Rutherford Mayor removes Christmas lights display, says it violates federal law

Image 1 of 7

A Christmas light design anchored by a flagpole is at the center of a "war on Christmas" debate raging in Rutherford.

The Schule Landscaping brothers say they had permission from the borough council to string up lights in the shape of a tree in the town center. 

“Before I do anything like that I always do my research and I got in contact with some veterans to make sure it’s ok with them. Also, looked at the guidelines of improper illumination and hanging of the flag and everything was fine,” landscaper Mike Schule said.

But, Mayor Joe DeSalvo has strapped on the uniform of the latest soldier in the war on Christmas and taken the lights down.

His argument is that federal law requires the flag to fly unobstructed and prohibits the American flag from touching anything like water, the ground, and even Christmas lights.

The Schule brothers said they didn't mean any ill will therefore their lights should stay.

Every year the Schule brothers do a Christmas landscape design in the middle of town, which youngsters look forward to all year!

“As far as I’m concerned the lights are not going to go back up onto the pole. I’m going to do whatever I can to respect the flag itself,” Mayor DeSalvo said.

The lights were taken down in the middle of the night.

So for now the lights remain down but the borough council will discuss the matter further at its meeting Monday.