Ten Commandments Monument Not Endorsement of Religion, Says Attorney General

The Attorney General of Texas urged the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to allow a Ten Commandments monument to stay on the Texas Capitol grounds.

In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, Attorney General Greg Abbott argued that the six-foot tall red granite monument is not an endorsement of religion and said he hoped the court would use the monument as an example for the nation of how the Ten Commandments may be displayed.

The monument—donated to the state in 1961 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles to promote youth morality and curb juvenile delinquency—drew protest from former attorney and homeless man Thomas Van Orden, who filed a lawsuit in 2002 to have the monument removed from the Capitol grounds.

Van Orden sued on First Amendment grounds of separation of church and state.

Although, Van Orden lost the lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in October of last year to hear opening arguments in the landmark Ten Commandments cases involving the disputed display in Texas, as well as framed copies of the Ten Commandments in two Kentucky county courthouses.

On Mar. 2, the Justices will review the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that the display of the Ten Commandments monument is constitutional since it was more historical than religious in representation.

It will be the first time in 25 years the High Court has heard a case involving the Ten Commandments.