WASHINGTON – Court decisions, public apathy and timidity by churches and synagogues left the Ten Commandments on the run for decades.
But, as America slides inevitably into a moral morass, the tide is reversing, says Joseph Farah, the leader of a new campaign to place the Ten Commandments in front of more American eyeballs than ever before.
“The Ten Commandments are back,” Farah proclaimed after the American Civil Liberties Union lost in stunning style its six-year campaign to tear down a Ten Commandments monument at the Dixie County, Fla., courthouse.
The case fell apart after the plaintiff, an anonymous North Carolina man who had planned to come to Dixie County to live in his RV, decided not to move there after all.
Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice M. Paul dismissed the case without prejudice earlier this month, because the plaintiff lacked standing.
In February 2007, the ACLU filed a lawsuit naming “John Doe” as the plaintiff. Paul ruled in 2011 that the monument was an establishment of religion, and awarded $130,000 in legal fees to the ACLU. He then stayed his order, and was reversed by the 11th Circuit. After the plaintiff pulled out, the case fell apart.
Harry Mihet, an attorney at Liberty Counsel, which represented Dixie County, found the outcome pleasing: “We went from an order that ‘the monument goes and you have to pay $130,000 to the ACLU,’ to ‘the monument stays, and the ACLU has to pay a total of $3,600.’”
The five-foot-tall 12,000-pound monument was erected at the top of the courthouse steps in 2006 after Joe Anderson Jr., chairman and founder of Lake City-based road builder Anderson Columbia, purchased it for $20,000. He has not only funded several other Ten Commandments monuments in Florida, but also a “revival” mobile display. It’s parked somewhere until legal threats arise, and then it takes off down the road.
With the help of donations, Farah says he believes the campaign can place hundreds of billboards across the United States.
“The purpose is to remind the public of the moral law to which all people are accountable whether they like it or not – even the ACLU,” said Farah. “America needs a set of social common denominators if we are to remain a self-governing society. No such document has ever been produced by the hand of man. For 3,000 years, empires have come and gone based on their adherence to the Ten Commandments. Millions of people have perished or been brought to salvation by God’s teachings about right and wrong. That’s what this campaign is all about – and I pray Americans will respond in partnership with me in dramatic style.”