Grass-roots bid to save Ten Commandments monument gains steam
By Cindy Ekas
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012, 12:45 a.m.
Updated: Friday, March 29, 2013
The Rev. Ewing Marietta distributed gold-embossed Ten Commandments documents and book covers on Wednesday night at the Connellsville Eagles where members of Thou Shall Not Move, a newly named group fighting to keep a Ten Commandments monument at Connellsville Junior High School, gathered just before they spread their message to the public as they marched alongside a float in the city's Halloween parade.
“I wanted to make sure that you received the documents and book covers that were donated to us by the Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C.,” Ewing said. “I want you to take as many as you think you will need to keep our cause going and get the word out to the public and in our local schools. We're going to be distributing about 5,500 Ten Commandments book covers during the parade.”
Marietta, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in North Union Township, and about 10 members of the organization announced that a second organizational meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Connellsville Eagles, the organization that donated the Ten Commandment monument to the Connellsville School District back in 1957.
The group began meeting after the Freedom From Religion Foundation and an anonymous parent and student filed a federal lawsuit claiming constitutional violations arising from the religious marker that has been located at the junior high school for more than 50 years.
Marietta said the group has been selling Ten Commandment signs that residents and local businesses have been placing on their properties.
As of Wednesday, Marietta estimated that about 2,100 yard signs have been sold.
“We already have almost $7,000 in a bank account earmarked for saving the monument,” Marietta said. “We sold 2,100 signs at $3 each for about $6,300, and we received another $600 in donations.”
A second bank account designated for legal fees to pay attorneys to help the group keep the Ten Commandments monument at the junior high school has an estimated $3,200, said Gary Colatch, one of the original group members.
Marietta said some of the proceeds from the sale of the signs will go toward the purchase of larger, permanent granite Ten Commandments monuments that will be erected outside local churches.
The organization is also reaching out to the New Kensington community, Marietta said. Another lawsuit has been filed against the New Kensington-Arnold School District, which has a Ten Commandments monument outside a high school.
The group also created an open Facebook page titled, “Save Connellsville's 10 Commandments,” which had about 1,300 members several days after it began.
Through Facebook, Marietta said, he has been in touch with people in Texas and Tennessee who wanted to share similar stories from their towns and get involved in Connellsville's fight.
“I think it would be great if the little town of Connellsville could stop this organization (Freedom From Religion Foundation) and win,” Colatch said. “This little town could teach them a lesson.”
Colatch said he believes the Ten Commandments monument legal battle has been positive for the Connellsville community.
“It was actually a wonderful thing,” he said. “My children attend a Catholic school, but they didn't know a lot about the Ten Commandments until this fight began. The monument sat in relative obscurity until now. Most of the people in Connellsville didn't even realize it was there. But now everyone knows about the monument. This legal fight brought the Ten Commandments out in the light.”
Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.
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Interesting that only two quoted was Minister (from out of town) and parent who sends his kids a Catholic school. There couldn't be clearer evidence of the desire of people to push their religion in a public school. Thank goodness that the Constitution is clear. Religious banners (including the 10 Commandments) have no place in a public school, which are designed serve people from any background, religious or not.
Submitted by: Bruce on Thursday, November 1, 2012
Interesting that a parent with a child in a private religious school should admit that her children don't know much about the 10 commandments, yet be concerned about a 10 commandments monument on public grounds rather than private or church grounds. Now, the 10 commandments bookcovers being passed around, do they read "Thou shalt not kill?" Or, do they read, "Thou shalt not murder?" If the latter, then they are not the 10 commandments I grew up with. That text has been altered in my lifetime, not by God, but by modern interpreters. Seems killing of children and adults in war or in "just causes" is moral, but "murder" is not. And, the Old Testament certainly condones killing at God's command. That killing includes abortion/killing children in the womb, and smashing infants against rocks. See Hosea 13:16 and numerous other verses. Oh, Hosea is in Protestant bibles, not the Catholic version. Remember, or know, there are many versions and translations of "God's word." The commandment about having no other gods before me, does that admit the existence of other gods? How are these ten commandments different from preexisting codes of conduct in Hammurabi's code or the Egyptian Negative Confession. Did they not come from God? Or, didn't all these laws of moral conduct simply come from humans? This ten commandent incident should provide an opportunity for a lot of learning in school and out about world religions and mythologies, as well as about the implications of the 10 commandments. What does it mean in the commandment for a wife to be property? Is a husband the wife's property? Why and how do we honor the Sabbath? Because God rested on the Sabbath? Why would an all-powerful God need a day of rest? Or, is it just that we, humans, need one day to rest and have family time?