ICC Note: Following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, city officials in Steubenville, Ohio removed a plaque depicting the Ten Commandments from a public park. The group suggested that the plaque violated the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause by serving as a government endorsement of religion. Following the complaint, the city manager announced that the plaque would be relocated elsewhere.
08/21/2018 United States (Christian News Network) – Officials in a city in Ohio have removed a Ten Commandments plaque from a public park following receipt of a complaint from one of the nation’s most conspicuous Church-State separation groups.
According to reports, the Ten Commandments display in Steubenville’s Murphy Park had been placed after the Baptist church across the street adopted a section of the park. One local resident recently contacted the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to complain.
In turn, the atheist-led organization wrote to the city manager of Steubenville to contend that the plaque, affixed to a small cement slab, is unconstitutional.
“This Ten Commandments display violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” the letter read. “… Given the content of the display and the fact that the Ten Commandments originally appeared as a lone display, a reasonable observer would view it as an endorsement of religion by the City.”
“By placing this display in a public park, the City of Steubenville is unmistakably sending the message that it gives the display its stamp of approval,” FFRF asserted.
It added that that even as a matter of policy, the Ten Commandments shouldn’t be displayed on government property as it prohibits the worship of other gods.
“The government has no business telling citizens which God they must have, or that they must have any God at all,” the letter claimed.
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