Judge: Religious monument must go

Judge: Religious monument must go

Bloomfield City Hall in New Mexico has been given until September 10, 2014, to remove a Ten Commandments monument, originally placed on the lawn of the building in 2011.

District Court Judge James Parker ruled last week that the granite monument violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

A lawsuit demanding the removal of the monument was filed in 2012 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico on behalf of two Bloomfield residents who objected to the thing, believing it to be an unconstitutional endorsement of a particular religion.

It was the brainchild of Kevin Mauzy, pictured above, a former member of the Bloomfield city council.

According to this report, Mauzy said he ran on a campaign to beautify the city, and the Ten Commandments monument was part of that effort. He said of the Ten Commandments:

That was one of the earliest documents. It was essential in the founding of our country.

Said ACLU of New Mexico’s Executive Director Peter Simonson:

This decision is a victory for the First Amendment’s protections against government endorsed religion. We firmly support the right of individuals, religious groups, and community associations to publicly display religious monuments, but the government should not be in the business of picking which sets of religious beliefs belong at city hall. We hope that the Ten Commandments monument will find a new home on private property in the city where people can continue to enjoy it.

In its decision, the court concluded:

… The Ten Commandments monument is government speech regulated by the Establishment Clause because the Ten Commandments monument is a permanent object located on government property and it is not part of a designated public forum open to all on equal terms …

In view of the circumstances surrounding the context, history, and purpose of the Ten Commandments monument, it is clear that the City of Bloomfield has violated the Establishment Clause because its conduct in authorizing the continued display of the monument on City property had the primary or principal effect of endorsing religion.

The religious monument was dedicated on July 4, 2011, with a religiously themed ceremony presided over by Mauzy.

ACLU of New Mexico’s Legal Director Alexandra Freedman Smith added:

Bloomfield residents come from many different religious traditions, and the government should never discriminate amongst them by lifting up one above the other. Not only does this monument run afoul of the First Amendment, but it sends an exclusionary message to members of the community who do not subscribe to the particular set of religious beliefs inscribed there. The government belongs to us all, and it should not marginalize community members because of their faith.

Hat tip: Penigma.


19 responses to “Judge: Religious monument must go”

  1. Broga says:

    The UK is overdue for similar robust action to remove the way religion gives a false impression of its extent and the acceptance of its superstitions. For example:

    the insertion of religion into BBC programmes including the deluge every Sunday;

    faith schools; 26 unelected bishops collecting £300 a day in the House of Lords;

    chaplains in the military and in hospitals;

    the infamous chancel tax;

    compulsory act of worship in schools;

    prayers before government sessions;

    the C.of E. as the state religion.

    That will do to be going on with.

  2. barriejohn says:

    But ALL OUR LAWS are based upon the Ten Commandments! How could they?

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    Which Ten Commandments did they use? And did they include the penalties for disobedience?

  4. L.Long says:

    But just as ‘which 10 bad suggestions are used in law’ is the question Why can’t the dim xtians see that they are not the bases for ANY laws in any secular society??? Don’t they know how to read???
    If the monument to the 10 stupid suggestions had anything to do with the law that would be a logical question, but they have nothing to do with the law but have to to do with making the political statement being screamed out of the monument…. “WE ARE IN CHARGE, & DON’T YOU FORGET IT!!!’ And this is why it is very important to take them down, to show them that their fairy tale BS & the believers are not in charge.

  5. Paul Cook says:

    Can these people read at all? Do they posses even basic world knowledge available to everyone?

    [of the ten commandments] “That was one of the earliest documents. ”

    I think the Sumerians, Akkadians, Indians, Chinese, and Egyptians would have something to say about that statement. And thousands and thousands of years before the so called babble.

    As Barriejohn says ‘you couldn’t make this up’!, One of the earliest known tablets from the Sumerians, call it a document if you like, is funnily enough, the Epic of Gilgamesh!
    A beautiful story of the flood.
    I can recommend it for its pure beauty.

    this one was free on Kindle
    Peter Dyr [i skipped the modernist stuf in it]
    The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Teachings of Siduri and How Siduri’s Ancient Advice Can Help Guide Us to a Happier Life, Third Edition [Kindle Edition]

  6. Barry Duke says:

    One wag once suggested that there were originally 20 commandments, but Moses, being a shrewd negotiator, managed to beat the Almighty down to 10.

    A grumpy god finally relented when Moses played his trump card by pointing out that it simply wasn’t fair to expect an old geezer with lumbago to hump FOUR tablets of stone down a mountain.

  7. Newspaniard says:

    Hang on, that seems to remind me of a scene from a Mel Brooks film where Moses drops one of the tablets and says something like “I bring you fifteen oops, ten commandments…”

  8. L.Long says:

    Well reading the buyBull brings you 613 commands of gawd. And most are down right stupid to silly to terrible that no one does. And as AronRa points out the ’10 commands” stated in the buyBull as the real 10 are not the ones shown in the monument. Most xtians think they know but since most don’t read they don’t really know which is usual for them.

  9. Barry Duke says:

    It seems Moses was already stoned when he went to collect a new supply of tablets:

  10. barriejohn says:

    Newspaniard: “Verily do I say unto you, o ye of little faith, yer ’tis.”

  11. David Anderson says:

    This is OUTRAGEOUS I tell you. Furver PERSICKQUESHUN of CWISTJUN MERKINS in GOBS OWN COUNTRY. The USA fowndid by GOB for his baby JEBUS!!!!!11ELEBENTY111.

  12. David Anderson says:

    Sorry, that should have been OUTRAJIS. I’ll try to do better next time.

  13. Paul Cook says:


    this is a sign from gowd for sure.

    woman finds swastika inside chicken burger.


  14. Matt Westwood says:

    I would have been like: “See your swastika? Well I’ve EATEN IT!”

  15. barriejohn says:

    I’ve only just come across this. I expect many of you have read it already!

    “Prayer is the solution to some of the biggest problems students face.”


  16. Barry Duke says:

    Well, barrieJohn, if a McDonald’s employee can be “terminated” for buttering a swastika on a bun, I guess shooting atheists is a logical follow-though.

  17. Vanity Unfair says:

    What’s the problem here? The ten (plus a quick spec on altar-building) commandments date from the early part of the career of JHWH, the deity formerly known as El, when He (She? It? They?) was still making personal appearances and before He became a strictly studio act. That being so, we can be sure of the textual validity of the message and not have to work out the true meaning from secondary sources: plagues, floods, earthquakes or lightning strikes. The part that really intrigues me is Exodus 20, 26, ” Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.” This can only mean that, despite the claims of her disciples, Mary Quant did not invent the mini-skirt. Of course, it also means that JHWH didn’t have the foresight to invent underpants: a shocking omission for an omniscient deity.

  18. Norman Paterson says:

    If God is omnipresent, he is in my underpants already.