Religion

School To Remove Ten Commandments Statue After Atheist Group Complaint

| by Kathryn Schroeder
The Ten CommandmentsThe Ten Commandments

A judge agrees with an atheist group that the statue of the Ten Commandments at Connellsville Junior High School in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, violates the separation of church and state.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed the complaint against the Ten Commandments statue for displaying religious symbolism and violating the law that states church and state must remain separate, reports Inquisitr.

A judge agreed with the atheist group and the school said they will comply and return the statue to the Christian concept group that donated it, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles.

The school was not ordered by the judge to remove the statue that has been on school grounds since the 1950s because the family that originally objected to it no longer attends or visits the school, Huffington Post reported.

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The Christian group gave the Ten Commandments statue to the school as a symbol of the Christian faith of those who live in the area. Connellsville Junior High School is a public school, funded with taxpayer dollars, and therefore it is against the law to have a statue promoting a single religion.

This is not the first win for atheists in Pennsylvania.

In 2014, Penn State removed Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms because the FFRF argued the Bibles advocated the killings of nonbelievers, among others.

“The bible [sic] calls for killing nonbelievers, apostates, gays, ‘stubborn sons,’ and women who are not virgins on their wedding nights,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “What is obnoxious in a private hotel, however, becomes inappropriate and unconstitutional in state-run lodgings.”

Penn State obliged FFRF and removed the Bibles in an effort to show respect to all religions.

“It raised our awareness and we took the opportunity to review our hotel practices," Lisa Powers, director of strategic communications at Penn State, told Campus Reform in an email. “We wish to be respectful of all religions, and also of those who have differing beliefs, yet we still want to make the publication available to those who desire to read it while staying with us.”

The Bibles are still available at school-run hotels should a guest request one, but they will not be in individual guest rooms.

Sources: Inquistr, Campus Reform, Huffington Post / Photo credit: George Bannister/Flickr