil lamp set on two books, a courthouse, flags and bunting, and more.
Recently, a federal district court reluctantly declared the seal unconstitutional because, centered in the background of it all, is a cross.
According to the court’s opinion:
“The County has not . . . legally compelled its citizens to practice and conform to Christianity, infringed on freedom of conscience, or created political conflict between the Christian Church and other religious sects. Simply put, the County of Lehigh did not intend to ‘establish’ religion or institute a County religion.”
And, so, the court concluded: “Lehigh County’s Seal is a passive symbol that does not coerce any citizen to practice or adhere to Christianity, and does not establish a county religion. Thus, the Seal does not violate the plain text of the Establishment Clause. Nor does it establish religion in the way the drafters of the First Amendment imagined. Higher courts, however, have delineated a different mechanism by which the court must determine whether the Seal survives constitutional scrutiny. While the court may not fully agree with the test provided, the court must apply that test.”
Well, we can only hope an appeal will change that test.
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