North Dakotans offer private purchase to save Ten Commandments display

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2001

FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- A dozen individuals or organizations are willing to buy the land under a 1961 Ten Commandments marker near city hall, but that may not end complaints that the display violates church-state separation, Mayor Bruce Furness said.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Red River Freethinkers contend the public location is unconstitutional.

At a hearing of Fargo's Human Relations Commission, freethinkers chairman Wesley Twombly said a shift to privately owned land was unacceptable. ''Any reasonable person would still see it as being on public property,'' he said.

The Rev. William Sherman said he was distressed at the opposition because the Ten Commandments ''are the basis for the cultural underpinnings of America.''

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