Posted by: amyc on Nov 01, 2012
Government officials in Montana have been making the right calls lately on separation of church and state, so we want to give them the kudos they deserve.
In Kalispell, the city council recently declined an offer to install a monument with the Ten Commandments in its Depot Park.
"It’s divisive and it could possibly bring us into a legal entanglement we don’t need," council member Randy Kenyon said about moving the Ten Commandments to the city park. "I would vote against this."
The Ten Commandments and several other stone monuments to the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and preambles to the U.S. and Montana constitutions are currently located behind the Flathead County courthouse.
Some, including the local Eagles fraternal order want them moved to a more visible location.
But we agree with Kalispell Mayor Tammi Fisher who said she "will be the first person to donate to a fund" to move the Ten Commandments and other monuments onto private property.
Such displays don't belong on public property, even if key documents in our history are included. Government must not endorse religion.
In Glendive, the school board recently made changes to its policies to better reflect the separation between school officials and religious activities. Those policies are a great representation of how the First Amendment protects students' right to practice their own faiths, but also protects them from having schools impose religion on them. A key change was the removal of the reference to student speakers at graduation offering prayers.
Still, some officials don't get it.
The ACLU of Montana has asked the Department of Justice to look into an Illinois judge's practice of sentencing young offenders to Pinehaven Christian Children's Ranch in St. Ignatious.
Sentencing children to religious schools is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state.