A few months ago I wrote about the Ten Commandments monument at the High School in New Kensington, PA. By the way, that monument has yet to be been taken down - even though it still violates the Constitution.
New Kensington should do the right thing, respect the religious freedom of all its citizens by not taking any sides - New Kensington needs to remove the monument because it's unconstitutional.
Just like the one in Connellsville:
Some people in the small Fayette County town of Connellsville misjudged a 55-year-old monument at the junior high -- if they saw it at all.Well, it does - even if no one's noticed it in years.
Several thought the 5-foot-tall slab, located outdoors near the auditorium, was a war memorial. Others, including a former teacher at the school, didn't know it was there.
But somebody noticed, enough to contact a Pittsburgh law firm last month and demand the school district remove the Ten Commandments.
They said it violates the constitutional requirement of a separation between church and state.
I am not sure if she knows this, but Molly Born, the staff writer who wrote that in the P-G, stumbled over an interesting piece of history:
Now the marble monument, which district superintendent Dan Lujetic likened to the stone tablets in the 1956 Charlton Heston movie of the same name, is covered by plywood and will have a new home off school property in the next few weeks. [emphasis added.]Does anyone know what Born's stumbled over?
How about the fact that the now-unconstitutional monuments were, in fact, a publicity stunt for that very same Charlton Heston movie? From Moment Magazine:
To promote the film, DeMille—who served on the board of the anti-Communist National Committee for a Free Europe—teamed up with a Minnesota judge named E.J. Ruegemer, a member of a Christian service organization called the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE). Starting in 1951, Ruegemer had spearheaded a movement to distribute copies of the Ten Commandments for public placement in courtrooms and schools, believing that “if mankind would heed those Ten, it would be a better world in which to live.” At least 10,000 prints had already been distributed when DeMille joined the cause, helping dozens of local FOE groups raise money to erect statues of the Ten Commandments. Ruegemer, DeMille, Heston and Brynner attended dedications for many of the 150 granite Ten Commandment monoliths that were constructed in 34 states and Canada. It was great publicity for the film, which grossed around $80 million and remains the fifth-highest grossing film of all time in inflation-adjusted terms. [emphasis added.]This is confirmed by T. Jeffry Gunn in his book, Spiritual Weapons. In fact, to help pay for the monuments, Gunn writes, Paramount Pictures took some of the proceeds from the tickets to the movie sold by FOE members and funneled it back to them.
Here's what the United States Supreme Court wrote in 1980:
Held:The Constitution needs to be defended - this monument (as well as the one in New Kensington and wherever else they stand on public school property) rightly needs to be removed.
A Kentucky statute requiring the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments, purchased with private contributions, on the wall of each public school classroom in the State has no secular legislative purpose, and therefore is unconstitutional as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. While the state legislature required the notation in small print at the bottom of each display that "[t]he secular application of the Ten Commandments is clearly seen in its adoption as the fundamental legal code of Western Civilization and the Common Law of the United States," such an "avowed" secular purpose is not sufficient to avoid conflict with the First Amendment. The pre-eminent purpose of posting the Ten Commandments, which do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, is plainly religious in nature, and the posting serves no constitutional educational function. Cf. Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 . That the posted copies are financed by voluntary private contributions is immaterial, for the mere posting under the auspices of the legislature provides the official support of the state government that the Establishment Clause prohibits. Nor is it significant that the Ten Commandments are merely posted rather than read aloud, for it is no defense to urge that the religious practices may be relatively minor encroachments on the First Amendment. [Emphases added.]