AU Opposes Commandments Display In Saginaw

A Michigan county council is considering a proposal to install a Ten Commandments monument in a government building.

Patrick Wurtzel, a member of the Saginaw County Board of Commis­sioners, wants to donate a $10,000 Commandments dis­play to be placed in the lobby of the Saginaw County Gov­ern­ment Center.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged board members to reject the plan. In a March 26 letter, AU Senior Litigation Counsel Alex Luchenitser said the display would violate the First Amendment. It would, he said, “divide the community, and convey to persons who do not adhere to the religious beliefs represented by the Commandments that they are second-class citizens in Saginaw County.”

Citing media reports, AU’s letter noted that Wurtzel’s purpose is religious. Earlier in the year, The Saginaw News quoted Wurtzel as saying, “The county was founded and our Constitution established on Judeo-Christian foundations.”

In a letter to the newspaper, Wurtzel claimed that the “message now portrayed by the minority is that belief in God never has been, nor ever will be, a part of this country. Their rants threateningly predict the demise of our freedom should something as righteous as the Ten Commandments be allowed to be displayed in our courthouse.”