Friday, June 30, 2006

Cornerstones of Law and Order

I went to City Hall this morning to pay our utility
bill when I noticed some stone monuments placed in
front of the building in a plaza setting. They're
called the "Cornerstones of Law and Order" and consist
of marble slabs carved with the following:

The Bill of Rights
The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
The Declaration of Independence
The Mayflower Compact
The Magna Carta
and...The Ten Commandments

Anyone who's even paid slight attention to the media
the past few years knows that the presence of the Ten
Commandments on public property is controversial.
Grand Junction was apparently no exception.

Back in the 1950's the Fraternal Order of Elks gave
monuments of the Ten Commandments to many communities
around the country. In light of changing viewpoints
over time, the monuments started to fall out of favor
and many communities started removing them. However,
Grand Junction wanted to keep theirs and devised a way
in which they could do so without offending anyone.
(Or at least as few people as possible)
They created a "Cornerstones of Law and Order" plaza
in which other famous historical documents pertaining
to "Law and Order" were set side by side in a plaza.
Each monument also has an accompanying plaque stating
how the document is historical. There's even an
additional plaque letting people know that the monuments
are not in place to be insensitive to anyone's beliefs,
but are monuments to law and order.

In 2003, the ACLU saw differently, and challenged the
placement of the monuments. The ACLU lost in federal
court, ensuring that the monuments would remain.
Apparently, the Ten Commandments cannot stand alone,
but can remain if part of a display dedicated to law and
order. It also cost the city $50,000 to construct the
plaza and the mayor his job. He wanted to move the Ten
Commandments monument to a nearby church, but the city
residents disagreed and voted him out of office.

I don't have an opinion either way about the monuments.
I can see that some people might have a problem with them,
but I don't think that pieces of rock on a lawn are that
big a deal. To each their own.

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