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Supporting the Big Ten

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

The Chiefland City Commission voted unanimously Monday night to allow a donated stone monument displaying the Ten Commandments to be placed in front of city hall.

"We need some more prayer in the community," Commissioner Frank Buie said. But, he added, "A lot of devils out there are going to jump on this."

The American Civil Liberties Union, though not generally defined as devils, has made it a point in recent years to challenge the constitutionality of displaying the 10 Commandments in government institutions.

According to the ACLU's website, it is not the government's job to favor, or appear to favor, one religion over another.

But Mayor Teal Pomeroy, in an interview after the meeting, said the monument would have a positive effect on the community.

When asked about how it would be good for the people of Chiefland, he said a monument of this type would help reaffirm the values of the Judaic and Christian faiths. According to Pomeroy, America's founding fathers were more motivated by the Bible than by any notion of separation of church and state.

He said he doesn't feel the citizens of Chiefland will take issue with the monument, especially when so many in the area practice Christianity.

To ease concerns of unfairness, Commissioner Rollin Hudson said, despite the area's religious majority, he would be willing to put up alternative religious monuments, provided that the ideals expressed upon them were on the "same level" as the Ten Commandments.

In 2006, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit questioning Kentucky's right to display, inside two separate courts, items displaying the Commandments.

The Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky's display of the Commandments was unconstitutional, though that same year, they said a Texas monument would be allowed to remain on the state grounds of the Texas Capitol.

The rationale behind the Court's decision on the Texas case comes from the fact that the monument was in place for nearly 40 years.