A Ten Commandments Monument in Marion, IL?

Ken Kessler wants to put a Ten Commandments statue in the town square in Marion, IL.

“These aren’t just Christian laws,” he said. “Moses brought these down from the mountain. They aren’t something we came up with.”

He knows not everyone in the community will agree with his idea.

“If our church underwrote it then we’d probably put it on our own property. But, if it comes together by donations from throughout the community we’d like to put it on the square, if the council approves,” said Kessler.

“It would serve as a reminder to hundreds of people day by day. So I think it would be a good thing,” Kessler said.

A reminder of what, exactly?

That we shouldn’t worship false idols?

That we should keep the sabbath day holy?

That we shouldn’t take god’s name in vain?

Does Kessler even know what the Ten Commandments are?

At least for now, this is just one guy with a bad idea.

He’ll make a formal proposal to the Marion City Council soon, and if all goes well, they’ll quickly reject the idea, right?

Maybe not.

“I’m not interested in new litigation,” [Mayor Robert] Butler said. But, he said, in complicated and difficult times, “I think an endorsement of a religious belief is in order.”

In other words, when times get rough, government officials must promote Christianity.

(As opposed to the good times, when they’re all for following the law?)

Somewhere, there’s a lawyer just sitting and waiting for the city council to approve this statue… and I’m on that lawyer’s side.

  • Richard Wade

    But, he said, in complicated and difficult times, “I think an endorsement of a religious belief is in order.”

    In other words, in complicated and difficult times, we can get away with wiping our asses with the Constitution.

    See: “Patriot Act.”

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    …and I’m on that lawyer’s side.

    As are all of us, I’m sure. It’s shit like this that prompted me some time ago to support my local ACLU.

    They called me the other day to ask if I would consider donating $10/month to support them, and I happily and readily agreed.

    Stuff like this seems to be happening on a daily basis now, and it needs to stop. As Seth Rogen’s character in Pineapple Express said, “This ends now!!!”

  • littlejohn

    I realize I’m repeating myself, but how can christians not recognize that posting the Ten Commandments, by definition, violates the commandment regarding engraved images?
    Pointing this out strikes me as the simplest and most difficult to rebut, argument against these displays.

  • anthrosciguy

    Of course they need to be posted, since these guys can’t remember them without a cheat sheet handy. They should be posted everywhere, the way Billy Wilder pasted Marilyn Monroe’s lines inside drawers and such in Some Like It Hot. How else do you expect them to remember them, write on their hands? That would make them look like idiots.

  • Superstitious Sitizen

    How dare you question this! It’ like the man said, we didn’t just make these up ourselves. The magic man who lives in the sky gave these laws to the (totally real, and not at all embellished) historical figure Moses. There should be a 50 foot monument of the 10 commandments in every town square of every town in this Christian Nation. Just like our incredibly pious and devout founding fathers intended.

  • Canadiannalberta

    In times of hardship we need to look to each other for support, not promote religion, which only separates us. If people band together they survive easier than if they decide to play the ‘us VS them’ game.

    Also, putting up the Ten Commandments are not only against the human law, but against the ‘godly’ one as well. (no graven images).

    All around, I think these guys are stupid.

  • Stephen

    Somewhere, there’s a lawyer just sitting and waiting for the city council to approve this statue… and I’m on that lawyer’s side.

    If it goes that far and I see a lawyer standing up against this, I will pay him 5000 dollars with a promise of another 5000 if he wins. I’m sick of religion being allowed to crap all over our country while the government sits back and watches.

  • Stephen P

    Sure. And if Ken Kessler or any of his supporters works on a Friday evening or a Saturday, then lets have them put to death, just as Moses told us to. I mean: it’s what they would want, isn’t it?

  • Trace

    ““It would serve as a reminder to hundreds of people day by day”

    Well, after all Marion is the other “Hub of the Universe”

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    When similar things have come about in other jurisdictions, the “compromise” has been to allow symbols of other faiths as well. When the hullabaloo was made about the X-mas tree in the state building (can’t remember which state), rather than simply remove the tree, they allowed other religions equal space, and atheists got to put up a sign as well (and Bill O’Reilly had a cow). In that instance, the state building’s lobby turned into a veritable museum of religious symbols—which is a messy and stupid “solution.”

    Better to just obey the law and not have the government endorse any religious messages. It’s about consciousness raising, making the masses understand why that makes sense. I.e., you don’t put the Ten Commandments outside your courthouse because it just might send the wrong message to litigants, namely that the court prefers one religion over another (or prefers religion in general). It’s the same reason courthouses—or any public building for that matter—don’t sell advertising space on the side of the edifice. If the courthouse had “Snickers” or “GoDaddy.com” emblazoned on the wall, a reasonable person might presume that those companies, if they came in as litigants, would get favorable treatment. Religion is exactly the same thing; such symbols amount to advertising, which amounts to bias. What’s amazing is the number of religious people who think such bias is a-okay, our being a “Christian nation” and all.

  • Scott Hanley

    But, he said, in complicated and difficult times, “I think an endorsement of a religious belief is in order.”

    Ooh, be careful! Barack Obama got a lot of flak for saying that’s why people cling to their religion!

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    “These aren’t just Christian laws,” he said. “Moses brought these down from the mountain. They aren’t something we came up with.”

    Oh no, because people could never come up with something like that, right?

    /sarcasm

  • Spurs Fan

    A quick question for everyone: There is a common refrain that the 1st Amendment would not apply here because the Establishment clause only applies to “Congress” and not state and local governments. I’ve heard some of my Christian friends state that since this is the case, that a local city council should be able to do something like this and thus, favor a particular faith.

    My only comeback is that the “Incorporation Doctrine” which uses the 14th amendment to incorporate the first 10 amendments to apply to state and local governments would, in fact, allow the establishment clause to apply to an governmental entity. I’m no constitutional scholar, but feel that this has a ton of court precedent to back it up. Is there a better response or is this what most of you would say as well?

  • Bob

    Sigh. More magic sparkle fairy nonsense. This so-called white Christian Nation has two wars on the books, one of which was started under false pretenses, against a dictator whose oil fields we wanted.

    So much for not bearing false witness, not coveting thy neighbor’s goods, and thou shalt not kill.

    It’s not the godless running the country into the ditch, it’s the crowd singing Hallelujah and shouting Amen.

  • http://www.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    A reminder of what, exactly?

    A reminder that some people feel the need to shove their religious beliefs on everybody, by any means possible.

  • Matto the Hun

    hoverfrog said:
    Oh no, because people could never come up with something like that, right?

    of course, that’s why every culture that is not predominately Christian (China, Japan, India, many European countries, etc.) their societies have been whipped out because the didn’t know about the not killing thing.

    Seriously go to these places yourself, totally deserted, no people, just cats and dogs running things.

    It amazes me how these particular Christians can be so thoughtless and arrogant and not make the simplest leap to understand this.

  • Citizen Z

    My only comeback is that the “Incorporation Doctrine” which uses the 14th amendment to incorporate the first 10 amendments to apply to state and local governments would, in fact, allow the establishment clause to apply to an governmental entity. I’m no constitutional scholar, but feel that this has a ton of court precedent to back it up. Is there a better response or is this what most of you would say as well?

    It’s not a comeback, that’s an accurate description of the law.

    You could also point out that if they take that argument, then none of the rights in the Constitution apply past the federal level. So if that were true, the great state of Texas could ban the practice of the Hindu religion, or commie liberal New York City could ban Christianity, or the local city council could ban newspapers, movies, and forcefully take away your guns. Search warrant? Not in Toledo!

  • Matto the Hun

    Bob says:
    It’s not the godless running the country into the ditch, it’s the crowd singing Hallelujah and shouting Amen.

    Amen brother.

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    When all Christians actually follow their 10 commandments they can put up a monument – until then, shut up.

    When all Christians actually follow all the rules in the Bible they can read it in class in school – until then, shut up.

  • Gwenny

    “Moses brought these down from the mountain. They aren’t something we came up with.”

    Um, if by “we” you mean humans, this is false. Even a cursory comparison of the “Ten Commandments” and the Code of Hammurabi, a human, reveals that the writer of that portion of the Old Testament was influenced by Assyrian law during the Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BCE. Silly man. Is he saying the US should be governed with the same laws that inspired Islam?

  • Amelia

    Every time someone tells me that the only laws we need are the 10 Commandments, I remind them that the 1st Commandment contradicts the 1st Amendment, and that there’s nothing against rape or child abuse, for starters, and that only two are law (murder, theft). All legal under the 10 Commandments. You could even be seen as not honoring your mother and father for speaking out against their abuse. Oh, yeah, these are just great.

    Not to mention, seriously? Endorsement of religion by the state? Isn’t that pretty clearly not allowed in that Constitution we like so much?

  • Spurs Fan

    Good points Citizen Z. As a Texan, this is comforting stuff. :)

  • Dan W

    I’m on the lawyer’s side too if these fundies succeed in getting the ten commandments put up there. These idiots need to learn that we don’t want their bullshit pushed on everybody, and certainly not in the government where it doesn’t belong. And besides, the ten commandments aren’t all that great anyway. I think George Carlin says it best on the ten commandments:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzEs2nj7iZM

  • sarah

    Sigh. More magic sparkle fairy nonsense. This so-called white Christian Nation has two wars on the books, one of which was started under false pretenses, against a dictator whose oil fields we wanted.

    So much for not bearing false witness, not coveting thy neighbor’s goods, and thou shalt not kill.

    It’s not the godless running the country into the ditch, it’s the crowd singing Hallelujah and shouting Amen.

    Brilliant post. Completely true.

  • charles

    In 1982 Marion was hit by a severe tornado outbreak with devastating results. If it is true that Yahweh is a storm god, perhaps some townspeople believe that posting the 10 commandments will ensure that such a storm does not occur again.

  • colin

    “It would serve as a reminder to hundreds of people day by day”

    without that reminder, I’m sure that there would be hundreds of murders day by day.

  • southern il local

    here’s an update if anyone will even read this comment a month after the original post. rob sherman, an atheist activist from the chicago area, has been to a marion city council meeting. he was treated disgracefully, one of the council members said “I’ve never knowingly listened to or face a atheist, I want you to know you make me sick to my stomach,” and the mayor proclaimed that “We do not appreciate you traveling 300 miles to come down here to tell us how we should live. How we should believe and how we should respect the gospel truth,”
    i hate to tell them, but there are atheists a lot closer than 300 miles away, i live quite close to marion, although in a different city, and i am an atheist. i know quite a few others, and i know that we are sick of being treated like criminals because we don’t believe in their fairy tales. i hope this resolves itself without a conflict, but i really don’t see the bible thumpers backing down without a lengthy and expensive court battle.
    here’s where to get the story on the local tv station’s website: http://www.kfvs12.com/Global/story.asp?S=12989865
    the local paper’s headline was even better:
    “Marion stands up to atheist”. i almost lost my breakfast when i saw it at the store this morning.


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