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Flash Back: Early Story as Freelance Journalist - Rally Jackson County Courthouse December 2018

Lawrence Count Zephyr

By: Bill Raines

LAWRENCE COUNTY - (December 22, 2021) - The following story is the coverage of the Jackson County Courthouse Rally. This came after Jackson County faced a lawsuit for their Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn.

Jackson County eventually won the lawsuit on an appeal as the case made its way through the legal system.

This story is my very first story as a freelance journalist. A few from Lawrence County attended this event which included a couple from Leesville.


By: Bill Raines

Southern Indiana News and Views

BROWNSTOWN- Approximately 500 people braved cold, windy weather to unite against removing a nativity scene.

Gary Weddell organized today’s Constitutional Rally. A group out of Wisconsin requested Jackson County officials remove the Nativity Scene.

Although the outside temperatures may have been cold on the outside, hearts were warm on the inside.

The gathering was opened up by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. As the group looked towards the flag located at the American Legion Post located on the North side of the square, and then an opening prayer.

Jackson County Commissioner Matt Reedy, Jackson County District 3 Commissioner addressed the crowd. He informed those gathered that two groups of Attorney’s contacted them to represent them should any lawsuits arise out of this. The Commissioners states they have chosen the Liberty Group, who agreed to represent them for free of charge. He added “We will fight this, and anyone who agrees or disagrees with the County Commissioners on any matter is always welcomed to get on the agenda. You can do so by contacting the Auditor’s Office. “Said Reedy.

Indiana State Representative Jim Lucas then addressed the crowd. Lucas stated every State, County, and Local elected leader take an oath to protect and defend both the U.S. and State Constitution. Adding that Attorney’s, Law Enforcement Officers, and Judges take the same oath. Yesterday, Jackson County Officials took that same oath by Indiana State Senator Eric Koch swearing them in under that oath. He too vowed that he will fight against the removal of the display.

A poem Then was read by a local resident whose poem looked at the current situation.

Gary Weddell then addressed the group who organized the Rally. Weddell is the Commander of the 3rd Patriot Group. Weddell talked of the First, Second, Third and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

He stated what gives us the right to have the Nativity gives the other group the right to protest. And does not give anyone the right to cause harm to anyone.

The constitution is what holds everything together. Politicians and news media try to divide us. Christians should not promote hate, or hateful comments. He then called on the group to pull one another together and not divide.

The President of the Minsterial Association in Jackson County, and Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Brownstown, Pastor Scott Erwin, then addressed the crowd stating that the Ministerial Association along with other groups and individuals purchased the display. Including, the sleigh and reindeer that are part of the display. No taxpayer's money was used to purchase, store and maintain the display. He then spoke out of the scriptures to love God, and one another.

Finally, the gathering was concluded by Christmas Carols by a former music teacher, Molly Persinger. She led the group with the following Christmas Carols: “Joy to the World, The First Noel, Away in Manger, Silent Night, and concluded with We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Many from those gathered spoke to Southern Indiana News and Views.

“I do not understand how one person can try and take it down,” said Tom Wayman

“Time as Christians, we take a stand.” Stated Janet Bryant

“I lived in Brownstown all my life, over 60 years, they should never take it down. “Susan Ross declared.

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