Back in August, I posted about a Ten Commandments monument in the city of Fargo, North Dakota.
It was donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1958 and was the only religious monument of its kind on city property. Long story short, it remained there even after two separate legal challenges.
The most recent one involved the Red River Freethinkers offering to pay for their own secular monument to be erected nearby the Ten Commandments one. But rather than allow that to happen, the city council voted on a new policy stating that no one else could put up a monument on the property. If that sounds illegal, that’s because it totally is. In August, however, an Appeals Court ruled 2-1 in favor of the city.
The freethinkers group said they would ask the full appeals court to rehear their case if they could raise enough money. (Meanwhile, city officials had spent more than $120,000 of taxpayer money on legal fees between these two lawsuits.)
Turns out they got the money they needed to request an en banc review… but unfortunately, this week, the full Appeals Court denied the request to rehear the case. That leaves the U.S. Supreme Court as the final option for the atheists.
Freethinkers President Charles Sawicki said he believes it is unlikely his group will appeal to the Supreme Court because the process is expensive, and the group has already hit the maximum amount it is willing to spend.
The group has not yet met to discuss the matter. If a donor comes forward willing to pay legal fees, a Supreme Court appeal is more likely, Sawicki said.
Keep in mind that the Supreme Court is unlikely to hear the case even if the money is raised… so it looks like the battle is over.
All this, because city officials want to promote Christianity above everything else. I don’t see how this monument is anything but government endorsement of religion. Only in the U.S. are Commandments saying not to take the Lord’s name in vain and to keep the Sabbath day holy considered secular. There’s just no reason the monument belongs on city property instead of a church.
(Thanks to Chengis for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)