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Grassroots group keeping momentum going for Ten Commandment monument fight in Connellsville

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By Rachel Basinger
Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Thou Shalt Not Move is continuing to keep the fight to keep the Ten Commandments monument at its current location at Connellsville Junior High School in the public eye.

It's been a little more than a month since the group held a rally. Organizers said they have been working several issues and projects during that time.

The group's first rally of 2013 will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Eagles in Connellsville. Those attending will be updated on the progress of ongoing projects.

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

“We're working to keep the momentum going and we just want to keep it in the public eye and send a message that we're not going away,” said Gary Colatch, an organizer for the grassroots group.

Colatch said they've been pegged as religious zealots, but he said he's more concerned with the infringement of constitutional rights more than the religious aspect of the issue.

“I'm sick of these big groups coming in and thinking they can do whatever they want,” he added.

Pastor Ewing Marietta, another organizer, said an update will be given on Wednesday on what's going on with the Ten Commandments monuments the organization is hoping to place at churches throughout the area.

Colatch said he has a meeting with the Rev. Robert Lubic, pastor of the three Catholic churches in Connellsville, this week. Colatch is hoping to receive word that the Diocese of Greensburg has approved the design of the monument to be placed at St. John's Roman Catholic Church at the Route 119 North and Crawford Avenue intersection.

Marietta said the organization plans for the St. John location to be the site of the first monument to be installed.

“Placing the monuments has been put on hold because you can't pour footers when the weather is this cold,” he said.

Colatch said the sale of yard signs has slowed somewhat because of the weather as well.

“No one's buying things to stick in their yard this time of year,” he said.

Marietta said over the last month he's gotten to see some interesting things happening.

In fact, the cause has reached as far as Washington state, where his wife has relatives.

“We have some churches out there that are looking into displaying some signs, so this thing is really branching out,” he said.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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