Photo by Valerie Baldowski
Locust Grove Mayor Lorene Lindsey looks at a framed copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall in City Hall. The commandments were posted earlier this month, with eight other historical documents.
By Valerie Baldowki
The City of Locust Grove has a new collection of historical documents on display, one of which is a framed plaque of the Ten Commandments.
The biblical document, and eight other framed documents, were hung at City Hall on April 5, according to Mayor Lorene Lindsey. State legislation passed in 2006 -- House Bill 941-- allows the city to display the religious scroll, as long as it is paired with other historical documents, Lindsey said.
"We found out in January that the governor had passed a bill that said you could have the Ten Commandments in public buildings, along with eight other historical documents," she said. "We liked the idea, and we presented it the Locust Grove Day Committee when we found out it could legally be done."
The committee bought the documents from the Rev. Mike Griffin, executive director of Ten Commandments Georgia, based in Hartwell, Ga., said Lindsey. The cost of the documents was $1,200, and the money for the purchase came from the proceeds of last year's Locust Grove Day fund-raiser, Lindsey said.
The eight other pieces on display are: The Magna Carta; a picture of Lady Justice; the Mayflower Compact; the Preamble to the Georgia Constitution of 1893; the Bill of Rights; the Declaration of Independence; a copy of the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner; and the motto, "In God We Trust," which is printed on U.S. currency.
The hanging of the documents is appropriate because City Hall has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, said the mayor. "This building is historical," she said. "We have a lot of children from schools come through. We thought it would be a good idea to show, not only that it's a historical building, but also that they are historical documents."
Lindsey said the display does not focus solely on the commandments, because it is part of a larger set. "We didn't feature it on the Ten Commandments," she added. "We featured it on nine historical documents. That's what we'd like to emphasize."
The hanging of the documents is a valuable lesson to share with the public, said Jesse Patton, Locust Grove police chief, and one of the members of the Locust Grove Day Committee. "We thought it would be a great part of history to share with people," he said. "There's a lot of people who never get to see those documents. Hopefully, it may shed some light [on history.]"
City Hall is the perfect place to display the Ten Commandments, said Bill Curington, pastor of Locust Grove United Methodist Church. "Other than in a church, I cannot think of a more appropriate place to erect the Ten Commandments than in a government building," he said. "When God gave the commandments to the nation of Israel, those commandments were the starting basis for the civil law that was designed to lovingly teach the people of the nation how to relate to God and to each other.
"The giving of the laws from God to Moses marked an important moment in the history of humankind," he said. "God was showing people how to govern themselves under His hand, and it's wise for any local, state or national government to remember that the basis for our laws, and the morality which influences them, comes from our creator."