The Freedom From Religion Foundation has successfully gotten an unconstitutional Ten Commandments display inside a Kentucky county courthouse taken down.
A concerned resident contacted the state/church watchdog to complain after encountering the Ten Commandments on display inside the Spencer County Courthouse during a visit there. FFRF requested that the county cease displaying the bible edicts, since such a display in the county courthouse was not only an unconstitutional show of government favoritism toward religion, but needlessly alienated and excluded county residents who do not share the religious beliefs of the Ten Commandments.
“A Ten Commandments display in a county courthouse violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Spencer County Judge-Executive Scott Travis. “In McCreary County v. ACLU (2005), the Supreme Court ruled that displays of the Ten Commandments in two Kentucky courthouses violated the Constitution.”
FFRF emphasized, as a matter of policy, that authorities should not permit the Ten Commandments to be put on view in the county courthouse. The First Commandment alone makes it obvious why the government should not post it on public property, since the government has no business telling citizens coming to the courthouse for personal and official matters which god they must have, how many gods they must have — or that they must have any god at all.
FFRF asked that the religious display be removed from the Spencer County Courthouse out of respect for the Constitution and the rights of conscience of the county’s residents.
FFRF’s reasoning prevailed.
“This email is intended to notify you that the display referenced in the letter has been taken down,” the county attorney recently replied.
“We’re appreciative that county officials realized how inappropriate it is to have an overtly sectarian religious exhibit inside a secular judicial building,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The Spencer County Courthouse will now be much more welcoming for people of all beliefs — and no religious belief.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including hundreds of members and a chapter in Kentucky. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.