Town to Display New Age Monument?

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The debate over freedom of speech and religion is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court again.

This time, the Court will decide whether a Utah city must allow a New Age religion that promotes pyramids, mummification, and sexual ecstasy to build a monument to its beliefs on public property.

The group, Summum, says if the Ten Commandments are allowed to be displayed in public, so should their monument.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit determined that the Salt Lake County government in Utah had created a forum by displaying the Ten Commandments, and by doing so, other forms of speech should be allowed.

Instead of allowing Summum to erect its monument, the city of Pleasant Grove removed the Ten Commandments monument.

According to their Web site, the Summum religion says they are "not interested in the removal of the Ten Commandments from government property. Rather, Summum wishes to erect its own monument next to the Ten Commandments. Summum wishes to exercise its right to freedom of speech."

Jay Sekulow with the American Center for Law and Justice says this case before the Supreme Court is extremely significant.

"We're delighted that the Supreme Court agreed to take this critical case," said Sekulow, whose group is representing Pleasant Grove.

The city will argue that "mayhem" would result if every city, county, or state is forced to allow "alternatives" to be set up alongside government-sponsored monuments.

"If you were to allow this kind of rationale, the government. Can you imagine if a group wanted to post a 'statue of tyranny'?" Sekulow asked.

Summum, a religion based on Gnostic Christianity and Egyptian customs, is considered a new age religion that started in 1975 by a former Mormon.

They claim to know the seven secrets of the universe, or the "Seven Aphorisms," that lead to personal ascension -- "psychokinesis" -- the idea that the mind is the universe, "correspondence," "vibration," "opposition," "rhythm," "cause and effect" and "gender." These are the tenets Summum wishes to memorialize in a public forum.

They also mummify followers when they die.


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