Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment in New Mex­ico mov­ing off city land

The Prince George Citizen - - AT HOME -

BLOOM­FIELD, N.M. — A group that erected a mon­u­ment hon­our­ing the Ten Com­mand­ments six years ago on city-owned prop­erty in a small New Mex­ico city will re­move the mon­u­ment and put it on pri­vate prop­erty within 30 days.

Kevin Mauzy, the group’s founder, said it will be placed at a prom­i­nent lo­ca­tion after the U.S. Supreme Court last week sided with a lower court order for the mon­u­ment’s re­moval from the city hall lawn in the north­west­ern small city of Bloom­field.

The group called the Four Cor­ners His­tor­i­cal Mon­u­ment Project has sev­eral pos­si­ble sites but has not selected one, Mauzy told the Daily Times of Farm­ing­ton, N.M., in a story pub- lished this week.

Civil lib­er­ties ad­vo­cates have called the court de­ci­sion a vic­tory for the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state but Mauzy was dis­ap­pointed with the out­come.

“It’s kind of sad when it seems like our his­tory, facts and truth don’t seem to mat­ter any­more,” he said.

The Supreme Court de­ci­sion came after city at­tor­neys for the city ar­gued that the 10th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals ig­nored pre­vi­ous rul­ings by the Supreme Court that sim­ply be­ing of­fended by such a mon­u­ment did not give some­one a le­gal ba­sis to chal­lenge the mon­u­ment.

In other cases, a Ten Com­mand­ments poster in a Ken­tucky court­house was found con­sti­tu­tional and a mon­u­ment on the grounds of a pub­lic build­ing in Arkansas was de­ter­mined to be un­con­sti­tu­tional.

In Bloom­field, the con­crete block that dis­plays the Ten Com­mand­ments sits along­side other mon­u­ments re­lated to the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, Get­tys­burg Ad­dress and Bill of Rights.

The city claims it avoided en­dors­ing a par­tic­u­lar re­li­gion by plac­ing dis­claimers on the lawn stat­ing the area was a pub­lic fo­rum for cit­i­zens and that the pri­vately funded mon­u­ments did not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the opin­ions of the city.

The Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment was erected in 2011 and chal­lenged a year later by the ACLU. Lower courts con­cluded it vi­o­lated the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion’s ban on gov­ern­ment en­dors­ing a re­li­gion.


The Bloom­field Ten Com­mand­ments me­mo­rial is shown at city hall in Bloom­field, N.M.

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