Freethought Today · May 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Texas Gov. Abbott files for protective order in FFRF case

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has filed for a protective order in an ongoing FFRF case that challenges his censorship.

FFRF received a state-issued permit to place, in response to a Christian nativity scene, an exhibit in the Texas Capitol in December 2015 honoring the Bill of Rights and winter solstice.

Abbott ordered the exhibit removed, calling the display "tasteless sarcasm" and claiming that FFRF was seeking to "mock our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage."

The motion, filed April 17, seeks to prevent Abbott from being deposed in the lawsuit that FFRF filed after its freedom of expression was muzzled.

Abbott's motion for a protective order asserts that as a high-ranking government official, he is protected from having to testify. The motion also asserts, "Governor Abbott has no unique personal knowledge of any fact that is in any way relevant to this dispute."

Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks ruled that FFRF's case against the governor in his official and individual capacity could proceed.

After initially issuing the censorship letter, Abbott tweeted, "Mocking the Capitol Nativity Scene is Offensive. I Demand Removal of Satirical 'Nativity Scene' from Capitol."

FFRF will file a response to the protective order motion, asserting that Abbott is subject to a deposition in the case. The case is scheduled for a trial in October 2018.

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