Freedom From Religion Foundation Seeks Protective Order in Federal Lawsuit to Remove Ten Commandment

Case in La Crosse, Wisconsin

(MADISON, WI) The Freedom From Religion Foundation, with Jane and John Doe plaintiffs, filed a federal lawsuit today seeking to remove a Ten Commandments marker from the city’s Cameron Park.

Complaints by the national watchdog group, based in Madison, Wis., have resulted in removal of similar Ten Commandments monuments from Milwaukee’s city hall this spring, and from a public park in Monroe, Wis. this summer.

The Foundation sought court redress when the city council of La Crosse refused to move the list of biblical edicts to private property. The Fraternal Order of Eagles donated the tombstone-like marker, which is 64 inches tall and 33 inches wide, to the city in 1964. The Eagles, in league with “Ten Commandments” director Cecil B. DeMille, adopted a national policy to place biblical markers on public property around the nation.

Comments Foundation President Anne Gaylor: “The First Commandment alone, ‘I AM the LORD thy God, Thou shalt have no other gods before me,’ makes it clear why the Ten Commandments should not be posted or endorsed by our government. The city of La Crosse has no business telling its citizens which gods to have, how many gods to have, or that they must have any gods at all!”

The complaint states: “In addition to constituting a government preference for religion over non-religion, the monument constitutes a government preference for certain religions, Judaism and Christianity, over other religions.”

The motion to keep the identity of the plaintiffs anonymous cites the hostile environment in La Crosse, where more than 4,000 people signed a petition asking the city to fight to keep the religious monument, and examples of harassing correspondence to the Foundation over the controversy.

The case, Jane Doe, John Doe, and Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. City of La Crosse, Case No. 02-CO-376C, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, and drew Federal Judge Barbara Crabb.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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