Connellsville community continues to rally to save Ten Commandments monument

| Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 11:13 p.m.

The Connellsville-area community continues to rally in support of keeping the Ten Commandments monument on property at Connellsville Junior High School.

The Values Bus, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council, will roll into Uniontown and Connellsville this weekend as part of the “Your Money, Your Values, Your Vote 2012 Tour.”

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, a Citizens Forum will be held at Liberty Baptist Church,183 Oliver Road in Uniontown.

The forum will feature a question-and-answer session. Genevieve Wood of The Heritage Foundation and Bob Morrison of the Family Research Council will speak, as well as government officials.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, a candlelight vigil will be held at Connellsville Junior High in support of the Ten Commandments monument.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, along with an anonymous parent and student filed a lawsuit in late September against Connellsville Area School District seeking to have the Ten Commandments monument removed from the junior high school and to block its placement at a nearby church. The plaintiffs claimed constitutional violations with the religious marker at the public school and possible further infringement on their rights if the monument is relocated near district property.

Ewing Marietta, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, has been leading community support to keep the monument on school property.

He and local businessman Gary Colatch have organized several prayer meetings and have set up an account to accept funds to fight legal action and to erect a few more Ten Commandments monuments throughout the city. They also have organized the making of Ten Commandments yard signs and T-shirts for sale.

“The Family Research Council already hits on a lot of the subjects that we're dealing with, and when they heard about our situation, they said they wanted to get involved,” Marietta said. “Their stance on the issue is that the Ten Commandments are the basis of all our laws, and they've dealt with some of the same issues before.”

Marietta said he is thrilled with the caliber of speakers involved.

“These are speakers that are booked at major conferences around the country, and they're going to be right in our back yard,” he said. “We have a great opportunity to learn here. These are some of the very same speakers who have helped others in their quest to keep the Ten Commandments in place.”

Morrison, of the Family Research Council, said the group emphasizes respect for protecting human life, preserving marriage and defending religious freedoms.

“In Pennsylvania, your Supreme Court has a wonderful oak-leaf mural hanging where they meet and deliberate that has the Ten Commandments on it,” Morrison said. “Why is it permissible at the Supreme Court but not OK for the local community?”

“We argue that we are under the greatest assault against religious freedoms today than at any time in the 226 year-history of our country,” he said.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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