Ten Commandments plaque is favorite backdrop for weddings in Tennessee county

Posted: Friday, March 29, 2002

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- The Ten Commandments plaque in the Hamilton County courthouse is serving as the backdrop for a makeshift wedding chapel.

There's no precise figure on the number of couples exchanging vows near the plaque since it was posted Dec. 18, but it has become a popular location.

''It is the preferred spot for couples to exchange vows,'' said Mark Sandilands, pastor of the Power of Touch Church, who performs courthouse weddings.

Last fall, Hamilton County commissioners decided to display the commandments in the courthouse and two other county buildings. Their presence will be challenged in U.S. District Court April 29 by the American Civil Liberties Union, which considers them a violation of church-state separation.

Rutherford County recently became the 10th Tennessee county to authorize Ten Commandments displays.

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