District Judge Michael F. Urbanski issued the order after the Giles County School District was sued by the ACLU for purportedly violating the First Amendment by endorsing a particular religion. The lawsuit was triggered by a complaint from a single student that was offended by the commandments, who stated in court document that the display “makes me feel like an outsider because the school is promoting religious beliefs that I do not share.”
“Filing this lawsuit has not been easy, and I would not have done it if I were not genuinely disturbed by the Ten Commandments in the school,” the student added, whose identity has been concealed. “I have had to go against school officials who have influence over my life and future.”
The student’s parents intially moved upon the Freedom from Religion Foundation to draft a letter to the school district, demanding that the Commandments be removed. When the school district refused, the ACLU filed suit.
After reviewing the arguments from both sides, Urbanksi, who was appointed by Barack Obama in 2011, decided to come to a compromise. He instructed the Giles County School District to remove the first four of the commandments, which reference God.
“If indeed this issue is not about God, why wouldn’t it make sense for Giles County to say, ‘Let’s go back and just post the bottom six?,'” Urbanksi stated.
However, many are baffled by Urbanski’s ruling.
“The reason those six come second is because the Bible is saying that only when God is revered can mankind avoid the pitfalls of committing adultery, murder, stealing, etc. It’s by putting God first that we can put all other loves in perspective,” Lauren Green of Fox News stated.
The Ten Commandments display had been gifted to the Giles County School District by a local pastor approximately ten years ago following the Columbine massacre in Colorado. While the school has received complaints in recent years, and has removed the Commandments on several occasions, overall the public has overwhelmingly supported the Biblical display.
Judge Urbanski has scheduled mediation between the ACLU and the school district for June. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, the judge will step in and make a final ruling.