10 Commandments Plaque Relocated To Commissioner’s Office in Hibbing Courthouse

Although the plaque is in a less-visible location, the Freedom From Religion Foundation remains in opposition.

HIBBING, Minn.- A plaque of the 10 Commandments hung in the County Courthouse for 60 years, but a month ago it was taken down.

This happened after a local resident reported it to an advocacy group — Freedom From Religion Foundation — that threatened to sue the county for a violation of church and state if it was not taken down.

But now, the plaque is back and hangs again on a courthouse wall — this time in the office of County Commissioner Michael Jugovich.

“At the end of the day we just want to make sure it’s not thrown in some closet and forgotten about,”  Jugovich said.

Jugovich says it’s a temporary solution and many organizations are reaching out offering the plaque a new home.

“It’s so historic and it means a great deal — not just to St. Louis County, but people all over,” Jugovich said.

Although the plaque is in a less-visible location, the Freedom From Religion Foundation remains in opposition.

“I think it’s unconstitutional and inappropriate that a county office building to reintroduce or re-host this plaque, which really is still viewable to the public or constituents to the commissioner,” said Patrick Elliot, senior counsel at Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Jugovich says he simply did what his constituents wanted.

“I had a lot of people call, email, whatever the case may be, and say please don’t throw it into storage, make sure it can be seen,” Jugovich said. “It’s not only a religious thing to a great number of people, but it is historically significant.”

The foundation says regardless of a positive local feedback, this represents a more widespread issue.

“It’s not just a matter of people in the Hibbing community that may want this returned,” Elliot said. “Really people in the county should be concerned about the county being involved with this and allowing this to continue.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation told FOX 21 Thursday they are reaching out to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office regarding a case law that prohibits hanging religious displays in government buildings. The foundation says they take cases to court every year and warns it will be an expensive problem for tax payers.

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