Thou shall not display the Ten Commandments

by | June 1, 2018 1:46 pm

Last Updated: June 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm

By Hansel Moore – contributor

A post was recently added to the Van Buren County Facebook page of new administration building with a photo of the Ten Commandments in the foreground.

It did not take long for someone 1,034 miles away to weigh in on the display as an “offensive travesty” greeting people in Van Buren Tennessee. Through the protective layers of anonymity of the internet, a verbal volleying occurred.

One man said, “It is a shame that the mayor does not respect the U.S. Constitution and is openly violating it with this post and the monument. Enjoy your lawsuit.”

County Mayor Greg Wilson took a moment to share his thoughts.

“[Man’s name], this is Greg Wilson, mayor of Van Buren County. Surely you know that the Constitution allows FREEDOM OF SPEECH, and Van Buren County has exercised that right! I am a Christian and proud of it, as you have stated the Bible is fiction I feel a deep need to pray for you, and I have for you already this morning, and I will continue to do so. I am not going to rant on Facebook, in fact I didn’t even have Facebook til I was alerted of your post. I do not intend to argue with you publicly in this forum, but I do invite you to visit our county, and I will be glad to speak with you personally. It is a sad day when people spend time in this environment, think of the good you could do for your community wherever you are from [man’s name]. [Man’s name] consider and reflect upon the following words: For God so loved this world he gave his only son so you would not perish but have everlasting life. I wish you well [man’s name] and I pray that you will find peace and just a reminder the Bible is not FICTION – it is the only way to everlasting life.”

A number of comments from Van Buren residents weighed in supporting Wilson’s statement.

[Woman] “Why do so many people outside of Van Buren County all of a sudden care about what we do/do not display? I don’t understand it. Has there not been a 10 Commandments sign in the jailhouse yard for a while now? If you don’t like our small town, why are you following our page?

[Woman] “I am so proud to be from a county who takes pride in believing in the good Lord. I am proud to see this here.

[Woman] “All the people responding that are not from Spencer, TN, how do you even know that this monument really exists? You don’t believe in a God you can’t see so why don’t you pretend our monument isn’t here since you can’t see it or touch it?”

Reportedly, the decision for the Ten Commandments’ display was made by a committee of Van Buren’s residents who supported the notion of placing the biblical granite mandate near the entrance of the administration building.

There were additional comments that were not supportive.

[Man] “I would expect no more, no less from Van Buren County…no sense of perception.”

[Man] “The rules are no different on this in your little town than anywhere else in this country. This is illegal, and it will come down.

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, please send a Letter to the Editor, to the Van Buren Eagle: kim@spartalive.com.

comments » 5

  1. Comment by Pastor Paul Allen

    June 1, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    I to like the Mayer will pray for this man. I just can’t believe that people whom claim to be so smart and so offended by Bible monuments and public statements are not offended by a lot of the other teaching dealing with different religion’s and beliefs. The Bible is the most proven and truthful document in history. The reason I believe so many people take offense to it is the same reason I did many years ago, I thought the Bible formed bounder’s around my life. It wasn’t until I gave my life to Christ that I discovered true freedom. So to whomever this man is and to any others who is affened by it, I will pray that you find the true freedom that I and many others have found in Jesus Christ. Stand Strong Van Buren County!

  2. Comment by Jason

    June 2, 2018 at 6:29 am

    No, the main issues here is the separation of church and state. No one is trying to take away the mayor’s freedom of speech.

    But what the mayor cannot do – legally cannot do – is use his office to promote any one religion, either on government property or using government funds.

    Imagine if the mayor was Muslim. Imagine the outcry if he tried to get passages from the Quran on the walls of the courthouse. There would be a massive public outcry!

    But if the mayor wants the Ten Commandments at the courthouse, he HAS to allow other religions to represent themselves. There was a famous case a while back concerning a nativity scene on a courthouse lawn. Soon a local Satanic church petitioned for a display of their own along side. And they won, of course. That didn’t sit well with the locals. Then the Muslims wanted representation too. Soon, their city council said courthouse lawn displays would no longer be allowed. Which is what should have happened at the beginning.

    And why is this important to those living outside Spencer? Because it’s important to keep the government out of religion. And it keeps happening all over. And just as we all should want the government to stay out of religious practices, so should we all want religion out of our government.

    So when the guy in the article says this action is illegal, he’s not making a threat, he’s stating a fact. The mayor simply cannot ignore the law.

  3. Comment by Debra

    June 2, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you, Jason!!

    The founding fathers of this country specifically wrote the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Federalist Papers to keep church and state separate. There is no mention of a god or christianity in any of these. While the founding fathers were all about freedom of religion, if religion was what one wanted to believe in, there was no intention to have a place for religion within the government. We are not a “christian” nation; instead, people can choose to worship, or not, however they want. No one religion supersedes the other. Any government entity, local all the way to federal, cannot pick or choose a certain religion to display.

  4. Comment by Kathy Zent

    June 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    I too will pray for this person who wants to destroy this monument simply because it’s the Word of God. People fear the Word of God because there is Power in the Word. They have no fear of other religions because there is no power. They feel the power and don’t understand it therefore want to destroy. Stand by the Word of God and display it knowing the Power it has.

  5. Comment by Pastor Paul Allen

    June 4, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    I will agree totally Jason the government should stay out of the church and the church out of the government, but complete separation of church and state was something that should ha e been considered from the very beginning. Our civil laws in this country are based now and has always been on the Ten Commandments and many of the others laws past down to Moses when he was leading the Israel Lites through the wilderness desirt.


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