Reconciled After 51 Years

Mar 17, 2023

In 1971, the Supreme Court issued a divorce decree in the horrible case of Lemon v. Kurtzman — thus separating America from our Judeo-Christian history. Cited more than 7,000 times, the “Lemon test” was used to eradicate religious speech, symbols, displays, and performances from the public square. Crosses, Menorahs, Stars of David, Nativity scenes, Ten Commandments, and more were wiped out.

But Liberty Counsel’s 2022 landmark 9-0 Supreme Court win in Shurtleff v. City of Boston and our amicus brief in the Coach Kennedy case in the same year have destroyed the Lemon test once and for all. Crosses, nativities, religious displays, and Ten Commandments monuments can once more be raised in the public square. And prayers can no longer be silenced.

But some state and local government bodies STILL think they can discriminate. Liberty Counsel is headed back to court. You will get an update in today’s email. Read on. — Mat

Help Liberty Counsel continue to fight for religious freedom with your generous donation today. When you donate, a special Challenge Grant will DOUBLE THE IMPACT of your donation.


Ultimately, the Lemon test sought to divorce us from our Judeo-Christian founding. But after 51 years, America is now reconciled with the First Amendment. In 7,073 cases and other citations, the flawed legal invention took a wrecking ball to our nation’s history, and in some cases caused long-standing religious monuments to be literally bulldozed. Some examples include:

Bayview Park Cross: In 1941, as America was preparing for war, people gathered in Pensacola, FL, to pray. For more than 70 years a cross stood on that same ground, but a court ruled it must be removed — even though there were more than 170 other displays in the area parks.

Pittsburgh Courthouse Creche: In 1989, the Supreme Court forced Allegheny County to remove a Nativity display from the county courthouse in Pittsburgh.

Concord School Christmas Spectacular: In 2015, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Concord Community Schools declared a public school could not allow students to perform a live Nativity or read the Bible as part of their 45-year-old annual Christmas show.

Judge Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments: In 2003, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was ordered to remove a granite monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. Moore refused and was eventually removed from the bench.

San Diego Veterans Memorial Cross: In 2002, a court ruled a county park could not keep or maintain a historic war memorial in the shape of a cross. The county was forced to sell the cross and the land it occupied to a nonprofit association.

But thanks to Liberty Counsel’s Shurtleff ruling and the Kennedy ruling, all these cases will now turn out differently. Religious speech, symbols, displays, and performances may now be restored.

The fact is that the Bible has always been the foundation of our liberties and our laws, from our nation’s earliest beginnings.

The Ten Commandments played a significant role in the development of American law. The incorporation of the Ten Commandments in law and policy predates the Constitution. This intermingling of the Ten Commandments into American law and government took place long before the appearance of legislative prayers. The drafters of the First Amendment would never have dreamed they were abolishing the Decalogue.

From the inception of America, courts, legislatures, and our Founding Fathers have venerated the Ten Commandments and their impact on our culture and legal system. The Supreme Court has often recognized the impact the Ten Commandments played in our system of law and government.

Twelve of the 13 original colonies adopted the entire Decalogue into their civil and criminal laws.

Joseph Story, the eminent Supreme Court Justice who was the youngest Justice ever appointed and who served on the Supreme Court for 34 years, from 1811 to 1845, remarked:

Now, there will probably be found few persons in this, or any other Christian country, who would deliberately contend, that it was unreasonable, or unjust to foster and encourage the Christian religion generally, as a matter of sound policy, as well as of revealed truth.

In fact, every American colony, from its foundation down to the revolution, with the exception of Rhode Island, (if, indeed, that state be an exception,) did openly, by the whole course of its laws and institutions, support and sustain, in some form, the Christian religion; and almost invariably gave a peculiar sanction to some of its fundamental doctrines.

And this has continued to be the case in some of the states down to the present period, without the slightest suspicion, that it was against the principles of public law, or republican liberty.

Religious freedom is American history … and our future, so long as we continue to defend it. Defend Religious Freedom!

BACK TO COURT…The Providence School District in Rhode Island allows free after-school access to the Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, and Girls on the Run, but has denied equal access to the Good News Club because it is a Christian group.

Liberty Counsel has been successfully defending Good News Clubs for decades. In June 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools violate the First Amendment by not providing equal access and equal treatment to Good News Clubs when the school opened the forum to secular clubs.

The law is clear that public schools cannot discriminate against the Christian viewpoint of Good News Clubs. Equal access means equal treatment in terms of use of the facilities, including fee waivers, time of meetings, and announcements. The Good News Club must be given equal treatment.

Liberty Counsel represents CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) nationally, and we have never lost a case involving Good News Clubs. I am confident we will not lose one.

These constant attacks on religious liberty are costly to overcome. Please help us continue winning for religious freedom with a recurring monthly donation or a one-time gift. A special Challenge Grant will DOUBLE THE IMPACT of every donation made today.

Thank you for standing with us in defense of religious liberty. May God bless you and your family!

Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel


“Amanda Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, Florida, 903 F.3d 1169.” CourtListener. Accessed March 16, 2023.

“Freedom for Religious Expression Takes Giant Leap Forward.” Liberty Counsel, March 13, 2023.

“Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. V. Concord Community Schools, No. 17-1591 (7th Cir. 2018).” Justia Law. Accessed March 16, 2023.

“Glassroth v. Moore.” Wikipedia, May 14, 2022.

Specker, Lawrence. “Pensacola Cross: City Asks Supreme Court to Weigh In.”, September 19, 2018.

Starnes, Todd. “Federal Judge Bans School’s Live Nativity Show.” Fox News, December 4, 2015.

Tauber, Alan. County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union. The Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University. Accessed March 16, 2023.