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National Park Service officials have reposted controversial, Bible-quoting plaques at the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon
According to the Arizona Republic, Park Service rangers yesterday reinstalled the three bronze plaques, which quote Psalms 68:4, 66:4 and 104:24 from the Bible, until officials can get more legal advice from the federal agency’s attorneys on whether they should remain.
WorldNetDaily reported the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Phoenix placed the signs on concession buildings at scenic overviews along the South Rim in the late 1960s. They have remained on display ever since.
But after receiving letters of concern from the American Civil Liberties Union, the federal government decided the signs at Hermits Rest, Lookout Studio and Desertview Tower 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 Arizona 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. “We hope for a suitable alternative location to allow the plaques to continue being an asset to the park for many future generations.”
Visitors to the national park were equally dismayed.
“We’ve had lots of calls, e-mails and letters from people saying they are sorry the plaques are being removed,” Linda Powell, secretary to park superintendent Joe Alston, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Los Angeles-based talk show host and WND columnist Dennis Prager urged listeners to call state and national officials to protest the removal of the signs, according to the Star-Telegram.
Although the signs are back up, the spokesman for the Park Service told the Los Angeles Times they may be removed again following the review by the attorneys.
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