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Old 08-18-2003, 09:16 AM   #1
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Default Interesting Article on 10C Monuments

This article in the St. Petersburg Times contains not only a detailed description of an ongoing dispute over a Ten Commandments monument in Frederick, MD but also an explanation of why so many of these monuments come from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

In 1956, looking to promote his film, The Ten Commandments, Hollywood producer Cecil B. DeMille telephoned a judge in Minnesota with an unusual proposition.

The judge, E.J. Ruegemer, had been posting paper copies of the commandments in public schools and courtrooms across the state to instruct youth on proper morals.

Why not post bronze plaques instead of paper, DeMille asked? And why stop at schools and courtrooms - what about other public places?

Ruegemer liked the idea but suggested granite, like the tablets that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. The judge got his charitable club, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, to pay for the project.

Local Eagles chapters, known as "aeries," distributed 4,000 of the stones in the 1950s and 1960s. They were prominently inscribed with the phrase, "I AM the LORD thy GOD" and were decorated with stars of David, symbols of Christ and an eagle clutching an American flag.
So it seems that many of these disputes can be traced back to nothing more noble than old-fashioned studio boss avarice.
Stephen Maturin is offline  
Old 08-18-2003, 09:48 AM   #2
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Very interesting article. Thanks for the link.

Local Eagles chapters, known as "aeries," distributed 4,000 of the stones in the 1950s and 1960s.
This factoid has always bothered me. The Eagles say they did not keep track of the monuments, so I don't think they even know how many were placed.

There are less than 4000 counties in the US. Does it really seem likely that 4000 monuments were set up?
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Old 08-18-2003, 12:53 PM   #3
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I would think 4000 is about right. Many counties have a monument at city offices as well as county offices.

Indeed, it is pretty amazing how much symbolic muss came about in the 1950s. It is also the era which is the source of "Under God" in the Pledge and "In God We Trust" on coins.
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