Holladay, UT

AU received a complaint that, beginning in 2007, the city of Holladay had been providing funds and preferential access to government facilities for a performance of Handel’s "Messiah" during the Christmas season. In 2007 the city paid for a banner to advertise the production and for custodial personnel to staff the event. In 2008 the city provided an insurance certificate and funding for the stage crew. In both years, the production was allowed to use the auditorium of a local high-school for free, while other private groups were required to pay a fee to use the same space. We wrote to the mayor and city council explaining that government support of religious performances is unconstitutional and asking that the city stop funding the event and that the school district stop providing special access to its facilities. By early October, various news outlets reported that this year’s performance would be held at a local church and not at the high school. We also received a letter from the city assuring us that no public funds would be budgeted for the performance.