Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Municipality Ten Commandments suit

Suit has been filed against the City of Lockland, Ohio in federal district court for its display of the Ten Commandments outside of its town hall by a resident who "wants the sign removed and a court order to prevent any future displays of 'religious fables and myths'," a Cincinnati Enquirer article said this morning.

The sign has been there for as long as many can remember but wasn't noticed by the plaintiff until recently. Christopher Knecht, filing the suit Monday, told the Enquirer, that "when he saw the Ten Commandments there, it dawned on him this is one of those towns that used a theological basis in their decisions... This is a Mayberry type of town and they're still stuck in the 20th century."

Knecht’s suit, filed in late September, initially claims he was bitten and attacked several times by a neighbor's Rottweiler and police officers not only failed to cite the neighbor but instead began retaliating against him for his frequent complaints. The display of the Ten Commandments is a small but crucial part of Knecht's suit, in which he argues that the village is corrupt and forgoes basic state laws for "theological principles."

Along with wanting the Ten Commandments removed – and $500, 000 in punitive damages-- Knecht is also asking the Court to "issue injunctive relief requiring the defendants to provide intelligent principles to guide the Village of Lockland, Ohio's Police Department in its enforcement & application of local, state, and federal laws."

The Enquirer's article recollects several other such recent arguments in the area, including a display of the Ten Commandments being removed from an eastern Kentucky courthouse in lieu of a federal lawsuit claiming improper government endorsement of religion back in July. (Articles Here & Here; Court’s Holding Here )

Coincidentially, SCOTUSBLOG reported that "the U.S. Supreme Court was returning to its elusive pursuit of clarity about the constitutionality of placing religious symbols on public property in a case that is complicated by questions over who has a right to challenge such displays and over Congress's power to protect such a symbol by transferring it to private hands," this morning. ( Questions Asked )( Petition for Certiorari )( Brief in Opposition )

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