When the Freedom From Religion Foundation heard that a display including the Ten Commandments was going up in Macy McClaugherty Elementary/Middle School in Giles County, Virginia, they sent the district Superintendent Terry E. Arbogast a letter explaining why this was illegal (PDF).
The Ten Commandments are in a frame along with the U.S. Constitution… The bottom of the posting says:
Exodus 20: 2-17
The Holy Bible
King James Version
And, you know, there’s all that Constitution and Establishment Clause stuff, too.
The Superintendent responded with a short message (PDF) that shocked me:
As information, this part of the display will be removed and replaced with another historical document prior to us returning from our Christmas break.
Wow… that makes complete sense. He did the right thing. Good for the Superintendent!
Too bad the school board thought otherwise.
They voted 5-0 yesterday to reverse his decision:
More than 200 county residents packed the school board meeting room and adjacent hallway Thursday afternoon, and a half-dozen parents and pastors told the board to honor God and continue to teach children that the United States is “one nation, under God” with the commandments.
“You have a moral obligation to what is right,” Elwood Lambert of Narrows said to the board. “Do not let our future children be deprived of this right — a God-given right.”
The crowd clapped and cheered, and many answered “Amen.”
Eric Gentry, chairman of the Giles County Board of Supervisors, said he and other local officials supported the community’s wishes “because it’s the right thing to do.”
The Rev. Dan Kelly of New Valley Fellowship in Narrows told the board that his church would pay for the reframing.
“I want a judge to tell you to take them down,” he said.
It might come to that.
Isn’t it telling that the supporters of the Ten Commandments display are all Christians? You shouldn’t have to be an atheist to see the problem with it. It’s sad that all these kids’ education is controlled by a group of school board members who care more about promoting their faith than doing what’s right.
Bring on the lawsuit. I’m sure the community members will be thrilled when the district loses money that should be spent on the students on a Ten Commandments display that has serves no purpose.
(Thanks to Tom for the link!)