Vol. 20 No. 10 - Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. -
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Casper Moves Ten Commandments Monument to Storage
A tombstone-like monument of the Ten Commandments donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles to the city of Casper, Wyo., was moved to storage in late November, after a complaint by the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The city council voted in October to remove the monument from a public park, after the Foundation contacted the city in September on behalf of Casper residents. However, the council additionally voted to eventually create a "monument plaza" featuring the Ten Commandments with "other" historical documents.
It took a six-man combined crew from the local cemetery and the Casper Public Utilities Department to dig out the base of the two- or three-ton monument. Workers used a crane to lift it, and placed it at the Casper Service Center.
The Foundation, in its letter of complaint, had pointed out that Casper is in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court ruled last year in a Utah case that cities hosting Ten Commandments markers must permit other groups to erect their own monuments on public property.
The opportunistic and notorious Rev. Fred Phelps, of Topeka, Kan., then entered the fray by threatening to sue the city if not permitted to erect a monument "celebrating" the death of slain University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. Phelps' proposal invoked Lev. 18:22 calling homosexuals "abominations."
The city turned down Phelps' request. The Foundation is monitoring future developments.
December 2003 Excerpts