The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Indiana Judge says ten commandments monument must be moved

Our Conscience

PRINCETON-The Ten Commandments monument must be moved from the Gibson County Courthouse square, according to a federal judge's Jan. 31 order.

In his order to remove the monument, U.S. Southern District Judge Richard Young noted that case precedent in Indiana finds the Ten Commandments "cannot be reasonably stripped of their sacred religious significance by a characterization of them as a moral or ethical code."

Judge Young wrote, "While a large majority of those that pass by the monument in Princeton may find its inscription to be consistent with their intentions and beliefs, plaintiffs and perhaps numerous others do not share that same feeling. Our forefathers strived to craft a Constitution and Bill of Rights which took into account the need for government to be "of all the people," no matter what religious beliefs they hold or choose not to hold."

Young found the display of the monument on the lawn of the seat of local government violates a constitutional guarantee that government will "not appear to promote, discourage or endorse any particular religious beliefs."

Last summer, Indiana joined eight other states seeking a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on how the Ten Commandments can legally be displayed on public property, and court agreed in October to hear the issue.


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