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Why don't Christians use their property?

Wyoming County has an estimated population of 23,801, and from 2007 to 2012, almost 20 percent lived below the poverty level. It does not need any more trouble.

Yet the county has made national news twice in the last 30 days.

The first was for Wyoming County's starring role in a documentary, "Oxyana," about a little community with a big prescription drug abuse problem.

The second was for news that the county's Christian population, seeking to provide leadership in trying times, had without permission put up a monument

titled "The Anointed 10 Commandments of God" on the courthouse lawn.

The monument says the Commandments are "the laws of GOD for all men. They are anointed by GOD JEHOVA as a promise of everlasting life . . . Read these words of GOD, but do not hide, destroy, or remove them from the people he loves."

This caused Sarah Rogers, staff attorney for the West Virginia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, to signify that religious proclamations on public property raise constitutional questions and that she would be looking into the matter.

Wyoming County Commissioner Silas Mullins said he thinks the reaction to the monument in the County has been "very positive.

"The individuals (who put up the monument) who were the inspiration behind this, felt - and one in particular felt - he was directed by God and had a calling to do this," Mullins said.

Mullins indicated to the independentherald.com that he supported it personally and politically.

"We didn't put this up to advertise a religion," he said. "It was put there as a beacon and a light in the darkness."

A protracted dispute with the ACLU would do nothing to calm the waters in Wyoming County.

Christians are largely well-meaning people. Why they would pick a fight they could easily avoid is a mystery.

Nothing stops Christians - or Muslims or Jews or Druids or anybody else - from erecting monuments with meaningful religious messages.

But claiming a right to proclaim from public property is offensive. The ACLU is correct to question it.

Public property is neutral ground. It belongs to citizens of all persuasions.

People who feel directed by God to testify should do so on their own property, not the public's property.

It is every bit as powerful, and not one bit divisive.

 


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