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Jonesborough considering displaying historical documents

Jonesborough considering displaying historical documents

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 8:00 pm

JOHNSON CITY (AP) — The City of Jonesborough is considering utilizing a law that allows public buildings to display “historically significant documents,” such as the Ten Commandments.
The Johnson City Press ( reports that Washington County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on Monday that authorizes the county to form a committee that would design and recommend the documents for possible display in the George P. Jaynes Justice Center.
The law allows documents to be displayed in the form of statues, monuments, memorials, tablets or in any other way that in the words of the legislation “respects the dignity and solemnity of such documents.”
Besides the Ten Commandments, other possible documents include the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has stated counties that act with a predominate purpose of advancing religion in placing a monument or plaques that includes the Ten Commandments would violate the Constitution.
County Attorney John Rambo said the resolution was not about the placement of the Ten Commandments, and that a letter he wrote to commissioners earlier this month was aimed at explaining legal interpretations and possible constitutional ramifications for doing so.
“The government activity in establishing a historical documents display for county courthouses is allowed only if it has a secular purpose; it must not have a primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, or foster an excessive entanglement with religion,” Rambo wrote.
Information from: Johnson City Press,

Published in The Messenger 6.27.12

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