- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 22, 2000

What started as a local legal skirmish over displaying the Ten Commandments at public high schools in Adams County, Ohio, has become the focus of a national and even international movement.

Adams County organizers had only hoped to rally support and raise money for a legal defense fund when they first started selling blue-and-white signs that say, "We stand for the Ten Commandments." The $2 signs include a copy of the commandments.

But with the help of media reports on the controversy, supporters have called from as far as Hong Kong and Hawaii in recent weeks to buy the signs.

"They're excited that someone has taken this kind of stand, and it's something they want to rally around," said the Rev. Tom Claibourne, an Adams County minister who has led the Ten Commandments initiative. "A lot of them are wanting to stand with us."

Adams County for the Ten Commandments has sold 63,000 signs, including orders for 3,200 just last week. Individuals and religious groups call almost daily.

Residents of Kentucky alone, which has become another hotbed for debate over displaying the Ten Commandments, have taken more than 25,000 signs. One church group in St. Louis ordered another 2,000.

"It just keeps mushrooming," said the Rev. Ken Johnson, another Adams County minister who has been mailing the signs. "We're winning in many ways. Even if we lose this [legal suit], it will probably promote the case even more."

The issue over displaying the Ten Commandments remains tied up in the courts. Mr. Claibourne, Mr. Johnson and two other ministers should find out later this month whether they will be accepted as co-defendants with the school board in the suit.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Adams County School District last year after a local resident complained about the schools' decision permitting ministers to display the Ten Commandments outside each of the county's high schools.

But no matter whether the stone tablets remain on school property, they are displayed on hundreds of lawns throughout the county.

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