The Ten Commandments & a Menorah

About 16 years ago the Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit with our fair city to force the removal of a granite Ten Commandments display from the lawn of City Hall. It had been donated by a youth group in 1957. The monument was taken down.

Fast forward to today. The local Jewish community has erected a large menorah on the lawn of the same City Hall.

I am not offended by either the Ten Commandments or the menorah. I’d be ok if they were displayed side by side and maybe even have a Nativity scene thrown in. But what’s the difference? Doesn’t the menorah also violate the separation of church and state?

Maybe the outrage is yet to come!

Are there other holiday themed decorations associated with the display? There’s something called the Reindeer Rule that allows religious displays on public property if it is in context of a larger secular holiday display.

You might give us the name of your city so that we can see if any reaction has happened.

And you might want to contact Americans United for Separation of Church and State. They specialize in these actions.

As far as I know, there aren’t any other displays up for the holiday as of now.

I would never contact anyone or any organization about it. Like I said, it doesn’t bother me that it’s there. I just find it surprising that it is.

If I read the OP correctly, the Ten Commandments item was a permanent monument, while the menorah is just occasional, is that correct? I don’t have any issues with anyone using public spaces for whatever temporary thing they want to say or celebrate - that’s what makes them “public” spaces. However, putting some religion’s permanent stamp on a public space is not acceptable, as that crosses the line of endorsing said religion. City Hall and all government facilities should at least give the appearance of being secular.

The city involved is Duluth.

Definitely odd. However, the Menorah was up only for one day and will be moved for the other seven. Perhaps that’s why nobody wanted to make it an issue. Plus, pandemic. Still, erecting a cross for one day should cause equal comment.

I wish I could find more information about the circumstances.

At one point someone successfully argued that a menorah is not a purely religious symbol. Similar to Christmas trees, which are on all sorts of public properties.

Is City Hall located in the Duluth Civic Center?

Letting a group have a menorah lighting ceremony and display a menorah for one day on city property is not going to cause anyone to think that the city is establishing Judaism as an official religion. Presumably other religions – and other groups – have an equal opportunity to use the city property for brief ceremonies and displays that equally won’t be seen as an endorsement or adoption of the specific religion by the city.

Incidentally, that statue was, in part, intended to promote a movie. Specifically, Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. There were dozen displayed all over the country.

Though from your cite (my emphasis):

A Ten Commandments monument that stood on the lawn of City Hall for 47 years has been removed after a federal judge said its presence violated the separation of church and state.

It appears to be part of the same complex.

Right; the statue was put up in 1957, after the movie was released in 1956.

And was up for 47 years, so not comparable to a 1-night Hanukkah menorah. Not trying to nitpick, these just seem different.

I first remember these kinds of things causing a fuss in the mid-1990’s. In the mid-size town I lived in, there was some kind of Christmas display put up in the park at the city center. It was festooned with colorful lights, as Christmas displays often are.

The complaint was that the electric bill for all those lights was being paid by the tax-payers.

Carnac: The Ten Commandments and a menorah.
Ed: The Ten Commandments and a menorah.
Carnac: Ten Commandments and a menorah…
(Envelope tearing)
Carnac: What are two things that should be shoved up (controversial 80s figure) ass?

The City Hall, the Federal Building and the County Courthouse are all in the civic center.