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Connellsville officials back movement

| Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, 12:31 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Pastor Aaron Peternel of the United Free Methodist Church and the Rev. Ewing Marietta of Liberty Baptist Church hold up the newest sign for sale along with a few of the others the group is offering as fundraisers for the movement to raise Ten Commandments monuments throughout the region.

Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln and members of City Council voiced their support for the “Thou Shall Not Move” campaign to raise funding for granite Ten Commandments monuments that are being placed at churches and other locations in the region.

“We have 12 monuments at church locations and two others,” said the Rev. Ewing Marietta of Liberty Baptist Church, North Union, the campaign's leader.

The movement began two years ago when Connellsville Area School District was approached about a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the junior high school. The monument had been there for more than 50 years. A parent complained, a lawsuit was filed against the district, and the result was the formation of the group, whose members have volunteered to sell corrugated plastic signs. Money raised by the sales is used to purchase the granite monuments.

“A total of $30,774.71 has been raised by all of you,” Marietta said.

Signs offered for sale include 2-by-4-foot signs, 1-by-2 signs, Christmas signs, Steelers signs, flag signs and a new 4-by-8 sign.

The group has sold 300 T-shirts, too.

Fourteen monuments were purchased for a total of $23,268, and $5,000 is going toward the downpayment for seven more, Marietta said.

The next monument will be placed and dedicated on the grounds of United Free Methodist Church in Uniontown in the spring, he added.

“I think that it is unbelievable how this has all taken off,” Lincoln said of the movement. “I can't believe how many of these signs I see when I drive around the county and how many of these I see in people's yards. The city will do anything that they can do to help.”

Councilman Greg Ritch said he is a strong supporter of the Constitution and that for which it stands.

“Our First Amendment rights have been turned upside down,” Ritch said. “Our Founding Fathers relied heavily on the Bible.”

Councilman Brad Geyer said it was a shame the movement had to be established in the first place. Councilman Tom Karpiak said it's very impressive to see the Ten Commandments signs throughout the town.

“They have awakened a giant,” Karpiak said of the strength and belief of those who are part of the movement. “These signs are being seen all over the place, even if people don't see the one up on the hill.”

Marietta announced two upcoming meetings: March 13 and March 27 at the Connellsville Eagles, starting at 5:30 p.m.

He said that a special guest will be coming on April 5 to Liberty Baptist Church.

“We have Erik Estrada coming. He will be there to support the Ten Commandments, and he will also talk about his new movie that was released called ‘Uncommon,' ” Marietta said.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. A showing of Estrada's movie will follow at 6.

Donations are being accepted to help the group purchase more monuments.

Contributions may be sent to 10 Commandments, P.O. Box 410, Connellsville, PA 15425.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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