Florida city council will not support Ten Commandments proposal

The mayor of Cape Coral [Fla.] proposed to display the Ten Commandments inside a government building as a “reminder” for citizens to “straighten up.” Freedom From Religion Foundation Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott, on behalf of area residents and taxpayers, wrote a Nov. 12 letter to the mayor and City Council expressing constitutional concerns about the proposed display and related inappropriate remarks by the mayor. Mayor John Sullivan told the Fort Myers News-Press: “I don’t want to do this in a haphazard way or open up a can of worms, but I think it is a good idea. I don’t see this as separation of church and state. Our laws were built on the Ten Commandments. It’s getting back to our core values.”

“It is a violation of the Establishment Clause for the City of Cape Coral to post the Ten Commandments in the City Hall or any other government buildings,” wrote Elliott in the letter to the city. “Mayor Sullivan supports the display based on an impermissible non-secular purpose. Placing the Ten Commandments on public property for the purpose of teaching the community ‘good morals,’ will not withstand court scrutiny.” On Nov. 16, the Lehigh Acres Citizen reported that Cape Coral City Council members spoke out against displaying the Ten Commandments on government property. — Bonnie Gutsch

Freedom From Religion Foundation