After the ACLU wrote a letter to authorities in Wyoming County, West Virginia, officials there have decided not to take down the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the courthouse. Predictably, the local elected officials are pretty much completely clueless.
Cochrane said the issue is whether the monument promotes Christianity over other religions, and he doesn’t think it does.
The group who raised money and erected the monument wanted to spread a message of good morality and not Christianity, he said.
“I researched different religions as far as whether the Ten Commandments is discriminatory or not,” Cochrane said. “Basically a type of Ten Commandments is cut across a lot of religions.”
The Ten Commandments have origins in Judaism and parallel scriptures appear in Islamic texts, he said.
Well yes, Christians, Muslims and Jews all consider the Ten Commandments to be God’s commands. But that rather obviously misses the point. “We’re not endorsing one religion, we’re endorsing three religions” is hardly a compelling argument.
Cochrane asked his Facebook friends for feedback and about 280 people of 300 responded in favor of the monument. Those who opposed feared it violates separation of church and state, he said.
“The true sense of what is the separation of church and state is the idea of the government putting one religion over another,” he said. “This case is a little bit different than what most people think of separation of church and state.”
The monument promotes laws that are based on some of the commandments and not any religion, he said. Also many people recognize the Ten Commandments as a universal code of conduct.
And so what if many people recognize them as such? They have every right to do so. That does not mean the government should be endorsing their religious beliefs. He says he’s open to putting up more monuments, so American Atheists has an opening there. But a suit should be filed first to see if it can be removed instead.