Va. Ten Commandments Dispute Heads to Court

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A federal court will hear the case of a Ten Commandments display in a southwest Virginia high school on Monday.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia will hear arguments in the case involving a high school student and the student's parent who claim the display violates the student's First Amendment rights because it endorses a particular religion.

The Giles County School Board had taken down the Ten Commandments as a part of a display of historical documents.

Those documents included a picture of Lady Justice, the text of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the Bill of Rights, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Mayflower Compact and the Magna Carta.

When local residents and students protested the move, the board moved to add the Commandments back to the display.

The Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit, pro-bono legal-assistance group affiliated Liberty University, is representing the school board.

In papers filed with the court, Attorney Matthew D. Staver claims the display isn't meant to promote Christianity.

"The Board merely included one religious document in a display containing numerous historical documents that influenced the development of the laws in the nation and in Virginia," he wrote.

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