A display of the Ten Commandments recently went up in the Georgia Capitol. We need your help to take it down.
The Decalogue is part of a larger display titled “Foundations of American Law and Government” which includes various historical documents. Needless to say, the Ten Commandments are not “historical.” Georgia’s legislature in July 2012 passed a trouble-making law providing for this display in Georgia’s public buildings.
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote to Capitol Museum Director Timothy Frilingos on Sept. 13, informing him of the exclusionary nature and proselytizing message of the display and the many historical inaccuracies contained within it. Frilingos responded that same day to say that he was “compelled” to authorize the display by the legislation. Gaylor responded on Oct. 8, pointing out that the legislation merely “authorized” the display, and it remained an unwise decision. FFRF also wrote Governor Nathan Deal.
While the law states that the purpose of the display is “to educate and inform the public about the history and background of American law,” the facts say otherwise. The displays are donated by private groups or individuals, many by Christian churches. The Capitol’s display, donated by an individual, is the popular version sold by Ten Commandments – Georgia, Inc., a group which lists its mission as “To educate Georgians by distributing a copy of the Ten Commandments to every home in the state [and] encouraging the public display of historical documents that inform citizens of our country's biblical heritage.” It lists one of its purposes as “Displaying the Ten Commandments in our homes, churches, businesses and public buildings.”
Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), who sponsored the bill in Georgia’s legislature, sits on the group’s Trustee Board. The group’s Honorary Board includes Dan Cathy of Chik-Fil-A and Judge Roy Moore, who was removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments display from the Alabama Judicial Building, as well as several other right-wing extremists.
The display’s explanation for the inclusion of the Ten Commandments is wildly inaccurate. It claims that the Ten Commandments “profoundly influenced” the Western legal tradition and the Declaration of Independence, neither of which is true. The display as a whole contains other inaccurate claims; for example, the display also includes the current national motto, “In God We Trust,” which can hardly be said to be a foundation of American law or government, since it was adopted in 1956.
Please take a moment to urge Georgia officials to remove the Ten Commandments from the walls of its State Capitol.
Director, Capitol Museum
206 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Governor Nathan Deal
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Fax: (404) 657-7332
Tel: (404) 656-1776
If you’d like more ammunition, read FFRF’s nontract, “What’s Wrong with the Ten Commandments.” Click here. One sentence is sufficient, your own words are best. But you may wish to copy this paragraph in your correspondence. (If you live in Georgia, personalize your statement and be sure to identify yourself as a Georgia citizen, including your mailing address):
Please remove the Ten Commandments from the State Capitol. It is divisive and historically inaccurate. The Ten Commandments are a religious document, and have no relation to the “Foundations of American Law and Government.” The display unconstitutionally endorses religion and excludes the nearly 1 million Georgians who are non-Christians. They should not be made to feel like outsiders in their Capitol building, the pinnacle of Georgia state government, and the state government should not lend credence to the misinformation and obvious religious agenda of the Ten Commandments display.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Ten Commandments may raise ire at Capitol