What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 20, 2013

Decalogue Update: Connellsville

From today's Tribune-Review:
The battle between Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and a plaintiff named Doe 4 in legal papers against the Connellsville Area School District will reach a deadline on April 25.

In the meantime, the Thou Shall Not Move group in Connellsville will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to honor the Fayette County commissioners and to learn of the latest steps in the plan to place Ten Commandments monuments throughout the community.
I would think that the "plan to place Ten Commandments monuments throughout the community" is a good idea - take a look:
Thou Shall Not Move was formed to raise money for the school district to help with the costs of fighting the lawsuit. Since then, the organization has been selling yard signs with the Ten Commandments on them and started a Ten Commandments monument fund to help local churches place granite Ten Commandment monuments on their properties.

According to Marietta, legal paperwork will be presented and reviewed by legal counsel for those who get a monument.
To my Connellsville friends, I have to say that that is the solution: Move the monument onto private or church property.

Because leaving it at the Junior High in Connellsville is still unconstitutional - regardless of the transparent attempt of the Fayette County Commissioners to skirt the Constitution:
The Rev. Ewing Marietta, a leader for Thou Shall Not Move, said the county commissioners — Al Ambrosini, chairman; Vince Zapotosky, vice chairman; and Angela M. Zimmerlink, secretary — will attend the Wednesday meeting at the Connellsville Eagles on Arch Street.

“We will be honoring them,” Marietta said. “They took a stand and named the Ten Commandments monument (at Connellsville Junior High School) an historic landmark. They've done a bang-up job.”
Which is what they did last December:
The proclamation states, in part, that “the commissioners will stand with those to support the historical designation of this as a historical landmark with all rights and privileges extended to said landmark.

“The Ten Commandments are in the highest court in our land thus it acts as the cornerstone and guide for a country based on the rule of law,” the proclamation continued. “Viewed across time, this granite monument, signifying the rock of American Law and Jurisprudence, has had a profound, positive influence on ‘We the People,' is worthy of preservation for the future generations of this One Nation Under God.””
The only problem with linking the Connellsville public school's monument with what's on the wall of the Supreme Court is this from Steven Breyer.  In his concurring opinion in Van Orden V Perry he contrasted the placement of the Decalogue at barely permissible setting (in Texas, on the Capitol grounds) and he wrote:
This case, moreover, is distinguishable from instances where the Court has found Ten Commandments displays impermissible. The display is not on the grounds of a public school, where, given the impressionability of the young, government must exercise particular care in separating church and state. [Emphasis added.]
I'm not sure the County Commissioners for Fayette County have the authority to redefine what's impermissible.

Move the Ten Commandments monument off of public school grounds.


Tim Dreyer said...

Another solution: Post a large lettered plaque on or in front of the monument for the school children (and maybe more importantly the adults in the community)to read that says this: "This monument is a historical representation of a time when government and religion were essentially believed to be one and the same. The United States of America was founded with 'freedom of religion' and 'separation of church and state' as central tenets of our country's laws, the including the U.S Constitution. This means that we cannot connect, promote or force any particular religious views from any government source as that would go against the law of freedom of religion for anyone who believes in a different religion, or no religion at all,than the one represented on a monument. Freedom of religion is often misunderstood as freedom to promote your own religion, which although legal, has limits, especially when this promotion infringes upon another person or groups religious beliefs or views". Then see how many churches fight to put or keep religious monuments on public grounds.

Ol' Froth said...

The other option is to have a mosque donate and insist that the school district erect a stone tablet with Koranic verses on it right next to the 10 commandments, and watch both dissappear.