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Thou Shall Not Move continues Ten Commandments push

| Saturday, April 20, 2013, 1:16 a.m.
Frank Laws of Davis Monuments in Scottdale stands behind the first of the Ten Commandments monuments being prepared for placement at churches and on private sites in the Connellsville area. Karl Polacek | Daily Courier

The battle between Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and a plaintiff named Doe 4 in legal papers against the Connellsville Area School District will reach a deadline on April 25.

In the meantime, the Thou Shall Not Move group in Connellsville will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to honor the Fayette County commissioners and to learn of the latest steps in the plan to place Ten Commandments monuments throughout the community.

The Rev. Ewing Marietta, a leader for Thou Shall Not Move, said the county commissioners — Al Ambrosini, chairman; Vince Zapotosky, vice chairman; and Angela M. Zimmerlink, secretary — will attend the Wednesday meeting at the Connellsville Eagles on Arch Street.

“We will be honoring them,” Marietta said. “They took a stand and named the Ten Commandments monument (at Connellsville Junior High School) an historic landmark. They've done a bang-up job.”

The monument has been at the school for more than 50 years.

The group said it will continue with plans to place additional monuments.

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 properties.

According to Marietta, legal paperwork will be presented and reviewed by legal counsel for those who get a monument.

“If a monument is moved, we want to know about it,” he said. “If it is cast off, we want to know that, too.”

The reason for the precautions is obvious. Marietta said the first monument is costing the group almost $1,800.

Ralph Ermine, owner of Davis Monuments in Scottdale, said his company is providing the first monument at a very low cost. Ermine said the group initially asked for the first one to be completed in December, but the process was delayed.

Marietta said the group is waiting for warmer weather for the pouring of the first foundation.

The Rev. Bob Lubic, of St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Connellsville, said no word on permission to place a monument on the church grounds has been received from the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg. The group had hoped St. John's, at the corner of Route 119 and West Crawford Avenue, would be the location of the first monument.

In the meantime, the lawsuit by the Freedom from Religion Foundation against the Connellsville Area School District is proceeding, according to the federal court's website. Councils for both parties must exchange disclosure statements and decide if they will proceed to trial by April 25.

Attempts to contact the attorneys in the case were not successful.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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