Ten Commandments Monuments on Public School Grounds Violates Religious Liberty, ACLU Charges

February 9, 1999 12:00 am

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Tuesday, February 9, 1999

CLEVELAND–The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is filing suit in federal court to challenge the placement of religious monuments depicting the Ten Commandments outside high schools in Adams County, ACLU officials announced today.

The constitutional challenge, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, was brought on behalf of Barry Baker, a school district resident who said he finds the presence of the religious monuments on public property offensive to his sensibilities. A total of four monuments were placed in front of four different high schools, all in Adams County.

Baker is being represented by Cincinnati attorney William Jacobs, who is acting as a volunteer attorney in cooperation with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

ACLU Legal Director Raymond Vasvari said the installation of the monuments on public property is a “textbook violation” of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits government endorsements of religion.

“The Ten Commandments are more than just a moral code, they are a sacred religious text, which Christians and Jews believe to be the word of God,” Vasvari said. “Under our Constitution, the government has no business erecting, accepting or maintaining religious monuments on public property.”

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