Freethought Today · November 2012

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

School Commandments spur fanatics

Two Pennsylvania communities with Ten Commandments monuments in front of their public schools have seen rallies, signs and fundraisers to support keeping the illegal displays in place since FFRF filed suit in September.

The New Kensington-Arnold School District and the Connellsville Area School District are defendants in two lawsuits that FFRF brought on behalf of nonreligious families seeking the removal of the monuments. Local newspapers have regularly reported on community events initiated by clergy to support the monuments. 

Rev. Ewing Marietta started a group called “Thou Shalt Not Move” in support of the Connellsville Junior High School monument. Marietta said the group has sold over 2,000 Commandments yard signs. He told the Daily Courier that proceeds will go toward purchasing more monuments to be placed at churches.

In October, Marietta participated in a rally and candlelight vigil at the school. The event was part of a “Values Bus” visit by the Family Research Council, a national Christian organization headed by Tony Perkins.

Before the event, vandals removed a wooden covering that the school district had placed over the Commandments in September. Dave Tantlinger, who helped remove the covering, said, “It’s the right of the people to have God in their society.” 

Neither school district has expressed a desire to settle the lawsuits by moving the monuments. Both suits will proceed before judges in Pittsburgh in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

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