Thou Shall Not Move working to keep battle alive

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 7:21 a.m.

The Thou Shall Not Move organization will update everyone on what has transpired over the last month during a 5 p.m. meeting Wednesday in the Fraternal Order of Eagles on Arch Street in Connellsville.

The group was formed last year after the Connellsville Area School District was threatened with a lawsuit if a Ten Commandments monument, located on district property at Connellsville Junior High, was not removed.

At this time, the monument has not been removed and the district is in a legal battle over the issue. The monument has been there for more than 50 years.

Thou Shall Not Move was formed to raise money for the school district to help with the costs of fighting the lawsuit. Since then, the organization has been selling yard signs with the Ten Commandments on them and started a Ten Commandments monument fund to help local churches place granite Ten Commandment monuments on their property.

The Rev. Ewing Marietta and businessman Gary Colatch have taken charge of the group and have organized its projects.

On Wednesday, Marietta said they will be giving an update on where the organization stands on funding and how things are progressing with other projects.

“We have enough money to purchase 11 monuments for different churches,” Marietta said, adding that they know what churches will be getting them. He will announce the 11 churches on Wednesday.

The first church on the list to get a monument was St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Connellsville. But it has not received approval from officials within the Diocese of Greensburg for placement.

The Rev. Bob Lubic, church pastor, said it's all in a holding pattern right now. “I keep asking and they aren't able to give me an answer.”

Marietta said a monument will be held for the church, but they might start looking at choosing another spot in an area, close to the church, to try and get something moving in the next two weeks.

He added that they were having some PennDOT issues with the spot picked out at St. John's.

Marietta said an individual from Cleveland will be at Wednesday's meeting and plans to buy at least 10 signs to sell in the Cleveland area.

“This will be new expansion in a different area,” Marietta said. “We are slowly progressing outward, so that's exciting.”

A local attorney will be on hand to talk about the issue and how the right of freedom of speech might play a part in allowing the monument to remain.

Colatch said the purpose of the meeting is to update everyone and keep everyone informed and interested.

“We need to keep selling the signs and keep it moving,” he said. “If we don't keep it in the media, then the organization that filed the lawsuit will just wait it out until everyone gets bored.

“They'll go after the school district then, who will end up caving because they lost all of the community support,” Colatch added.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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