A plaque of the Ten Commandments that had been on the wall for decades was removed from the St. Louis County Courthouse in Hibbing.
It follows a response to a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), which in a "warning" to County Administrator Kevin Gray stated that display of the Ten Commandments on a public building wrongfully links "the justice system with biblical prohibitions rather than secular law."
Gray told FOX 21 that he received a letter from the FFRF asking them to remove the "God's Laws" bronze plaque.
The county decided to take it down "based on past court decisions," according to the Hibbing Daily News.
“As you might presume, the law and norms have developed considerably since the plaque was initially installed decades ago," Gray said, according to FOX 21.
“It is grotesque to insinuate that the Ten Commandments are associated with a county government’s justice system in any way,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor in her statement. “Saint Louis County did the right thing.”
About the FFRF
The FFRF is a national non-profit organization based out of Madison, Wisconsin, with two chapters in northern Minnesota: the "Lake Superior Freethinkers" and the "Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers."
You might recognize the name from last year, when the FFRF argued against a cross being placed in a veteran's memorial garden in Belle Plaine, which later led to The Satanic Temple proposing a monument in response.
The group works to maintain the "separation of church and state," which is paraphrased from founding father Thomas Jefferson and is used as an interpretation of the "establishment clause" of the 1st Amendment.
It has been the subject of much debate as to whether this clause of the First Amendment guarantees this "wall of separation."
Legal challenges in our nation's courts have mostly ruled in favor of the separation, as the Huffington Post describes, though NPR reports on an occasion last year when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a religious daycare denied public funding.