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Controversial Ten Commandments Monument Moved in Alabama - 2003-08-27


A monument of the Ten Commandments located inside an official building in Alabama has been moved out of public view in compliance with a federal court order. The monument is at the center of a high-profile debate over the separation of religion from government.

The Ten Commandments monument Wednesday was moved out of public view. It remains in the Alabama Judicial Building, in a closet, in pieces. The monument occupied space in this rotunda for two years. It took two minutes to jack it up, slide a pallet jack under it and slide it away.

Objections had been raised to the display of the monument, which had been placed in the judicial building by Alabama state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore. He was suspended when he ignored a federal court order which said placement of the religious monument on state-owned property violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on government promotion of religion.

The Ten Commandments supporters are saddened. "I really was sad. Probably more shocked than sad," said one. Another supporter said "the Ten Commandments are still the Ten Commandments. And they're going to be here regardless of if you move them out of the building or you could destroy them if you want. But they're still going to be here on Earth and still going to be in our hearts."

The Reverend Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Fund says he does not feel defeated. "A setback sure. We wanted to the see the monument here. But you can see our people, we're still pressing on," he said.

Larry Darby, the Alabama representative of the American Atheists, said "[suspended Alabama Supreme Court Justice] Roy Moore is a renegade former Justice. He had been an embarrassment to the bench and bar as well as the law-abiding citizens of Alabama."

In a written statement, Justice Moore said, "it is a sad day in our country when the moral foundation of our law and the acknowledgment of God have to be hidden from public view to to appease a federal judge".

So what's next? Alabama State Senator Hank Irwin plans to draft a Ten Commandments bill that would permit the Ten Commandments in any building.

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