Legal Disputes Over Ten Commandments Monuments Continue Across the U.S.

Legal disputes are brewing in two states regarding the placement of a monument of the Ten Commandments on the properties of public buildings.

Legal disputes are brewing in two states regarding the placement of a monument of the Ten Commandments on the properties of public buildings.

One monument in question stands outside the Valley Junior-Senior High School in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. The other is not erected yet, but supporters hope that it would one day sit on the grounds of the State Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The issue in Pennsylvania is actually the rehashing of a 2012 case that was dismissed in 2015. At that time, New Kensington-Arnold School District parent Marie Shaub wanted the 60-year-old monument removed on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state.

However, the presiding judge said that the infrequency with which Shaub encountered the monument rendered the lawsuit meaningless. Furthermore, Shaub’s daughter did not provide testimony at the time which demonstrated how the monument was causing her harm.

A month later, the same court found that a similar monument placed on Connellsville Area School District property was unconstitutional. Since then, several groups, such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Anti-Defamation League, filed documents in support of the reinstitution of Shaub’s case.

The Arkansas case traces back to State Senator Jason Rapert. He wishes to install a Ten Commandments monument of the grounds of the State Capitol, not unlike what the state of Oklahoma once had.

The Supreme Court had once ruled in favor of such a monument because it had been up for decades and was surrounded by other historical displays. This would not be the case with the monument in Arkansas.

Regardless, Rapert’s bill passed, but not much progress has been made with regards to the funding or design. Additionally, other religious groups might be interested in adding a monument to the grounds.

The Satanic Temple, for example, proposed the construction of a statue of a “Baphomet,” which is a goat-headed, angel-winged, androgynous creature with historical significance, according to TST spokesperson Little Rock.

The state of Arkansas has requested more information regarding the TST statue. Both the situation in Pennsylvania and Arkansas seem to be far from resolution.

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