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Brandi Swindell, of the Keep the Commandments Coalition
South Dakotans will be voting on abortion, Missourians on cloning human lives, and voters in Boise, Idaho, will be making a decision on a rock in park. But the vote in Idaho’s capital city is more than that; it’s a referendum on the values of Christianity in America.
That is how Brandi Swindell, a leader of the Keep the Commandments Coalition in Boise, feels about the effort in that city to restore a monument of God’s Biblical laws to a city park.
The issue is going before voters on Nov. 7 – for the first time in any American city – on whether the injunctions can and should be on public display.
“This is absolutely the first time in American history there will be a vote on the public display of the Ten Commandments,” she told WND yesterday. “We’re really excited to have his historic opportunity for our own community and the state of Idaho. This will be a huge win for the entire nation for religious freedom and the democratic process.”
If she seems jubilant, that’s because she’s confident. If confident, it’s because surveys have shown most people in Boise did not object to having the Ten Commandments on display in the city’s Julia Davis Park when they were there.
She’s excited because she views the referendum on the Ten Commandments as a referendum on the basis for them: God’s Word. “We’re all better off when we don’t lie, or steal or murder,” she said.
“It’s not about a stone in a park. We’re fighting for the Word of the living God, and the principles and truth found in the Ten Commandments. If we have them out where people can see them, and use them as a moral guide, we wouldn’t have abortion, we wouldn’t have cloning, we wouldn’t have euthanasia, that culture of death,” she said.
Boise’s Ten Commandments monument being removed from Julia Davis park
That, she said, is why the rock in a park vote is so much more than that; it could, if spread, make those votes on abortion, on cloning, and other life-or-death issues, moot.
“It would erase the culture of death,” she told WND. “That’s why it’s so critical.”
She said the vote will take the city’s religious agenda out of the hands of a few, select judges, and return it to the people, “where it belongs.”
Swindell noted that the recent attack on religious monuments extended only to Christianity: a monument to Anne Frank and a Black History Museum remain in the same park from which the Ten Commandments were banned.
“To me that’s religious bigotry,” she said.
The coalition is an ad hoc group made up of concerned citizens, civic groups, community and political leaders, churches and businesses.
The Idaho Supreme Court earlier ordered the election, concluding the city is required to hold an initiative election after the coalition collected more than 19,000 signatures on a petition.
“All we’ve asked for from day one is our day at the ballot box, and we’re finally going to get it,” Bryan Fischer, of the Idaho Values Alliance, told WND earlier.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles had donated a Ten Commandments monument to the city in 1965 to be placed in the park. That monument was removed in 2004 by city officials worried about the threat of lawsuits.
The city’s actions had been prompted by a demand from a Kansas personality. Rev. Fred Phelps, whose Westboro Baptist Church addressively stages protests at everything from the funerals of fallen soldiers to homosexual events, claimed he had a right to his own monument in the park.
To block Phelps, the Boise City Council voted to return the park’s existing stone Ten Commandments marker to the Fraternal Order of Eagles. The issue will require the city to take action on a request to return the monument if it is approved.
In South Dakota, voters are being asked to endorse a ban on abortion that was approved by their Legislature and signed by their governor last winter. In Missouri, voters are being asked to vote on a “ban” on cloning that actually would establish cloning for “research” as a constitutional right.
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