Just a day after the Ten Commandments monument outside the Oklahoma State Capitol building was taken down because it’s illegal government promotion of religion, the Johnston County Commissioners (in the same state) put up a similar monument outside the local courthouse:
The monument was approved by county commissioners in July. The $1,800 project was funded through private donations. “Not a dime was spent from the city or the county to put this monument up,” said MADD Ministries Pastor Ivan Richeson.
“We’ve remained silent for [too] long,” said Richeson. “Our religious liberties have been attacked nationwide and we can’t do a lot about that, but in our own community, the value system these people have, we can speak out.”
This, too, was illegal. Remember: The Supreme Court has already ruled against Ten Commandments monuments outside courthouses when it’s the only such monument in the area or it clearly has the goal of promoting Christianity. Who pays for it is irrelevant.
I guess the commissioners finally realized this. Yesterday, they agreed to move the monument to private property, avoiding potential lawsuits:
Johnston County Commissioner Roy Wayne Blevins said a Tishomingo business owner came Monday to the commissioner’s meeting, offering to put the monument on his privately owned property on Main Street.
“We’re not blessed with a lot of money in Johnston County,” Blevins said. “So to avoid (spending) tax payer’s money, we’ve decided we’re not going to go any further.”
County commissioners voted unanimously to allow the monument to be relocated from the Johnston County Courthouse lawn.
How’s that for an excuse? Blevins didn’t say, “We’re moving the monument because we did something that was unconstitutional.” He implied that it’s being moved only because those nasty atheists were going to sue them — and win.
We were and we would have, but the fault here is entirely on the commissioners for thinking this was okay in the first place.
(Screenshot via KXII-TV. Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)