The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania over a six-foot tall Ten Commandments monument at the front entrance of Valley High School in New Kensington, PA. The monument, like many others around the country, was donated by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles as part of a marketing campaign for the Cecil B. DeMille movie The Ten Commandments. In a press release the group says:
FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott first sent a letter in March to the District Superintendent requesting that he remove the Ten Commandments monument because it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The district failed to move the monument or even write an official response.
Board President Robert Pallone, however, wrote in March on the Facebook webpage called “KEEP THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AT VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL,” that the district would not “remove this monument without a fight !!!!!” Clergy in the area held a rally during the school day in front of Valley High School to support the decision to retain the religious monument.
The complaint notes the display “lacks any secular purpose,” citing Stone v. Graham, a 1980 Supreme Court decision which ruled the Ten Commandments may not be posted in public school classrooms, because “The pre-eminent purpose” for doing so “is plainly religious in nature.”
You can read the full complaint here. One of the plaintiffs in the case is requesting the right to remain anonymous because of the risk of retaliation for filing the suit. As my forthcoming book will document in great detail, that fear is well-founded.