Popular fixtures along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon are no more, after the National Park Service opts to remove Scripture-quoting plaques rather than tangle with the American Civil Liberties Union , according to the Arizona Daily Sun.
The Grand Canyon
The Sun reports the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Phoenix placed the signs, which quoted Psalms 68:4, 66:4 and 104:24 from the Bible, on concession buildings at Hermit’s Rest, Lookout Studio and Desertview Tower in the late 1960s.
But after receiving letters of concern from the ACLU, the federal government decided the plaques must go.
“The Department of Interior determined that the plaques were not appropriate for federal public facilities. The First Amendment prohibits the government from supporting a particular religion,” Maureen Oltrogge, spokeswoman for the Grand Canyon National Park, told the Sun. “It’s a difficult issue, but it is supported by numerous court decisions.”
The actual wording of the First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
The removal shocked members of the sisterhood.
“We were stunned when we heard the news that our three Scripture plaques at the Grand Canyon were suddenly removed. These plaques have inspired many of the awestruck beholders to admire and acknowledge the Creator of this majestic landscape spread before their eyes,” members said in a prepared statement sent to the Sun. “We hope for a suitable alternative location to allow the plaques to continue being an asset to the park for many future generations.”
The Grand Canyon was declared a national monument in 1908 and a national park in 1919.
Related special offer: