A federal judge has agreed that a monument displaying the Ten Commandments in front of Bloomfield, NM’s City Hall is a violation of the First Amendment. Reagan-nominated U.S. District Judge James A. Parker ruled last week that the monument was a tacit endorsement of Christianity and must be removed from city property.
“In view of the circumstances surrounding the context, history, and purpose of the Ten Commandments monument,” he wrote, ” it is clear that the City of Bloomfield has violated the Establishment Clause because its conduct in authorizing the continued display of the monument on City property has had the primary or principal effect of endorsing religion.”
The monument was erected three years ago in front of Bloomfield City Hall by the city council despite protests from the local population. The ACLU sued the city on behalf of two Wiccan residents, Jane Felix and Buford Coone of the Order of the Cauldron of the Sage.
An inscription on the monument reads, “presented to the people of San Juan County by private citizens recognizing the significance of these laws on our nation’s history,” which the ACLU said was an endorsement of the Judeo-Christian religion.
“One of the commandments is thou shalt put no God before me, this is clearly not a historical document, but is in fact a religious doctrine,” said Alexandra Smith, Legal Director and Attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico.
Bloomfield Mayor Scott Eckstein said that he was “surprised and had never really considered the judge ruling against it because it’s a historical document just like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The intent from the beginning was that the lawn was going to be used for historical purposes, and that’s what the council voted on.”
The city has until September 10 to remove the monument.
h/t: Christian News