Controversy Over Public Christmas Display

November 8, 2001

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On November 8, 2001, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that "if religious-themed ornaments for the state Capitol holiday tree are submitted, they are as likely as any others to be displayed on the tree, Department of Administration Secretary George Lightbourn said Wednesday. 'We're not in the censorship business,' Lightbourn said in response to the filing of a federal lawsuit trying to overturn what some residents say is the state-guided refusal to accept ornaments with a religious theme for display on the tree...Eight state residents filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Madison...claiming that the state was violating their free-speech rights and their ability to freely exercise their religion."