A giant Ten Commandments monument will be relocated in more ideal setting outside Mary Queen of Apostles School in New Kensington, Pennsylvania in the coming weeks. That wouldn’t normally be a story — if anything, the most noteworthy thing about it is that a religious monument is up outside a religious school for once — but the journey it took for the monument to get there is worth retelling.
The monument wasn’t originally meant for the Catholic school. In 1957, the Fraternal Order of Eagles donated it to Valley High School, a local public school. It wasn’t until 2012 that a lawsuit was filed to have that display removed. Marie Schaub and her daughter were two of the plaintiffs, represented by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
It took several years of legal wrangling, but the two sides eventually settled the case in 2017 with atheists getting damn near everything they wanted.
The District promised to remove the monument within 30 days and their insurers had to pay attorneys’ fees of $163,500. (Don’t feel bad. It’s their own damn fault.) Eventually, the District said it would donate the Christian monument to the Diocese of Greensburg, which said it would put the display outside Mary Queen of Apostles School.
The Catholic school tried raising an additional $75,000 to create a proper setting for the monument, which failed miserably, but they eventually raised enough money to build a patio, which is scheduled for completion before August 26.
While the monument has been there for two years, it’ll finally be placed with a more scenic backdrop.
Principal Cathy Collett said the monument was placed on the side of the sign facing traffic heading toward Lower Burrell because it can be seen for a longer time from that direction than the other.
The patio will make it possible “that as people walk by, they’re able to stop and take a look and say a prayer and thank God for all the freedoms that they do have in America,” she said.
Collett said the school will hold a service to mark the end of the project, possibly in early September. She said the ceremony will include prayers and cheers.
They WILL include cheers. It’s the Catholic version of “Please clap.”
At least the gigantic waste of money isn’t affecting a public school this time. It’s sad that anyone thinks looking at this monument will change behaviors for the better, as if kids just might kill people unless they see something etched in stone that says they shouldn’t, but Catholics are welcome to celebrate whatever useless shit they want.
To me, it’s a monument reminding the world of the stupidity of public school administrators who are more interested in promoting Christianity than doing what’s best for students. I suppose it’ll serve the same function at the Catholic school. It’s not like the “$35,000 in monument-related donations” that they received could have been put to better use, right?
Marie Schaub, whose lawsuit instigated this chain of events, told me yesterday that she’s just glad this monument is finally in an appropriate place.
I’m glad this story is still in the headlines because it serves as a reminder to our community that separation of church and state is a real thing and this religious monument is now in its proper place. I don’t care what they do to it, as long as they’re not using tax dollars to fund it.
(Thanks to Brian for the link. This piece has been updated to note that the monument has been up at the school for two years, but the patio surrounding it is new.)