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A federal appeals panel has ruled that a courthouse in central Kentucky can keep a Ten Commandments display because other historical documents are included. A three-judge panel for the U.S. 6th Circuit Court upheld a lower court decision favoring a display at the Mercer County courthouse in Harrodsburg, Ky., that shows the commandments alongside nine other documents with equal font size, including the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. The ruling said the American Civil Liberties Union relied on a false understanding of the Constitution in opposing the display and this “construct has grown tiresome…. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some cases, accommodation of religion.” In Mercer County, “when placed on a level with other documents having such unquestioned civil, legal and political influence, the Commandments’ own historical significance becomes more pronounced,” Circuit Judge Richard Suhrheinrich wrote for the panel. Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed Ten Commandments displays in Kentucky’s Pulaski and McCreary counties, but permitted a Texas exhibit that included other historical markers and had existed for decades. The ACLU has not decided whether to appeal to the full 6th Circuit court or the U.S. Supreme Court. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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