CitizenLink: Court Dismisses Bible Monument Challenge:


Court Dismisses Bible Monument Challenge

A federal appeals court dismissed a suit Tuesday in which the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sought removal of a Texas courthouse monument displaying a Bible.

Star of Hope Mission donated the monument in 1956 to honor philanthropist William Mosher. Local real estate agent Kay Staley complained that she was offended by the monument and sought assistance from the ACLU. In 2004, a district court ruled the monument in violation of the Establishment Clause.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case after courthouse officials took the monument down to prepare the grounds for renovation.

Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Legal Institute, said since the original district court decision hinged on the how the placement came about — not the display itself — the decision to dismiss the case has tremendous implications.

“Now the county has a clean slate, being free to properly and legally restore the monument and display the Bible unhindered by the efforts of those who seek the religious cleansing of our monuments and memorials,” Sasser said. “Hopefully, these attempts to disgrace the memory of a great and generous philanthropist are stopped for good.”

David Cortman, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said when the renovations are complete, he expects the monument to have a place.

“A passive monument acknowledging our nation’s heritage does not amount to an establishment of religion,” he said. “The monument will be back.”