Saturday, April 10, 1999

Tablets not supportive of religion, board says

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Ten Commandments monuments on school grounds are not an endorsement of religious beliefs, the attorney for the Adams County school board argued Friday in response to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

        The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on behalf of Peebles resident Berry Baker, sued the Adams County/Ohio Valley school board in February in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. The lawsuit says the monuments' religious message is unconstitutional when displayed on public property, and they should be removed from in front of four Adams County high schools.

        The school board has decided to fight the lawsuit.

        The stone markers, which list the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments, were paid for by the Adams County Ministerial Association and set at the school entrances when the buildings were dedicated in fall 1997.

        Mr. Baker's lawsuit says the monuments' presence on school property is an endorsement of religion in general and the Protestant religion in particular.

        In court papers filed Friday, school board attorney C. Bronston McCord said the presence of the monuments does not indicate an endorsement by the board of religious beliefs, values and rules.

        The school board asked that the ACLU lawsuit be dismissed and that the plaintiffs pay court costs and attorney fees.


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- Tablets not supportive of religion, board says