AU Commandments Protest Sparks Debate In Big Sky Country

The governor of Montana has vowed to defend Ten Commandments displays on government property, asserting that those who oppose them "need a little help."

Gov. Judy Martz, a Republican, made the comments in late February during a press conference when asked about an ongoing dispute over a Commandments display in Kalispell, reported the Associated Press.

"People who are offended by the Ten Commandments have a deeper problem than the stone that it's written on, I think," said Martz. "Anybody that has trouble with the Ten Commandments, I think they have something going inside of them that would need a little help anyway."

Responding to complaints from local residents, Americans United's Legal Department wrote to officials in Kali­spell Feb. 17 and requested that a Ten Com­mandments monument in front of the courthouse in Flathead County be removed. In the letter, AU Legal Director Ayesha Khan noted that government sponsorship of religious displays is unconstitutional.

"The courts have overwhelmingly held that the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed on government property in isolation or when the Ten Command­ments are more prominently displayed than other documents," Khan wrote. "Because this monument is displayed by itself, it is clearly unconstitutional."