10 Commandments monument delayed in Poteau
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
12/05/12 at 3:02 AM
Reluctantly, but wisely placing caution above fervor, the LeFlore County commissioners delayed a decision on whether to place a Ten Commandments monument on the county courthouse lawn.
Looking westward, the commissioners decided to wait and see what happens when the Ten Commandments monument recently placed on state Capitol grounds is challenged in court, as it almost surely will be.
Proponents of erecting the decalogue on state, county or city property point to a Supreme Court decision that upheld a Ten Commandments monument that was placed on state grounds at the Texas capital in Austin.
What they either leave out or fail to understand is that the Supreme Court allowed the Texas monument because there are 17 other monuments and 21 historical markers on the grounds "designed to illustrate the 'ideals' of those who settled in Texas and of those who have lived there since that time."
The court ruled that such monuments provide a historical rather than religious service. When the decision was rendered in 2005, the marker had been in place for more than 40 years.
What those proponents also fail to acknowledge is that the court, in the same session, ruled two newly erected monuments on Kentucky courthouse land unconstitutional.
"We would really like to put (the monument) up on our grounds, but at the same time, we have to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money," LeFlore County Commissioner Lance Smith said. "We're just going to hold off right now and wait to see how this turns out."
Defending the installation of religious monuments on taxpayer land can be costly. LeFlore County residents do not need the additional burden of paying for a defense that they are likely to lose.
Of course, all this could be easily solved by simply moving the monuments to private property. That, sadly, doesn't seem to appeal to the supporters.
The dilemma in LeFlore County is far from settled. It is simply delayed.
Original Print Headline: Waiting