Officials of a city in the United States are standing up for their Christian faith and are poised to defy a local court ruling declaring a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of their city hall as unconstitutional.
Members of the city council in Bloomfield City, New Mexico unanimously voted in favour of a proposal seeking a review by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals of a local court ruling calling for the removal of a Ten Commandments monument on city hall grounds, Christian News reported.
The council members based their decision on the fact that many of the city's 7,000 residents support the retention of the monument on the city hall grounds. In fact, some local residents even conducted a vigil around the monument last month.
At a recent city hall meeting, Anne Frost of Farmington, just outside of Bloomfield, equated defending the Ten Commandments Monument to standing up for God.
"We need to stand up for God, and then he will bless us," Frost said, Christian News said. "We need to eliminate this silliness of Church versus State."
The controversial monument was built in 2011, after a resolution was approved allowing private citizens to place historical displays at Bloomfield City Hall. Although the resolution was approved by the city council, the construction of the monument was funded by private money.
"Presented to the people of San Juan County by private citizens recognizing the significance of these laws on our nation's history," the inscription on the monument reads.
Wiccans Jane Felix and Buford Coone of the Order of the Cauldron of the Sage, however, claimed that they were offended by the monument. With the assistance of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, they filed a lawsuit against the city.
"Our clients who are not Christians, they took issue with this and it made them feel alienated from their community," Alexandra Smith, ACLU legal director, told local television station KRQE.
In 2014, U.S. District Judge James Parker ruled in favour of the Wiccans and the ACLU, saying the monument indeed violated the U.S. Constitution. The city filed an appeal, but the appeals court upheld the district court's ruling.