NJ atheists sue Bergen shelter over blessing of the animals
TETERBORO (AP) — A New Jersey atheist group is suing to stop an annual blessing of the animals at a local shelter.
NJ.com reports the group, called American Atheists Inc., claims in a federal lawsuit that the Bergen County Animal Shelter's events in which animals are blessed by a Roman Catholic priest violates the First and Fourth amendments.
The event, held last month, is intended to honor Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
The suit seeks an injunction against the county's participation, as well as legal fees. Bergen County, the shelter and its director are named in the suit.
The suit says the Teterboro shelter is using government resources to promote religious ceremonies. The shelter by the county's Department of Health Services and receives money from the state.
The county didn't return an email seeking comment Monday.
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