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Grassroots group's goal — keep fight for Ten Commandment Monument alive

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Thou Shalt Not Move, a grassroots group, urged the Connellsville area to continue to support efforts to keep the Ten Commandments Monument at the Connellsville Junior High School.

A rally was held Wednesday night at the Connellsville Eagles urging the community to keep the fight in the headlines.

The grassroots organization 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 organization is seeking that a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of Connellsville Junior High School be moved.

The monument was donated to the school district more than 50 years ago by the local Eagles organization.

Pastor Ewing Marietta, one of the group organizers along with local resident, Gary Colatch, told those in attendance on Wednesday that “if we remain silent and don't speak up, we're complicit to what's about to happen.”

Colatch told those in attendance that it really was up to them and the community to keep this issue alive and in the forefront of people's minds.

“We are under attack on a national level and this issue, as small as it seems to some, is as big as the right to bear arms and Obamacare where they're taking the right to health care away from you,” Colatch said. “They're trying to strip away our rights. We're facing that tyranny today. We're facing that tyranny in Connellsville.”

He encouraged the community not to give up on this issue.

“Don't let this be the first domino to fall,” he said. “It costs you nothing to wait them out, but it costs you everything if they win.”

Marietta gave an update on several issues. The group has sold about 600 signs since it met last month, making the total about 3,900.

He said the cause is spreading out to Smithfield and south and even to Columbus and Cleveland in Ohio.

“It's just slowly growing,” Marietta said. “They're seeing that we're willing to work and that we're willing to stand up for our rights.”

Right now there are plans to place seven different Ten Commandments monuments at area churches, but the weather is delaying installation.

The group will meet the fourth Wednesday of every month at 5 p.m. at the local Eagles in Connellsville.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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