The Battle to Keep Ten Commandments Displays Continues

The ADF fights three cases in separate states this month involving display of the Ten Commandments.
( [email protected] ) Sep 14, 2004 04:44 PM EDT

The battle for the right to display the Ten Commandments continues on pass the borders of Alabama where the issue entered national spotlight.

The Alliance Defense Fund is funding three cases to fend off constitutional challenges to the display of Ten Commandments monuments.

“What happened in the case with Judge Roy Moore in Alabama did not mark the end of the road for such displays,” explained ADF Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull.

The American Center for Law and Justice is litigating the cases from three different states. Hearings for cases in Nebraska and Utah are scheduled on Sept. 15 while a hearing for a case in Wisconsin was held on Sept. 8

In Nebraska, the local American Civil Liberties Union chapter sued the city of Plattsmouth seeking to remove a Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) monument that includes the Ten Commandments from an isolated corner of a large city park. A panel of the 8th Circuit narrowly decided in favor of the ACLU but granted an appeal for the entire court to hear the case.

A religious group in Utah filed a suit against the city of Duchesne for public display of a Ten Commandments monument. However, after the suit was filed, the city sold the monument along with the land on which it sits on to the family that donated the structure around 30 years ago.

In a second case involving one of FOE’s Ten Commandments monuments, a court ordered the organization to turn over the land to the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin although FOE purchased the Ten Commandments monument and the parcel of land on which the monument sits on from the city last year.

The groups challenging the structures say displaying the Ten Commandment monuments amount to a government endorsement of religion, violating the Establishment Clause. Opponents disagree claiming their right to freedom of speech.

“The Ten Commandments are a deeply rooted part of this nation’s history. None of the monuments involved in these cases represent a government endorsement of religion,” said Bull. “It is the ACLU and other groups like them that have a problem with these monuments, not the vast majority of the American people.”

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore first brought the controversy of displaying the Ten Commandments into public two years ago when he refused to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse’s rotunda. He has since been removed from office and is currently appealing to the Supreme Court to reclaim his position.

According to Bull, ADF will continue to fund worthy efforts opposing the removal of all traces of religious expression from the public square.