Ohio School Removes Ten Commandments Plaque After Being Accused of 'Promotion of the Judeo-Christian Bible
by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A plaque of the ten commandments bequeathed to an Ohio Middle school in 1926 and on display since then has been removed after the school received complaints from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, who said the plaque violated the First Amendment separation of church and state.
Joseph Welty Middle School in New Philadelphia, Ohio, drew the ire of the FFRF in April when a concerned parent allegedly tipped off the Wisconsin-based non-theist group to the existence of the plaque, which representative Christopher Line said unfairly marginalized non-believing students.
“The district’s promotion of the Judeo-Christian bible and religion over nonreligion impermissibly turns any non-Christian or non-believing student into an outsider,” he wrote in the group’s April letter to the school.
In June, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to keep a 40-foot cross memorializing World War I soldiers standing on public property, with Justice Samuel Alito, representing the majority opinion, saying a “presumption of constitutionality for longstanding monuments, symbols, and practices” ought to be afforded the Bladensburg cross and other civic memorials like it.
New Philadelphia schools superintendent David Brand cited this factor when he disagreed with the decision, saying “with over 90 years on display, the plaque is recognized as part of the tradition and history of New Philadelphia City Schools,” according to the Times Reporter newspaper.
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and has become an oft-cited reason for the removal of religious monuments by atheist groups.