A Christian legal group filed a brief Monday, denying that the city of Pleasant Grove, Utah, was obligated to grant a religious group outside Salt Lake City the right to display its version of the Ten Commandments in public parks because it would turn public areas into forums of religion.
In the latest development in a protracted case involving the contested right of Summum to place its "Seven Aphorisms" alongside the Ten Commandments, Liberty Counsel said it is adding its defense in its case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Summum, which claims to represent both the "inner workings of Nature" and "the sum total of all creation," has argued consistently in local courts that the current display of the Ten Commandments in public parks must not exclude the viewpoints of other religious groups.
Liberty Counsel, however, denies this assertion, and notes that the current Ten Commandments display was a private donation by an outside group, and thus does not constitute a public endorsement of religion.
"By accepting donated displays, the city did not open a forum for everyone wishing to display a monument in the public park. The city owned the donated displays, and the city could remove, modify, remake or sell any of the displays," the group said in a statement.
"If the government were required to accept any conflicting message anytime the government spoke through a donated display, then the Statue of Liberty would need to make room for the Statue of Tyranny or perhaps a statue of Stalin or Adolf Hitler. It would not make sense to force the government to include a display devoted to atheism every time it displays a Nativity scene," the legal group added.
According to Summum, its so-called "Seven Aphorisms" represent the complete version of the Ten Commandments, which include the principles of psychokinesis, correspondence, vibration, opposition, rhythm, cause and effect and gender.
The Summum group first began in 1975 after founder Claude "Corky" Nowell had a claimed encounter with advanced "Summa Individuals" who showed him the answers to "the matrix of Creation's formulations."
The group claims to have over 250,000 members worldwide