Connellsville group offers Ten Commandments granite monuments
The Thou Shall Not Move organization is looking for local churches interested in displaying granite monuments of the Ten Commandments.
The grassroots organization recently was formed after the Freedom From Religion Foundation and an anonymous parent and student filed a federal lawsuit against the Connellsville Area School District claiming constitutional violations. The lawsuit resulted from a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of Connellsville Junior High School.
The monument was donated to the school district more than 50 years ago by the local Eagles organization.
“We're looking for a place with a lot of traffic,” said the Rev. Ewing Marietta, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church and a member of the organization.
Marietta said that through the sale of Ten Commandment signs, the organization has raised enough money to have five monuments made at a cost of $1,700 each.
The only expense that a church must pay is $144 for the stone company to provide and install a foundation. If a church would make its own foundation, the $144 cost is waived.
Marietta said the community must keep its fight alive.
“We have great liberties,” said Marietta. “We get to choose how we worship.”
Marietta said that although the monument at the junior high displays the Ten Commandments, the significance of having it remain in front of the school is more historical than religious.
“It was a standard to live by,” he said, adding that the government would provide Bibles to schools and have the teachers read passages to the class in the 1950s, but not force them to obey those words. “You have the freedom to not believe. Nobody walking by (the monument) was being forced to read it.”
Marietta said he plans to contact Connellsville Mayor Charles Matthews to see if there's a possibility that the spot can be declared a historic landmark. He also plans to contact Fayette County Commissioners for help. Attorneys working with the local group are looking at several issues.
Marietta passed out Ten Commandment posters as well as a booklet published by the Family Research Council in Washington D.C. regarding the Founding Fathers and religious liberty.
The group is looking for people to volunteer as officers. A treasurer also is sought.
The Ten Commandments signs are still on sale for $10 at businesses, including West Side Jewelry; West Side News; Ghost's Floor Store in Connellsville; Miller's Grocery in Normalville; Colorama Religious Supplies in Uniontown; Brady's in Donegal; and through attorney Karen Kiefer in Scottdale.
The group will meet at 6 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Connellsville Eagles for its third meeting.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.