CADIZ, Ky. — A prominent professing atheist organization that targets what it believes are violations of the separation of Church and State is seeking the removal of a Ten Commandments painting in the office of a Kentucky county clerk.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to Carmen Finley, the clerk of Trigg County, to request that the painting be removed, citing an unidentified complainant.
“The Ten Commandments display violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” the correspondence read. “Given the content of the display and the fact that it originally appeared as a lone display, a reasonable observer would view it as an endorsement of religion by the county.”
It said that the first Commandment, which forbids mankind from having other gods other than Yahweh, “alone makes it obvious why the Ten Commandments may not be posted on government property.”
“The government has no business telling citizens which God they must have, how many gods they must have, or that they must have any God at all,” FFRF wrote. “There are ample private and church grounds where this religious display may be freely placed.”
The organization consequently asked that the painted be removed.
“How can nonbelievers feel welcome in the Trigg County clerk’s office when they have such an obviously biblical message staring them in the face?” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement.
It is not yet known whether Finley plans to respond.
As previously reported, the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Van Orden v. Perry upheld a Ten Commandments display at the Texas state capitol.
“Such acknowledgments of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America,” the court wrote. “We need only look within our own courtroom. Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze.”
“Similar acknowledgments can be seen throughout a visitor’s tour of our nation’s capital. For example, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building since 1897,” it continued. “And the Jefferson Building’s Great Reading Room contains a sculpture of a woman beside the Ten Commandments with a quote above her from the Old Testament (Micah 6:8).”
“A medallion with two tablets depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the national archives,” the court outlined. “Inside the Department of Justice, a statue entitled “The Spirit of Law” has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments lying at its feet. In front of the Ronald Reagan Building is another sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments.”