Religious Displays Law Stirs Emotion

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The Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the phrase "In God We Trust;” many Mississippians would probably say they try to live by them. Now the state says those in charge of public buildings can display them all.

The Rev. Dr. Raymon Leake of Meridian's First Baptist Church says a display of them will probably be very popular.

"We are as conservative and spiritual a state as you'll run into, and the constituency of this state is going to support this legislation," said Leake.

That could mean you'll soon start seeing displays going up statewide. Lauderdale County supervisors' attorney Rick Barry says if the board decided they want to do it, he would favor it.

"The Ten Commandments and those other items ought to be able to be displayed. That's my personal opinion," Barry said.

Personal opinions aside, Barry does say it's quite possible that someone will file suit when the first display goes up in Mississippi.

"Someone, I'm sure out there, there'll be someone who'll file litigation against this," Barry said.

As a matter of fact, the ACLU has already indicated they will if a county or city decides to put up any of the displays, citing the separation of church and state.

But Dr. Leake says displays like these are ultimately inconsequential and secondary compared to the things Christians should really be concerned with.

"We have our marching orders and they're about God's call on the heart, and not so much about placing the Scripture in public places," said Dr. Leake.

No local officials have indicated whether or not they'll try to put up any displays like this one yet, but it could happen soon. The law goes into effect July 1.


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