The Iowa Family Policy Center plans a noon-hour rally at the state capitol to ask the state supreme court to let a copy of the Ten Commandments be put into the state’s new 30-million-dollar court building. The Center’s president Chuck Hurley says a private citizen offered to donate documents to the building just completed to house the state’s appellate court and supreme court. His group has asked the state Supreme Court three times to reconsider its decision to not let the Ten Commandments be part of a display in the building so they’ll ask the public to make that request, and to put signs with the Ten Commandments in their own yards. The group will have yard signs available for those who like that proposal. Hurley says a woman, identified as Nancy Elder, wanted the new building to “get off to a good start.” He says she wanted a display of documents framed in cherrywood that would match the building’s decor, and worked with another woman to make sure any display they offered was constitutional. Hurley says the donor who wanted to give copies of documents to be hung in the new court chambers thought it would be acceptable. Three weeks ago the group got a decision that all the documents “were O.K. with the court” except the document listing the ten commandments. Hurley says a lawyer told them it would be acceptable but when they sent the court a list of “founding documents” they wanted to donate to the building, it was returned with the Ten Commandments crossed out, and the word “no” written by that entry. Hurley says it’s not unusual for a private citizen to donate something for a public building or institution. He gives as examples people who give equipment to a school or booster club, and says many paintings and other displays in public buildings have been donated. While Hurley says such items would have to be “appropriate” and match the decor, he says the donor planned a nice gift of documents that would be a good display in the brand-new court building.The parchment prints were framed and matted, and he says the display was going to cost several thousand dollars. Hurley can’t say whether the old Supreme Court chambers in the state capitol building had a copy of the Ten Commandments.
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