Kentucky county clerk must remove Ten Commandments painting

TriggCountyThe Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking a Kentucky county clerk to get rid of a Ten Commandments painting prominently on display in her office.

A large painting of the Ten Commandments is conspicuously exhibited at the Trigg County clerk’s office. The painting says, “God spoke these words” and includes a modern and revised list of the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments display breaches the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, FFRF points out.

“In McCreary County v. ACLU, the Supreme Court ruled that a modern display of the Ten Commandments in two Kentucky courthouses violated the U.S. Constitution,” FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott writes to Trigg County Clerk Carmen Finley. “The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a permanent injunction against such displays in 2010, finding that the counties acted with an impermissible religious purpose.”

The Ten Commandments are reportedly not a part of a larger display, and so a reasonable observer would view it as an endorsement of religion by the county, FFRF asserts. By placing this display directly inside its governmental offices, the county is unmistakably sending a message that it gives the display its stamp of approval. The government has no business telling citizens which god they must have, how many gods they must have or that they must have any god at all. Trigg County needs to get rid of the display at once.

“How can nonbelievers feel welcome in the Trigg County clerk’s office when they have such an obviously biblical message staring them in the face?” asks FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

Trigg County has been on FFRF’s radar. A couple of months ago, the organization took on a local county judge executive for his refusal to marry a nonreligious couple. 

And FFRF has had a recent Ten Commandments victory in Kentucky, in which a display was removed from the Rockcastle County courthouse after an objection from the nontheist group. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit dedicated to the separation of state and church, with almost 24,000 members all over the country, including nearly 200 and a chapter in Kentucky.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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