The display of a Ten Commandments monument donated 55 years ago outside one of its schools is not an endorsement of religion by the Connellsville Area School District, an attorney argued Monday in court filings.The attorney for the Connellsville School District, John W. Smart, filed a Motion to Dismiss the case and a Brief in Support of the Motion - I am reading them now. I downloaded it from the PACER system available to anyone who registers for an account. There's a small downloading fee involved so I am unsure as to whether I can post the brief. If there are ANY ATTORNEYS out there who can offer up some guidance, please get in contact with me.
“Considering the ‘history and ubiquity’ of this Eagles’ Ten Commandments monument, and assessing how a reasonable person would view it, it is clear that the monument does not convey a message of endorsement of religion. (T)he monument contains both religious and secular symbols, including an all-seeing eye, a bald eagle and the American flag. Even if the religions aspects of the monument’s appearance and history indicate that it has some religious meaning, the district is not bound to display only symbols that are wholly secular, or to convey solely secular messages,” attorney John W. Smart wrote in a court filing requesting a dismissal of the lawsuit filed against the district.
At this initial reading it looks like Smart is trying to establish that the Connellsville monument allowable under the Constitution because on page 28 it reads:
Considering the “history and ubiquity” of this Eagles’ Ten Commandments monument, and assessing how a reasonable person would view it, it is clear that the monument does not convey a message of endorsement of religion..And on page 29 there's this:
The District has displayed the monument outside of the Connellsville Junior High School for at least fifty-five years. The location and presence for so many years, emphasizes the perception by most that the monument has an overall secular purpose. The monument conveys a historical and moral message, not a promotion of religious faith.I am not sure, however, how a monument that begins with the text:
Is anything but an endorsement of religion and a promotion of religious faith.
the Ten Commandments
I AM the LORD thy God.
I Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
II Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.
III Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
As I am preparing to discuss this as part of the Center for Inquiry's monthly lecture series, I'll be returning to this very very soon.
Just so everyone is absolutely sure, I am not an attorney, never attended law school, never sat in on a law school lecture and so on. Any opinions I have about this are those of an average (if balding and plumpish) guy who's reading the legal texts as a non-attorney would.