Copies of the Ten Commandments, along with seven other historical documents, were hung in the Iowa Statehouse yesterday. The documents, which include the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence, are being displayed to commemorate the moral and legal underpinnings of the United States.
The ACLU affiliate, however, complained that only one version of the Ten Commandments (the King James version) was posted, thereby excluding versions used by Catholics, Lutherans and Jews. The ACLU said this was divisive and showed “government favoritism” of one religion over another.
The display was donated by private sources and was approved by Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants. Rants said, “If somebody finds it offensive, I hope they will come and talk to me about it.” The legal arm of the Iowa Family Policy Center pledged to fight any lawsuit brought by the ACLU.
Catholic League president William Donohue said the ACLU’s fears were unfounded:
“It is so refreshing to learn that the ACLU’s opposition to the Iowa display of the Ten Commandments is motivated out of concern for Roman Catholics. All along we thought the ACLU was simply opposed to any display of the Ten Commandments on public property. While we hate to sound ungrateful, we really don’t need the ACLU to protect us in this instance. In fact, the Catholic League would like to see the display of the Ten Commandments in every statehouse, and it matters not a whit whether it is the Catholic, Protestant or Jewish version.
“I have written to Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants informing him of the Catholic League’s position; a copy has also been sent to Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center.”