Ten Commandments Controversy in Duluth City, MN

November 6, 2003

Source: Duluth News Tribune


On November 6, 2003 Duluth News Tribune reported that "the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union wants the Ten Commandments monument removed from the front lawn of Duluth City Hall. The organization mailed letters in September to its Duluth membership, seeking plaintiffs to help pressure the city to remove the 7-foot stone or perhaps to seek a court order for its removal. 'We believe that this monument violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and are planning to take steps,' Teresa Nelson, civil liberties union legal counsel, wrote in the letters. 'The presence of this monument creates the impression that individuals of the Judeo-Christian faith have a privileged status in Duluth.' The granite monument in Duluth is in the shape of two round-topped stone tablets. Besides the text, the structure is etched with an American flag, a bald eagle and the glowing all-seeing eye from the back of the U.S. one-dollar bill. The eye is a reference to the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. The monolith has been on the Duluth City Hall lawn, facing the intersection of Fourth Avenue West and First Street, since October 1957... 'They're the foundation of our own legal system in many ways,' said the Rev. Dale Nau, chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Duluth. 'The Ten Commandments, in so many ways, undergirds Western civilization. They contain nothing particularly denominational in focus. They refer to natural law.'"