WASHINGTON A growing number of evangelical and denominational Christians and Orthodox Jews are joining forces to keep the public displays of the Ten Commandments legal.
The coalition, which calls itself the Ten Commandments movement, is a response to recent legislation and court rulings across the country challenging the display of the Ten Commandments. Supporters of the movement defend the Biblical text as the foundational framework for the nations laws while critics view the Decalogue as religious symbolism that does not belong in the public square.
Today, the two groups will converge in Washington for a series of rallies, speeches and events observing the so-called Ten Commandments Day and the competing Ten Amendments Day.
According to the Ten Commandments Day website, up to ten thousand participants are expected at upper Capitol park for the main event, which will consist of presentations explaining each of the commandments, speeches from religious figures defending the public displays, and a public question-and-answer session.
Organizers will also be handing out books, magazines and resources explaining the significance of the Biblical text in relation to public policy.
Such books were handed out freely at Metro stops and street corners across Washington since Thursday, as part of a $3.2 million campaign by an Illinois-based radio and television ministry called the Mending Broken People Network.
This network, which also includes the Three Angels Broadcasting Network, hopes to draw 10,000 people for Ten Commandments Weekend a conjunctive event at the D.C. Armory that began Friday night, featuring music and sermons about the commandments.
Meanwhile, opponents are setting up tent today on the National Mall to provide information and resources about what they call the religious rights attack against the Separation of Church and State.
Powerful forces are working to undermine the principles that have kept Americans free for 215 years and jeopardize the liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, a statement from the Ten Amendments Day read.
Christians are not of one voice regarding the day and on how much emphasis to put on the Old Testament text.
"I think all of us want to recognize that there is a place for religiously informed discussion of public policy," David Neff, editor of Christianity Today told The Washington Post. "But the question is: Can we single out for special government-endorsed approval the Ten Commandments above other sources of our legal tradition?"