Could one effect of the recession be that local freakazoids are less able to defend their unconstitutional proselytizing against lawsuits? In Kentucky, the same state in which county officials took their courthouse bible-thumping defense right to the Supreme Court just two years ago, another bunch of xian talibanistas has caved before the fight even began.
Jackson County officials have removed several displays of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse in the wake of a federal lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.
County officials removed 10 displays of the commandments from various locations in hallways, entrance ways, a stairwell and a courtroom.
"We think it's a positive first step and a reflection that the law is certainly pretty clear regarding this situation," said lawyer William Sharp of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. "We're hopeful that this is a sign that the parties would be able to reach a mutually agreeable resolution in short order."
Jackson County Judge-Executive William O. Smith did not immediately return a message seeking comment. But he told Hazard-based WYMT television that removing the commandments "was probably the best solution to the immediate problem."
He added: "From a financial standpoint, we do not want to jeopardize the taxpayers of our community and make them liable for something which is unfair."
(Local resident Eugene Phillips Jr. said) "My objection to the displays was never based on an opposition to religion generally or the Ten Commandments in particular but rather on my opposition to governmental expressions of religious endorsement," he said. "When government gets into the business of favoring one religion over another, or favoring religion over non-religion, it intrudes on the individuals' choice to believe or not as he sees fit."
Thank you, Mr. Phillips, and the ACLU of Kentucky, for your courage and determination.