- (Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
An estimated 500 people gathered at a public park in Sandpoint, Idaho, Thursday to demonstrate their support for keeping the Ten Commandments display at its present location.
One of the protestors told local media that she took issue with the possibility of the monument's removal, which was first called for in a letter sent to Sandpoint's city government by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
"I don't like this at all," said Gladys Larson to the Bonner County Daily Bee, "There's no way someone can come into our town and dictate what goes on here."
The Ten Commandments monument was donated to Sandpoint in 1972 by a local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and was placed in Farmin Park.
Last November, the FFRF sent a letter to the mayor of Sandpoint taking issue with the monument being on public property.
"Ten Commandments displays continue to cause distress and divisiveness and continue to be challenged around the country," reads the FFRF letter in part. "The best approach is to remedy the liability by moving the monument now."
In a statement released last week, the Sandpoint city government stated that while they are presently not moving the monument, they are pursuing the option.
"Being concerned about reducing exposure to litigation and the associated costs, the mayor has instructed the parks director to talk with the Eagles and develop a plan to return the monument [to the organization]," stated Sandpoint.
"Currently, there is no immediate plan in place for the removal of the monument. The Eagles are looking into alternative locations for its relocation and placement."
Opposition to the removal of the Sandpoint Ten Commandments monument can be found among conservative groups in the state of Idaho.
Pam Stout, spokeswoman for the conservative group Friends of Idaho and co-coordinator of the Idaho Tea Party Patriots, told The Christian Post that she believes the monument should not be moved.
"The Ten Commandments form the basis for American law. I believe that the Founder's and men who understand the need to affirm religious freedom in this nation would want the Ten Commandments monument to remain there. The monument is a small reminder of that freedom," said Stout.
Stout also told CP that Friends of Idaho will hold "a community meeting to discuss freedom of religion in America this Friday."
"Here in this area we have many people who seem to be leaning toward socialism. Freedom of religion is one of our founding principles," said Stout.
"I believe that it is imperative that we stand together to prevent the movement of the monument from Farmin Park as it is a symbol of that freedom."
Due to convention preparations, the Sandpoint chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles could not return comment to The Christian Post.