Tenn. Sheriff Defends Decalogue Display at Department Lobby

A sheriff of one of Tennessee's fastest growing counties has recently defended the presence of a display that includes the Ten Commandments in the lobby of the department he oversees.

Robert Arnold, the sheriff of Rutherford County, was given a framed display of the Ten Commandments, along with the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights last year.

According to local media, the framed historical documents reside in the lobby of the sheriff's department, which also includes a jail.

In an interview with The Tennessean, Arnold argued that such documents should be allowed to be displayed on public property because they are "documents this country was founded on."

"Those are documents that all laws are derived from in this country … [my] job is to enforce the laws of the land, and those are three documents of laws of the land," said Arnold.

Arnold went on to remark that regardless of any possible threat of legal action against it, he intends to keep the framed display in the lobby.

Arnold was elected to the position of Rutherford County sheriff in August 2010 and began to serve in the position a month later. He had previously served as a deputy for over a decade. Running on the Republican ticket, according to his campaign site Arnold promised to implement measures to save tax dollars, improve relations with the surrounding community, and modernize the department.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, which has been critical of the display that includes the Decalogue, provided The Christian Post with a statement from ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg.

"The ACLU has long defended the religious freedom of individuals and religious organizations," said Weinberg, whose organization has taken issue with similar displays elsewhere in the country.

"Government neutrality on religion is essential to ensuring that such religious freedom can flourish. All people, regardless of religion, should feel like they are being treated equally and fairly while in government buildings."

While denouncing the display as unlawful in other interviews, the ACLU of Tennessee leadership has not yet specifically stated that they will pursue legal action.

Arnold's remarks come as an Oklahoma school fights back against the threat of a lawsuit over their display of multiple Ten Commandments plaques.

Students at Muldrow High School of Muldrow have acted to protest the removal of the plaques, which were brought to the attention of the school system's superintendent by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The office of Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time.

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