Residents rally to keep Ten Commandments at City Hall
HOBBS, NM - Some residents in southeastern New Mexico are opposing calls from civil liberties advocates to remove a Ten Commandments monument from public property.
The residents, citing religious concerns, crowded a commissioners' meeting this week in Hobbs to speak out against another group's effort to take down the monument, the Hobbs News-Sun reports .
"I was raised (in Hobbs) all my life," resident Cassandra Lawson told the Hobbs City Commission on Tuesday. "And I stand before you to say that the Ten Commandments (are) the decalogue upon which our nation is founded."
The move came after members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation said the Hobbs monument violated First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding the separation of church and state.
Hobbs resident and foundation member Jeremy Wood asked the Hobbs City Commission last month to remove the Ten Commandments monument outside City Hall. Wood cited court cases forcing city governments to remove similar monuments.
"Politicians in towns like Hobbs have used public resources to promote their own religious beliefs and, in doing so, have denied their most vulnerable constituents their First and 14th Amendment rights," Wood said.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with a lower court that ordered the city of Bloomfield, New Mexico, to remove a Ten Commandments monument outside its City Hall.
Rev. Rodney Warren, pastor of Life Temple United Pentecostal Church in Hobbs, said the monument has been a significant part of the Hobbs community for decades.
"The presence of our monument does not make an expression of religious preference, but rather is a decalogue established through the very fabrics of which this nation is born, governed by, past and present," he said.
Hobbs City Attorney Mike Stone said Wednesday no lawsuit has been filed seeking the city to remove the monument.
"The Ten Commandments monument has been a significant part of the Hobbs community for almost 50 years," the city said in a statement. "We believe its presence is not an expression of religious preference, but secular in nature and an integral part of our history."