Ten Commandments removed in Ohio

Last year, a federal judge ordered monuments bearing the Ten Commandments removed from the grounds of four Ohio public schools, prompting peaceful protests and arrests.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit on behalf of a resident of the city of Peebles, who objected to the 800-pound granite tablet located on school property. Last year U.S. Magistrate Timothy Hogan sided with the ACLU, and ordered the monuments removed.

However, in June, when workers arrived to carry out the judge's decree, they were confronted by dozens of protesters who locked arms, wept and knelt in prayer to hinder the removal. Deputies briefly took at least 30 protesters into custody, but later released them without filing charges.

USA Today quoted one protester who said, "We have to make the decision in America if there's going to be local control of what we're going to teach our children."

The Adams County school district is challenging the ruling that the displays violated the separation of church and state.

The issue of the Decalogue and its presence in public places does not yet appear to be settled constitutionally. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a federal appellate court ruling that prohibited the display of a Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds in Frankfort, Kentucky. However, in late June, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a Ten Commandments plaque to remain on a courthouse in suburban Philadelphia, where it has hung for 83 years.

USA Today, 6/27/03; AgapePress, 6/12/03; AP, 6/9/03; Reuters, 4/28/03

Photos by Chad R. Bresson

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