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Jewish vet wins church-state case

A Connecticut court ruled in favor of a Jewish Navy veteran who said his First Amendment rights were violated by religious displays in a church-run post office. U.S. District Judge Dominic Squatrito last week sided with Bertram Cooper, who in 2003 sued the Postal Service and the Full Gospel
Interdenominational Church, which operates a Sincerely Yours Inc.
post office in Manchester, Conn. The Associated Press reported that the office had the Postal
Service’s eagle symbol on its outside wall along
with a Sincerely Yours sign over the threshold. Inside, the
facility had evangelical displays, including one about Jesus that invites
customers to submit a request if they “need a prayer in their lives.””I’m walking into a place that’s doing government business – selling
stamps, mailing parcels and so forth – and they’re doing this
religious bit,” Cooper, who served with the Navy in World War II and Vietnam, said in 2003, according to the AP.”There is nothing wrong, per se, with the church exhibiting religious
displays,” Squatrito wrote in his ruling. ”Here, however, the church
is exhibiting such displays while it is performing its duties under a
contract with the Postal Service., i.e. the U.S. Government.”The judge ordered the Postal Service to notify its nearly 5,200 facilities run by
contractors that they cannot promote religion through pamphlets,
displays or any other materials.

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