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Fay-West speaks out on Ten Commandments monument issue

| Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
Ten Commandment signs can be found in yards throughout the Connellsville area. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier

The group that wants to remove the Ten Commandments from the school grounds is turning the Constitution of the United States on its head and using it as a hammer of oppression — exactly what we crossed the pond to get away from. It's not the public display of the Ten Commandments the group wants to do away with but what that monument represents — freedom of religion. They use the Constitution as a cycle to slice away at the rights the Constitution guarantees. Ironically, the group's freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution. The group has no respect for the Constitution and only uses it for their own destructive reasons. They must secretly hate the U.S. Constitution and the United States of America. If the group succeeds, then in the future you can forget about Halloween treats and may have to celebrate all the holidays underground.

Susan Alesantrino

South Connellsville

Stand up for rights

I am writing in support of the Ten Commandments monument at Connellsville Junior High. First, I would like to commend our school board for listening to the voices of the community and for their efforts toward keeping the monument.

Fellow Americans, voting is not just vital at the presidential level. We are seeing just how important it is to vote for the best persons to serve on our school boards, too.

Secondly, being Americans gives us many highly valued rights: Rights that were fought hard for. Rights that precious people died for. Rights that we need to protect, now more than ever.

Today, it seems like it's OK to stand up and speak out for almost everything except Jesus Christ. The world would like Christians to sit in a corner, love each other and be quiet. Isn't that just what we've been doing? We've been quiet for too long.

I'm proud to say that the community of Connellsville is showing the world just what we're made of as well as what we believe in. It is possible to love each other and still stand up for our beliefs. I am just asking that we encourage the school board members, support all efforts to raise money for this cause, and pray for the courage to continue on a journey toward protecting our rights.

Debbie Durstine

Mt. Pleasant

Rules to live by

I am just a country boy brought up to try to be a good fellow. As I look at the Ten Commandments, I can say that they are rules to live by if you want to be a good person. Everyone should live that way.

But we have so many people out there who want to live according to their own wants and don't care what or who they hurt as long as: “I get what I want.”

It matters not whether they steal, commit murder or hurt children, just as long as: “I get what I want.”

Some people call it being religious, but I call it everyday living.

I do believe in God and Jesus Christ, but for me this is everyday living, so I don't know why the lawyers are so upset about the commandments except they take everything out of context and read into what they want them to read. We know that is how criminals are let go and innocent people are put in prison — because they get big bucks, not because they are right.

Every judge should throw these kinds of cases out because they clog the courts for more pressing cases.

Homer Hensel

Mill Run

Who are these people?

Americans United for Freedom From Religion — who are these people? Where do they come from? How can they call themselves Americans?

America has always welcomed all ethnic groups, and we have always gotten along. Are these people a bunch of bullies? There is something really wrong with our judicial system. How can any judge help these people? How can a judge tell a young girl that it is fine to show disrespect for our flag by sitting down during the Pledge of Allegiance?

They are going around the country causing lawsuits everywhere. Now they are after small towns like Connellsville. They are becoming bolder and gathering momentum. What if they decide to strike a lot of small towns at the same time? They could cause a lot of destruction.

Our young people are in Europe now, fighting for freedom, while this bunch of people are using foul means to take a freedom away.

What kind of nasty thing is next on their agenda? Ask yourself this and think about it very seriously.

Loretta Foore


Feeling excluded?

I'm writing to express support for keeping the Ten Commandments monument at its present location at Connellsville Area Junior High School. In 55 years, no one has complained. In fact, many have stated they went to school, taught or visited there and weren't even aware it existed. Others said they knew it was there but not what it says.

Obviously, neither the monument nor school district are forcing anyone to do anything in regard to this historic landmark or the words written upon it. It isn't discussed in school, except perhaps in recent weeks only because two people want it removed. Students aren't asked, forced, coerced or led to look at it, read it, live by the words upon it or otherwise acknowledge its existence. If someone chooses to do so, they do so of their own free will as is our right in this country.

The lawsuit states the complainants feel excluded. No one's being excluded from anything because there's nothing to be excluded from. It's a stone monument. It simply stands there. It demands nothing. It invites no one. It excludes no one. Two people want to remove it. Many more want it to stay. It should remain where it is.

Teri Hirko


Protecting our freedoms

What has happened to protecting the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference?” Let's refresh our minds.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Why is the fear of believing in God dictating our society? Our country was founded on this belief — “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” Sound familiar?

Now is the time for strength, pride, and conviction for what you believe in. Be strong and proud of your beliefs. Take a stand. Don't be afraid. Follow the Lord. He will be your strength.

Janet Lukac


Truth is absolute

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who loved us so much, gave us the Ten Commandments to bless us for our protection. Truth is absolute. Any other definition of truth is subject to the relativity of man's interpretation. Truth is not truth because one believes it or does not.

We have misguided judges, attorneys and members of groups, such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which choose to try to reinvent the truth. They misinterpret the U.S. Constitution, attempting to align it with their definition of truth. They would erase our history, if we allow. Most of them are not hateful people, but those who see only the physical realm of this world, blinded to the spiritual realm. We should not be angry with them, but should be concerned and prayerful.

We might sigh and say, “Times have changed and we must move on.” No. God has not changed.

Thank you, Connellsville Area School Board, attorney Chris Stern and administrators for listening patiently as many had the courage to speak up for the truth in asking that our Ten Commandments monument not be removed. Please take up courage for the truth — courage as your forefathers had in standing against tyranny; courage as U.S. military men and women have in assignments worldwide, absent from family, losing limbs, dying for the truth.

Patty Ann Dull

Mill Run

We are a religious community

I am sure the atheists are keeping up with the newspaper writings concerning the Ten Commandments.

We are a religious community and we have pride in our religion. How dare these non-believers come into our city and community and sue our school district for their non-beliefs.

We didn't go to Wisconsin and sue them for not believing in God, so why don't they go back where they came from?

Atheists have no fear in God and that makes them an advocate of the devil, which are lovers of evil. Why would they want to accept our money from suing us for their evil doings, when on our currency is inscribed, “In God We Trust.”

We need to stop these atheists and countersue them for infringing, disturbing and disrupting the surety of peace and serenity of this city and community. They have violated and infringed on our freedom of religion and that may be subject for a countersue.

In the 14th Amendment of the Bill Of Rights, we as Christians are entitled to freedom of religion just as they are entitled to freedom from religion. There are more of us Christian and Catholics in this city than there are atheists.

It's our freedom of religion that's at stake. We need to fight for our rights, too.

We shall overcome, because, in God we trust.

God bless our Ten Commandments and God bless America.

Lois Fiano


Under attack

As a concerned citizen, it has been very disturbing to see that the Ten Commandments is under attack in the Connellsville Area School District.

For more than 50 years this monument has stood for what is good, pure and wholesome in the greatest nation on Earth. Sadly, a small minority feels that this American treasure should be removed.

They fail to realize that many rights and freedoms that we all enjoy daily are because of Godly principles.

If you read, watch or hear the news for just a few minutes, it is very clear why the Ten Commandments must be preserved. When people learn and live by them, many sad headlines are eliminated. If you live by the commandments, the police blotter disappears.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, God's law and word is a compass to guide society. Without it, we will experience chaos on all fronts.

“God Bless America” is continually recited by those in leadership in this country. At the same time, every effort is being taken to remove God from government, business, school, etc.

Folks, you can't have it both ways.

I encourage everyone to draw a line in the sand. Get behind Connellsville Area School District and many others to stop this ridiculous trend.

Steven Fox

Mill Run

Connellsville is being bullied

I urge Connellsville Area School Board President Jon Detwiler and the school board members to continue the fight to keep the Ten Commandments monument on school property. I realize this is a problem that you didn't need with all the other problems the school board must have, but I believe that it is a cause that you need to fight for.

I'm sure that the district must have a bullying policy to help protect the students, and I feel that the action of this organization and one citizen is nothing more than a bullying tactic against the school district. I've heard that there are thousands of these monuments across the nation, given by the Eagles, to parks and schools. If they win here and in New Kensington, Valley High School, then they will probably all have to be removed.

For this student and / or parent to feel excluded and stressed because of the commandments is hard to believe. I'm sure there are much more stressful things in their lives than this monument, and I'm sure that they adhere to these commandments every day, without even realizing it. Maybe we should call them the Ten Rules to Follow, instead of the Ten Commandments.

No — these groups, such as “Freedom from Religion Foundation” look for citizens to front for them, so they can get rid of any thought of God in our society. This monument in no way is trying to establish religion in our schools. It was given as a gift to the students because the Eagles felt that they needed a youth guidance program to combat juvenile delinquency, and it was not to establish a religion.

If it were possible to take a survey of all the students who passed through the doors of this school, probably only a small percentage of them even knew the monument was there, and even a smaller percentage who knew what was written on it.

So, if you're being sued, even though it's covered, why not be courageous and uncover it? Maybe since all the students now know it's there, maybe just one student, who never heard of the Ten Commandments would read them and they could make a difference in his or her life. God works in mysterious ways.

Let's stop the tide from sweeping away our freedoms. As our old buddy, Barney Fife would say, “Nip it! Nip it in the bud!” And Sheriff Andy Taylor would agree.

Thank you for your time and effort.

Marlyn Dull

Mill Run

The rights of the people

As Abraham Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg Address “...that Government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Then how can one person or small group dictate to the wishes of the people (government).

The Ten Commandments do not appear to upset the vast majority in Connellsville. Don't their rights count? If we are a government of the people, then why are we being governed by a few unelected, legal finaglers?

Let's put this issue into the proper perspective. Government cannot dictate a state-sanctioned religion, which is all it says in the Bill of Right Article I. Religion is not taboo to the government (people) nor to be kept out of government (people). The government (people) just cannot write a law that dictates a religious belief while making all other religious beliefs illegal. That is all that the articles mean. No more, no less. Some would have us believe otherwise to suit their purposes.

Now what can the government (people) do? The government (people) can enact statutes within their jurisdiction to protect and serve the citizens of that governmental body (people).

I am a citizen (people) which makes me part of the government. I feel to make our government ours again, we need to have more of a voice to guide our representatives at the higher levels of our government.

Connellsville is a governing body. I feel the general public should be the ones who determine what can or cannot be displayed on (their) public property. I feel people of like thought should submit petitions to their government body regarding current issues of the day. The petition requiring a designated amount of signatures to be valid, would then require a referendum be put on the next election ballot regarding issues of the governing body (the people).

If the government (people) wants a religious or non-religious item displayed, it will be the will of the residents of that government entity (people), not a couple of people claiming to have their rights violated.

I do not know who said it, but it needs repeated often. How does your right to remove the Ten Commandments supersede my rights to have them openly displayed? It is my government (people's) property also, (of the people, by the people, for the people).

Twisting the First Amendment should not give you more rights, because you are not happy with what it says.

Peter M. Pasqua


Take a stand for liberty

I am a graduate of Connellsville Senior High School who now resides in South Connellsville. As an American citizen and former U.S. Army soldier, I enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Those freedoms would not be possible without the Ten Commandments.

We trace the Western legal tradition and our God-inspired Constitution to the founding of the Judeo-Christian ethic. The Judeo-Christian ethic was begun by the giving of the Law by God to Moses.

Through several thousand years, this gave birth gradually to concepts like equal justice under law, limited government, and a system of checks and balances, because the founders of the United States of America understood the nature of man. Fallible man must not be given absolute power, because absolute power corrupts absolutely. Put another way, it allows man's true nature to come out. Thus, when we vote, we need to locate a man or woman who holds to Godly values and vote for them.

Other than the fact that the Ten Commandments were given by God and are therefore important in the sense that all Scripture is given by God and inspired, the Ten Commandments do not have special meaning in my faith of Jesus Christ outside of their symbolic significance as symbols of the foundation of our country. We as Christians do not attach our faith to the Ten Commandments, in that the Ten Commandments will not get anyone to heaven — they stand for the exact opposite: while they are God's standard, and one that people should try to live by, no one can keep God's law perfectly. The Commandments are our judge and convict us. They make us realize we fall short, Romans 3:23. Only Jesus Christ can save us.

Thus, the Ten Commandments have both religious and judicial significance. Also, they are significant as one very important root of our democracy. So, I ask you to take a stand. A stand for liberty. Be determined that the monument will not move in Connellsville. Fayette County, stand for the freedom by which God blessed you with.

Remember, if our young people do not understand where we have come from as a nation, they will not be able to understand where we need to go.

The Rev. Ewing M. Marietta

South Connellsville

Don't cave in

I am opposed to the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Connellsville Junior High School grounds.

I simply do not understand how a local school district's display of the monument, donated by a private organization, can possibly be considered a violation of the First Amendment. Consider the exact wording of the amendment. Every website and hard copy book that I have referenced shows the First Amendment as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

I see nowhere in this passage that says anything prohibiting the display of religious expression on public property. It refers specifically to Congress being prohibited from making a law establishing an official religion for the United States.

It appears obvious to me that the Connellsville Area School District is not Congress. And nothing they do can be construed as an Act of Congress. This applies equally to the New Kensington-Arnold School District, which is under attack by the same Freedom From Religion organization for the same issue.

In a previous article in the Daily Courier, it was published that the school district offered to have the monument moved to a nearby church. FFR's lawyers opposed that action because they said the students could still see it. Using that logic, no church could have a cross on their building, no synagogue could have a menorah on their building, nor could the many little country churches that I see often display a verse of Scripture on their sign boards. After all, some intolerant non-believer might see it or some impressionable young person may see it.

Prohibiting the display is essentially a violation of the passage of the amendment that states that Congress is restricted from making a law “... prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It appears to me that caving in to FFR's complaint is such a violation.

Anthony F. Cugini

Plum Borough

Another view

I read Cindy Ekas' Oct. 22 story on the rally in support of the Ten Commandments monument. Supporters lay claim to fighting for religious freedom, the monument, government-mandated Bible reading in the schools, God's word. Add a touch of implied Hitler and Satan association to their opponents and you are all set.

Questions and remarks come to mind: “Whose religious freedom?” Could not the monument in question be considered a “graven image” in violation of the second commandment. It certainly seems to be an object of worship now. Is it to be forgotten that cities such as Boston and Cincinnati had “Bible wars” over which version of the Bible was to be used? Are we to forget that Hitler declared that God was on his / Germany's side? Hence, Stormtroopers' belt buckles were inscribed “Gott mit uns,” “God is with us.” Does not the first commandment declare the existence of more gods than one, but just wants this god prominent? “You shall have no other gods before me.”

These questions and more should all be covered in junior high and high school courses on religion. That would be the highest degree of religious freedom. Students should be allowed to study comparative religions / comparative religious texts, not just some version of the Bible. Such freedom of religion would be in keeping with Thomas Paine in his “Age of Reason,” wherein Paine writes about his belief in one God, the future of religion in America, and the Ten Commandments:

“Soon after I had published the pamphlet Common Sense, in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion. The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it had taken place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effectually prohibited by pains and penalties, every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly and openly before the world; but that whenever this should be done, a revolution in the system of religion would follow....When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of the commandments from the hands of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no other authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no other authority for it than some historian telling me so. The commandments carry no internal evidence of divinity with them; they contain some good moral precepts, such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver, or a legislator, could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention.”

Bruce Braden

Carmel, Ind. Braden is a native of Mt. Pleasant

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