$25,000 Donated Toward Rebuilding Arkansas’ 10 Commandments Monument

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

Film executives donated $25,000 Thursday to rebuild and reinstall the 10 Commandments monument on the grounds of Arkansas’ state capitol.

Executive producers of the “God’s Not Dead” film franchise, Troy Duhon and Bob Katz, presented the donation to Republican Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert at a news conference, alongside representatives from media groups.

The $25,000 donation brings the total of private funds raised for the rebuilding of the monument to $55,000, according to Arkansas Online. Mike Berry, deputy general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, also attended to explain the legality of the monument.

“The law is clearly on the side of the 10 commandments monument, however, and so any lawsuit that anybody tried to bring to try to force the removal or destruction of the 10 commandments monument would be fruitless,” Berry told The Daily Caller News Foundation. 

The ACLU threatened to file a lawsuit against the installation of the 10 commandments monument less than 24 hours after the original was installed.

Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Ark., beat the ACLU to the punch, however, when he filmed himself ramming his truck into the monument, shattering the statue to pieces. While the ACLU has not yet issued a statement about the second monument, Berry said he is confident the group will have no legal standing to challenge it in light of SCOTUS’ ruling in Van Orden v Perry, which upheld the legality of the 10 Commandments monument at the Texas state capitol.

“There was a 10 Commandments monument on a county courthouse property in the town of Plattsmouth, Nebraska and the federal court of appeals there said ‘look the Supreme Court has already given us guidance on this, we have to follow that precedent, and so if the Supreme Court said the 10 Commandments in Texas is constitutional then the one here in Nebraska is constitutional.’ And I believe a court would be bound to follow those precedents in Arkansas as well,” Berry told The DCNF.

The Arkansas monument will be identical to the monument in Texas in every way, even down to the material used, which is granite taken from the same quarry that supplied the granite for Texas’ 10 Commandments monument.

The Supreme Court ruled against two different 10 Commandments displays in Kentucky in 2005, but Berry said there is a clear legal distinction between those monuments and the one the court upheld in Texas.

The difference lies in what constitutional lawyers call the purpose, history, context test, which determines whether the purpose of the monument, its historical significance relative to the surrounding area’s culture, and the physical placement of the monument are legally appropriate. Given that Arkansas’ monument will by identical to Texas’, which was deemed constitutional, Berry said it passes that test.

“Whatever Texas has done, and theirs is Constitutional, that’s what we’re going to do in Arkansas,” Berry told The DCNF. “So the monument is being put there on state capitol grounds in order to demonstrate the history and heritage of the rule of law in this country and the role that the 10 Commandments plays in the rule of law in our democracy, in our society, and the fact that it is the foundation of law for many societies and civilizations especially here in the United States. And it’s simply a reflection of that.”

The monument will be ready for installation in two months.

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Tags : aclu arkansas first liberty institute ten commandments
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