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3rd Ten Commandments monument to be dedicated

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Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, 12:31 a.m.

With two Ten Commandments monuments already erected, members of the Thou Shall Not Move group are planning the dedication of a third.

The third monument will be dedicated at 6 p.m. Aug. 18 on the grounds of the Juniata United Methodist Church in Dunbar Township.

“Now that we started, they will start moving a little more quickly,” group founder the Rev. Ewing Marietta said of the monuments that are being planned for several church sites. “We now have 52 churches on our list.”

The first monument was erected at the Eagles building on Arch Street in Connellsville. The first church to receive one of the Ten Commandments monuments was St. Paul AME Church in Uniontown.

The Eagles had donated a monument more than 50 years ago to the Connellsville Area School District. It is located near Connellsville Junior High School. That monument is the center of a court battle between the school district and the Freedom from Religion organization. The Freedom from Religion organization is representing an atheist and student who want the monument removed from the school grounds. The Thou Shall Not Move group was formed to help the district with its battle. Then, the monuments program started.

The monuments are being funded by the selling of cardboard Ten Commandments yard signs, although some churches have opted to make donations to the group or to purchase the monuments outright.

“Those churches who buy them will own them, but we only ask that if for some reason they decide to move them that they contact us or have them moved to another location,” Marietta said. “The other churches will sign leases, which will be life leases.”

Marietta and his group are still collecting signatures on petitions to keep the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the junior high. He said that interest is increasing again.

“I'm at the fair now getting signatures and everyone has been nice and kind,” Marietta said. “They all say that they don't understand why it's a problem (to have) the monument on site at the school.”'

Marietta said the group has collected about 6,000 signatures to date.

Thanking the group for their efforts, Marietta said that everyone's hard work and dedication is what is keeping the movement strong.

“Things are looking great with the petitions now and everything is looking up,” Marietta said. “The signs are doing well, and everyone is doing a really great job.”

Marietta said that everyone is invited to the dedication and the crowds for the first two numbered about 500 at each site.

“There is a lot of good happening,” Marietta said, adding that although he is thrilled with all of the new monuments and support, he hopes to keep the original monument at the school.

“People have to remember: Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments, and it's our history,” he said. “It should stay were it is. You don't just up and move something because someone is offended.”

Juanita United Methodist Church is located at 400 Juniata Road in Dunbar Township.

For information on acquiring a monument, call 724-626-1265.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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