- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A City Council member who says he was inspired by Alabama’s ousted chief justice placed a 1-ton granite monument to the Ten Commandments in front of City Hall yesterday while it was closed for the Martin Luther King holiday.

Vernon Robinson said he and four others acted on the holiday because the empty parking lot allowed room for a truck and crane, which they used to position the monument at dawn.

The 4-foot-high granite block is inscribed on one side with the Ten Commandments and on the other side with the Bill of Rights.

“This display is intended to acknowledge the undeniable role that the Ten Commandments and Bill of Rights have played in developing the American legal tradition,” said Mr. Robinson, a Republican who has been on the City Council since 1998 and is running for a U.S. House seat.

“These are the ideas on which society has been built and these works encapsulate the belief system on which the republic was founded,” he said.

Mayor Allen Joines did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the city’s response.

Mr. Robinson said he had no authorization to place the monument on public property. The $2,000 cost of buying and moving the monument was entirely his own, he said.

Mr. Robinson said he was inspired to act by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who ordered a 2-ton Ten Commandments monument placed in the Rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building in 2001.

A federal judge found the monument to be an unconstitutional promotion of religion by government. Mr. Moore was removed from the bench last year for violating ethics rules by not obeying the federal court order to remove the monument. He is pursuing an appeal.

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