A couple of years ago, the Rutherford County Commission voted to erect a plaque in the courthouse containing the 10 Commandments. It was billed as part of the "Foundation of Law and American Government." Naturally, the ACLU filed suit on behalf of several county residents, and not surprisingly, considering countless precedents from around the country, the U.S. District Court in Nashville, speaking through Judge Robert Echols, ruled the display unconstitutional and ordered it removed.
Echols also ruled that under the applicable statutes the county was obliged to pay the legal fees of the ACLU, a thoroughly predictable and established consequence of such a suit. The ACLU computed their fees at $70,000, and it looks like the county is going to settle the claim for $50,000 and pay
Mayor Ernest Burgess said the display was "for secular purposes only" and had nothing to do with governmental promotion of Judeo/Christian religion. Let's see what the first
four commandments say:#1 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
#2 Thou shalt not make for yourself any graven image.
#3 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.
#4 remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Those commandments don't seem to have much to do with the "Foundation of Law and American Government," and they're certainly not "secular."
One commissioner, Michael Sparks, said that the whole thing was "a shakedown by the ACLU" for $50,000 which the county could have better spent on education. Maybe they should have done so in the first place.
In any event, the county is soon to be $50,000 poorer. Makes you wonder what their lawyers were telling them.