KY Lawyer: 10 Commandments Displays Legal

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An attorney for two Kentucky counties says their respective courthouse displays of Ten Commandments are for educational and historical purposes.

It's a new argument in a 10-year battle over how the commandments can be legally displayed on government property.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that religious materials are allowed as long as they are part of a historical or educational display.

The counties' lawyer recently told a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals the new displays satisfy that requirement.

"They have done everything possible to wipe away the past," said attorney Mathew Staver. "They have indicated their purpose is completely and wholly secular."

However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says the counties are still trying to promote religion.

"This was a lawyer telling a client, 'You've got a better chance of winning if you do this,"' said ACLU lawyer David Friedman. "It was a litigation-driven resolution ... We have to look at the rest of the history."

The court has not yet announced when it will make a ruling in the case.

*Originally published October 21, 2009.

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