- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

"YOU SHALL NOT MURDER," is one of the Ten Commandments emblazoned in large white letters on a huge black banner that hangs on a building across from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Amid a spurt of recent controversies over public displays of the biblical commandments given to Moses, the Rev. Rob Schenck, founder of the Ten Commandments Project, put up the 15x5-foot banner on the 100 block of Second Street NE Saturday afternoon.
Mr. Schenck was born Jewish but converted to Christianity and is Lutheran-trained. He hopes the banner will have an influence on those who see it, especially the elected and appointed officials on Capitol Hill.
September 11, said Mr. Schenck, has awakened people to the fact that "moral relativism has not served the nation or the world very well People recognize that there are some things that are absolutely right and absolutely wrong."
He said the banner has two chief aims.
"At the very least, we hope it would cause them to think about the things that really matter absolute right and wrong," said Mr. Schenck.
"I hope it would cause people to think about the author of those words, and that it is God to whom, ultimately, we are accountable."
The Ten Commandments, he said, "won't get us to heaven, but they certainly remind us of our need for a Savior." They do function as a moral code for living on earth, he said.
Mr. Schenck argued that it is necessary to embrace some sort of moral code, and America has embraced the Judeo-Christian faith.
"We should not be ashamed to say that," he said. "It is impossible to be neutral."
The Ten Commandments Project was formed in 1995 with the goal of putting the biblical rules in the forefront of the public mind and public debate. It is affiliated and funded by Faith and Action, which is made up of roughly 50,000 individual supporters, about 300 churches and the Evangelical Church Alliance, said Mr. Schenck, who is its president.
The Ten Commandments Project conducts Bible studies at its Ostrowski House, which opened in 2002 and produces commemorative versions of the Ten Commandments to give to elected and appointed government officials.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman was the first to accept this gift, and now there are hundreds of officials who have followed suit, said Mr. Schenck, who takes two or three other ministers Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant to the official's office for a ceremony and prayer. He thenasks the official to display the gift in a prominent place and to obey the Ten Commandments in public and private life.
Debate and even some judicial action has occurred across the country recently over the display of the Ten Commandments in public parks and courthouses.
One local uproar came in Frederick, Md., last week, when a high school senior challenged the constitutionality of a memorial displaying the Ten Commandments in a public park.
Mr. Schenck said courts have been misinformed about the nature of the Ten Commandments. Judges have approached them as advocating sectarian religion, he said, when they are really unifying in nature.
"It brings together the three great monotheistic faiths," he said of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


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