Christian Activist Seeks to Remove "Pagan" Statue from Courthouse

January 6, 2006

Source: Grand Forks Herald

On January 6, 2006 the Grand Forks Herald reported, "A lawsuit against a UND [University of North Dakota] law clinic brought by a Fargo Christian activist trying to remove a 'pagan' statue from atop the Grand Forks County courthouse should not have been dismissed so quickly, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit reversed a district court's decision from July 2004 that threw out a lawsuit by Martin Wishnatsky. He said his First Amendment rights were violated when he was denied legal assistance from UND Law School's Clinical Education Program because of his views. The higher court sided with Wishnatsky, a high-profile proponent of Christian causes, that the clinic refused services because he was a critic of the clinic and its representation of five men trying to remove a Ten Commandments monument near Fargo's City Hall... Wishnatsky sought assistance from the UND clinic in 2003 to help him with a lawsuit to have the statue of Themis, a Greek Goddess, removed from atop the Grand Forks County Courthouse... Themis was the ancient Greek goddess of law and morality and traditionally has been a symbol at U.S. courthouses, with her eyes blindfolded holding scales of justice. She has been perched on top of the Grand Forks County courthouse for more than 90 years."