three plastic animals rule
 n.— «In the past, the Supreme Court has subscribed to what lawyers call a “three plastic animals” rule for religious displays: If a crèche in a town square, for example, is surrounded by a wishing well and a laughing clown, it’s constitutional. The logic is that reasonable observers perceive unadorned religious displays to be endorsements of religion, while the addition of kitschy accoutrements turns the display into a celebration of Americana.» —“Big Ten” by Jeffrey Rosen The New Republic Mar. 4, 2005. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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