Atheist Group Demands Ten Commandments Display Be Removed From Pennsylvania School Grounds

"Thou Shall Not Move," a group dedicated to preserving a Ten Commandments display at a Pennsylvania public school against legal action from an atheist organization, held a rally Monday in support of the monument.

Pastor Ewing M. Marietta from Liberty Baptist Church in Uniontown, the group's organizer, told The Christian Post that "a good number of people" showed up to their rally earlier this week.

"We do these once a month at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Connellsville on the third Thursday," said Marietta, regarding rallies held in favor of the monument.

In the 1950s, Connellsville Area School District placed a Ten Commandments display on the property of Connellsville Junior High School. It was one of numerous monuments placed on public property at the behest of groups like the Fraternal Order of Eagles in the mid-20th century.

In September 2012, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded that the school district remove the Ten Commandments from the middle school. They also sent a formal complaint to New Kensington-Arnold School District, which had a Ten Commandments display placed at the property of a high school.

"The permanent display of the Ten Commandments in front of a New Kensington-Arnold school violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment," wrote FFRF staff attorney Patrick Elliott.

Marietta told CP that, as "a citizen of the United States and former U.S. Army soldier, I enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Those freedoms would not happen without the Ten Commandments."

"Thus, the Ten Commandments have both religious and secular significance. They are significant as one very important root of our government," said Marietta. "If our young people do not understand where we have come from as a nation, they will not be able to understand where we need to be going. This is why the secular progressives want to force their removal."

According to the FFRF, however, the courts "have continually held that public schools may not display religious messages or iconography."

FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in 2012 that "the school districts deserve an 'F' in civics."

"Instead of protecting the freedom of conscience of students, they are sending a message that the First Amendment is trumped by the First Commandment," stated Gaylor.

"Contrary to the First Commandment, a school district has no business telling students and their parents which god to have, how many gods to have or whether to have any gods at all!"

Although Connellsville initially agreed to remove the Ten Commandments, popular outrage led the school district to change course. A lawsuit filed by the FFRF on behalf of a local atheist is ongoing.

Marietta also told CP about a newly created group, Rock of Liberty, whose objectives are similar to the Thou Shall Not Move group, but with a more nationwide focus.

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