A plaque of the Ten Commandments which has stood at an Ohio middle school for close to 100 years has been removed after an atheist group complained it violated the separation of church and state.
The plaque was a gift from the class of 1926 to the school district in 1927. The plaque has become recognized as part of the history and tradition of New Philadelphia city schools.
Jesus said: “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” – Luke 6:28
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.” – Acts 3:17
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), one of the nation’s largest atheist groups, wrote in a complaint that the plaque the Bible’s core teaching in the Old Testament was a “flagrant violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”
“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,” the complaint added.
“Schoolchildren already feel significant pressure to conform to their peers. They must not be subjected to similar pressure from their schools, especially on religious questions.”
“We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
While the school district recognizes the historical importance of the plaque, it also realizes that it would simply be too costly to attempt to defend keeping the historic object and, ultimately, distract it from providing education.
“Despite offers from local law professionals to help the district, the ‘costs’ of defending are substantial,” New Philadelphia Schools Superintendent David Brand said in a statement. “In addition to funding multi-year litigation, the District will divert staff, time, and energy from the District’s true purpose — student learning.”
“We work hard with our own hands. When we are vilified, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;” – 1 Corinthians 4:12
“The District will review the process to donate the plaque to preserve the history of the 92-year-old Ten Commandments plaque,” Brand added in the statement.