The head of Liberty Counsel, a firm that litigates on civil and religious rights issues, says a decision from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has extended a winning streak for the Ten Commandments that dates back to 2005.
The organization successfully argued on behalf of the legality of a display in a public building in Kentucky that included the Ten Commandments among other historical references.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling in the case brought by the ACLU that reversed a lower court's opinion that said the Ten Commandments were impermissible.
"The Ten Commandments are as much at home in a display about the foundation of law as stars and stripes are to the American flag," said Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel's founder and chairman. "The Ten Commandments are part of the fabric of our country and helped shape the law. It defies common sense to remove a recognized symbol of law from a court of law.
"The ACLU might not like our history and might run from it, but the fact remains that the Ten Commandments shaped our laws and may be displayed in a court of law. I am sure the ACLU will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review this case. The ACLU has been running from the Supreme Court since 2005 and has taken loss after loss on the Ten Commandments," he said.
In this case, the ACLU had complained about the historic display on the second floor of the Grayson County courthouse. The display is titled "Foundations of American Law and Government." Besides the Ten Commandments, it includes the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, Star-Spangled Banner, National Motto and a picture of Lady Justice.
Documentation with the display explains the significance of the items. The purpose of the display is educational and is intended to reflect a sampling of documents that played a significant role in the development of the legal and governmental system of the United States, Liberty Counsel said.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2002 over the display, and a lower court judge concluded the Ten Commandments couldn't remain, even though other identical displays in McCreary and Pulaski counties were allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
It was the same 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed another display in Mercer County, Ky., Staver said.
The presentation now has been affirmed again in strong language from the court.
"Following the precedent set out by the Supreme Court's decisions in McCreary County and Van Orden, as well as by our own previous decision in Mercer County, we hold that the Grayson County Foundations of American Law and Government Display (with Ten Commandments) does not infringe plaintiffs' rights under the Establishment Clause," the court opinion said.
Staver noted that since 2005, when he argued the McCreary and Pulaski cases, four federal courts of appeal have affirmed Ten Commandments displays. Since 2005, every federal appeals court decision addressing Ten Commandments displays has affirmed them, he said.
At that time, Joe Worthing, the executive director for Project Moses, said complaints from the ACLU generate interest for such monuments and postings.
The ministry was launched by John Menghini, an Overland Park, Kan., businessman who was disturbed by a news story about the ACLU demanding and getting the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from a Kansas City courthouse.
The Kansas City story also noted the fate of the monument to which the ACLU objected: It was moved about 100 feet across the street to St. Anthony's Catholic Church so that it would be on private property and no longer subject to the whims of lawyers
"The beauty of this move is that now, far more visitors to the courthouse actually view the Ten Commandments because it is more visible than it ever was on the courthouse grounds," he said. "I thought, if every church and synagogue in America would proudly display God's law, as this one church did, maybe our culture could turn a corner and come back to its Judeo-Christian roots."
The result was Project Moses, which works to install 900-pound stone monuments to God's laws on church and other private properties in prominent civic locations across the country. Hundreds already are installed, as well as thousands of smaller stone plaques that are offered to families for their homes.
"The ACLU is not the problem [with removing the Ten Commandments from America]," Worthing told WND. "We need to send them a thank you. They awakened a sleeping giant."