Kentucky Counties Struggle To Pay Commandments Debt

Two Kentucky counties that lost a case over display of the Ten Commandments are having some difficulty paying off their court costs.

Pulaski County and McCreary County violated separation of church and state when they posted copies of the Ten Commandments in the lobbies of their courthouses. The two counties owed the Kentucky ACLU, which brought the lawsuit, a total of $460,000.

Pulaski County paid its share ($231,662) in September, but had to take out a loan to make the payment. McCreary County also plans to get a loan to pay for its share, according to a Sept. 10 report in the Lexington Herald-Leader, but as of Oct. 6 had not yet paid the ACLU.

“It’s very much a hardship,” McCreary County Judge-Executive Doug Stephens said, according to the Herald-Leader. Stephens also said he was not sure how the county would make the payments, or if doing so would necessitate layoffs or cuts to services.

Stephens said he hoped national Religious Right organizations such as Focus on the Family would pitch in. (McCreary officials were represented by Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel and dean of the Liberty University School of Law.)

ACLU attorney William Sharp said in a statement that: “It is unfortunate that despite having lost before every court to consider this case, county officials nonetheless prolonged this litigation for more than a decade.”