Connellsville church willing to take school's 10 Commandments monument
If members of the Connellsville Church of God have their way, not only will they accept a Ten Commandments monument from a public school, they will display it on the edge of their property and light it up at night for all to see.
The church's 59 trustees voted unanimously Sunday to write a formal letter requesting removal of the marble monument from Connellsville Area School District property when a lawsuit was threatened by a national group that advocates church-state separation.The school board will meet Monday night to vote on the fate of the religious monument, which has been covered by a sheet of plywood.
“With board approval, it will be donated to the church,” Jon Detwiler, president of the Connellsville Area School Board, said after the church's vote Sunday.“I have a few board members, and I don't blame them, they're catching heat on the other side — they want to fight to keep it there,” said Detwiler, who wore a Connellsville logo polo shirt to the meeting. “We're going to lose. It'll be removed from school property and it'll be displayed by these people.”
The monument, donated by the Connellsville Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1957, would be moved less than half a mile from in front of Connellsville Area Junior High School to the corner of the church's lot at Breakneck Avenue and Falcon Drive.“It is our intention to relocate that monument to the corner of our property down here where you enter the school (complex),” Dick Bitner, vice president of the church's trustees said, as members applauded in support.“We are a little bit surprised that this has taken so long to happen given society and the courts the way they are today, but it is something that we feel very strongly about,” he said. “We also feel that it is important to the community to see God's word.”The Rev. Nelson D. Confer of Connellsville Church of God said he is overwhelmed with phone calls from supporters. Some local organizations have committed to purchasing benches, flowers and shrubs to decorate the monument, he said. The church is also reviewing the possibility of installing lights to illuminate the monument at night, he said.
“I am so touched and so moved by this community,” Confer said.
If the school board votes to donate the monument, it would be moved immediately and held in storage until the church obtains the proper permits to install and display it, Confer said. In August, the Connellsville Area School District received two requests to remove the religious monument — one from a Pittsburgh law firm representing the parent of a student and another from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, based in Washington.Gregory M. Lipper, senior litigation counsel, said the group works to promote religious liberty and supports the right of churches to practice freely.He said he was pleased to hear the monument will most likely be removed.
“Whether it was the Ten Commandments or a Jewish Star or a Buddha or any other religious symbol you can think of, it can't be on school grounds,” Lipper said. “They very quickly realized they had no choice but to move it. It's ultimately the parents' job, not the school's job, to choose their children's religion.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Eagle egg breaks, parents abandon nest
- Penguins coach Johnston’s mother dies
- Norwin High School health teacher charged with selling heroin
- Conviction overturned in Italy murder case for Seattle woman
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- Pedestrian struck in Hazelwood Monday dies
- Reliable family car feels upscale
- West Homestead man taken into custody after 8-hour standoff in Hempfield
- Congress should repeal medical device tax
- Leechburg girls softball team dominates Riverview
- Perennial boys volleyball powers to face challenges