ACLU Sues to Remove 10 Commandment Display at NM City Hall

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico recently filed a lawsuit against the City of Bloomfield on behalf of several residents who feel a Ten Commandments display is offensive and a violation of separation of church and state.

According to the suit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico, the Ten Commandments display "by City officials and City elected officials amounted to an excessive government entanglement with religion."

The plaintiffs demand "[a]n order that the City's Ten Commandments Monument be immediately removed from the real property owned by the City of Bloomfield, New Mexico."

But Dr. Billy McCormack, who is on the board of directors for the Christian Coalition of America, said in an interview with The Christian Post, "The ACLU's lawsuit against Bloomfield, New Mexico City Hall's Ten Commandments display is a continuation of its crusade against Christianity and its place in American society."

"All its resources are dedicated to the eradication of Christian influence in the public sector."

In a statement, ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson said that his organization had no issue with private organizations posting a Decalogue display.

"Individuals, religious communities, and religious associations should be free to post the Ten Commandments as they wish, and the ACLU will defend their right to do so," said Simonson.

"But the government should not decide which religious doctrines it favors and then post them on government property."

For years now, Ten Commandments displays on public property across the country have been the subject of lawsuits by church-state separation groups.

In 2001, Alabama Judge Roy Moore put a large Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of a state judicial building only to have it removed in 2004 after a higher court ruled against the display.

In December of 2005, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled in favor of a display in Mercer County, Ky.

In other cases, rather than deciding to remove the Decalogue display, individuals have attempted to erect monuments next to a Ten Commandments display that represent an alternative view.

In November of last year, Johnson County of Tennessee and Americans United for Separation of Church and State settled out of court, agreeing to have a Johnson County resident post a display on church-state separation alongside the Decalogue display.

However, these efforts have not always been successful, as in 2004 when federal judge rejected a bid from a Gnostic religious group to place of monument dedicated to the "Seven Aphorisms" next to a display of the Ten Commandments in Duchesne, Utah.

McCormack of the Christian Coalition was pessimistic about the case, telling CP that he had "little confidence that the court will agree with Bloomfield."

"Society, submerged under a sea of secular fundamentalist's thought and practice for a half century, has produced judges with a bias against Judeo-Christian religion," said McCormack.

"The judicial system may find it difficult if not impossible to recover and become objective and fair."

The Bloomfield, N.M., Ten Commandments display was privately donated to the City and in July 2011 was placed on the front lawn of Bloomfield City Hall.

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