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Crowd praises the return of 10 Commandments

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Hundreds gathered to watch the Ten Commandments being replaced after eight years. A 2002 ruling forced lawmakers to remove the historical documents.

By Linda B. Blackford – lblackford@herald-leader.com
LEITCHFIELD — Amid anthems, hymns, and plenty of “amens,” a copy of the Ten Commandments was placed back on the wall at the Grayson County courthouse Monday, almost a decade after it was removed.

“We all love Jesus Christ and anything that comes with it,” exclaimed Steve Mahurin, a minister who works for the road department, one of several hundred residents who showed up for the ceremony. “This represents our savior, and it’s the law we have to go by.”

The ceremony was sparked by the Jan. 14 decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down a lower court order. According to the 2-1 decision, posting the Ten Commandments did not violate the U.S. Constitution because it was part of a display of historical documents, including the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact and the U.S. Bill of Rights.
A federal judge in Louisville had previously ordered county officials to remove the Ten Commandments from the display because it violated the constitutional rule against government endorsing or promoting religion.

But the Grayson County Judge Executive Gary Logsdon says the Sixth Circuit judges got it right.

“This brings back our heritage, and let us know how our forefathers founded this country,” said Logsdon, who also keeps a copy of the Commandments in his office.

Magistrate Presto Gary said the fight over the Ten Commandments, which started in 2001, has been a long one.

“If we don’t get something back for Christian people to believe in, what kind of shape will our country be in?” he asked. “But we had faith and kept praying.”

“It’s something good for everybody to live by,” added fellow magistrate Jason Dennis.

Harold Johnson also agreed.

“Our country was founded on Christian values,” he said. “This was taking our Christian values away from us.”

As a paper copy of the Ten Commandments was placed carefully back in their frame, the crowd spontaneously broke into God Bless America, and Amazing Grace. Afterwards, everyone crowded around a big sheet cake emblazoned with an American flag.

The fight may not be completely over.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, who represented two county residents seeking to remove the display, said they are reviewing whether to appeal the decision. Judge Karen Nelson Moore strongly dissented from the other judges on the appeals court.

For instance, the motion to approve the display was that the county “place the Ten Commandments in the courthouse along with the historical documents,” Moore said in her dissent.

“The county’s asserted purpose here — that the display was posted for educational or historical reasons — is a sham and should be rejected,” Moore wrote.

The other two judges disagreed.

The available evidence did not support a finding that promoting religion was the main reason for approving the display, the majority opinion said.

The officials didn’t pass any resolutions stating a clear religious purpose and had little official involvement in the display, the opinion said.

Kentucky has been a key battleground on the issue of the Ten Commandments, with some of the most prominent cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court originating here.

The ACLU and residents have sued a number of counties in the last decade over posting of the Ten Commandments, including Pulaski, McCreary, Harlan, Mercer, Rowan, Garrard and Jackson.

In his remarks Monday, Logsdon noted that Grayson County has no costs in the case, as they are being picked up by the Liberty Counsel, a conservative non-profit based in Virginia and Florida.

A federal judge ordered the Grayson commandments taken down in May 2002 as part of the challenge by the ACLU and local residents.

Yesterday’s ceremony ended with a prayer by Clearview Baptist Church minister Chester Shartzer.

“I’m so proud of the Christian leadership we’ve had in Grayson County,” he said.

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Comments

5 Responses to “Crowd praises the return of 10 Commandments”
  1. DerbyDemon says:

    Ahhhh, yes. With all the real troubles this Commonewalth is facing, it’s nice to know the Ten commandments are now posted in Grayson County. That should take off at LEAST 50% from our budget deficit.

  2. Marvin says:

    Removing a cheap framed xeroxed copy of the 10 Commandments from a wall was taking away your christian values? That’s pretty sad.

  3. Michael says:

    Oy vey. Oh wait? In a Christian nation like ours, am I allowed to use Jewish expressions?

  4. KYimmagrant says:

    How nice that they chose to do this on MLK Day, when the courthouse should of been closed. Also after reading and hearing about all of the ethics and misuse of taxpayers money problems there are in the local and state government, maybe it is the ones that work there that should be reading those Ten Commandmants, especially the ones that says that shall not steal and thou shall not lie.

    • texpete says:

      Congratulations bet JC ran to St Peter in person to make sure he spelled your names right and put you at the top of the list. If you need this to show the world you love Jesus, you must be insecure or dishonest about your beliefs. Wanna show the world Christian values? Compassion and tolerence is a great start. I have no problem with people who exersizing their constutional rights for freedom of speech and religion anywhere they like as long as they do not conflict with those other pesky rights you seem to neglect. Plain and simple this country was founded by people who were tired of taking the Church of England’s crap. Great effort went into drafting a document to prevent the government from ever imposing it’s will on every citizen uniformly. The judicial system is what keeps order in the nation for one reason and one reason only. Every American trusts they will be treated fairly, tried with evidence, vendicated if wrongly accused. The only two of the 10 are even illegal in most places. Having them up is a way of intimidating people. While letting them know the Baptist decide right and wrong and the Judge is going to ask Jesus what to do? I’ll bet divorce cases involving adultry or drinking issues are a real hoot. Doubt anyone gets help with addiction or much sympathy for depression. PS What’s the difference between a Baptist and a Catholic? Catholics will wave to you in the liquor store. Let me save you time when you ask me to accept Jesus. I was Baptized in my 20s yes I was born again, I studied the Bible with a young Pastor who never pushed doctrine or the ol’ you must have blind faith or go to hell. So folks WWJD?

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