Legislator Slow to Learn


On behalf of members of the public and some of his constituents, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote Wis. State Rep. Stephen Nass in April:

“We have taken complaints regarding your decision to close your public office for Good Friday, and to advertise that fact in a manner which appropriates public property for an exclusionary and proselytizing message.

“As you know, Federal Judge John Shabaz ruled in the February 26, 1996 case, Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Tommy Thompson (Case No. 95-C-634-S) that it was unconstitutional for the State of Wisconsin to mandate worship on Good Friday and to celebrate it as a government holiday.


“While your decision to close the office may not violate the letter of the court order, it certainly violates the spirit of it.

“State, county and municipal offices must stay open to serve the public. State workers did not lose their half-day holiday but were given a floating half-holiday. (We note that Good Friday was never observed by the State as a full holiday.) We certainly hope your two office workers did not feel coerced into using one of their paid vacation days in order to propitiate your personal religious views.”

Several years ago, the Foundation and some of Nass’ constituents complained about the cross Nass placed in his highly visible ground floor window. Nass refused to remove the cross and has since added a large decal reading “God Bless America.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation