New Kensington (PA) - A monument of the Ten Commandments from Valley High School in New Kensington must be removed. The monument was the center of a federal lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2012 on behalf of a local woman who claimed it was a strictly religious symbol offensive to her and her daughter, who attended Valley High at the time. Atheist Marie Schaub and her daughter sued to remove it and the case was eventually settled with the public school district promising to remove the display and pay out $163,500 in attorneys’ fees. This monument wasn’t destroyed; it was donated to the Mary Queen of Apostles School, operated by the archdiocese in Greenburg.
It wouldn’t be strange at all but it takes money to create a proper foundation for the monument. The school decided to raise an absurdly high amount of money to make the whole concept needed for the Ten Commandments sign. According to the site gofundme.com, they were hoping to raise $75,000.
“Putting our original plans on hold, we want to incorporate the community’s noble, historic monument into a new design in a way that showcases the Ten Commandments and makes a visible statement of the values we teach and live at MQA and in our community. To do this well will be costly. A professional team will help to create a concept for the monument and sign, which will need to be designed, erected, lit and landscaped.”
“The ability to pass on to the next generation the basic ethical and moral principles that we inherited is important to us,” they added. I didn’t know that that passing must go through a digital reader board which will feature one of the Ten Commandments each day as well as relevant announcements. Silly, don’t you think?
Superintendent John Pallone says the Ten Commandments will remain in the community for those who acknowledge their worth, while those who don't "can turn the other cheek, as we learn in the Bible." The problem is that in the three months' time the campaign has been active it has raised just over $4,500 from 60 donors. Jerry Zufelt, Catholic Diocese of Greensburg spokesman, said the campaign will need to change considering the response. “The scope of the project is being revisited, and we'll have an update for people soon,” he said. In the interim, the campaign organizers have lowered their fundraising goal to $25,000.
What happened to their initial goal? Maybe digital boards are cheaper now. The monument, which was donated to the Mary Queen of Apostles School, turned out to be very expensive investment. Then, it became little cheaper because the campaign wasn’t met with an appropriate response. Precisely, the monument can now be designed, erected, lit and landscaped for three times less money.
Photo Credits: The Christian Post