Another chapter of the separation of church and state had its revival last night as Bozeman City Commissioners decided to replace the 10 Commandments in the downtown Soroptimist Park. For a in depth look at the dispute, take a look at NewWest contributor Marjorie Smith’s article on the park’s historic relationship with the 10 commandments.
With 37 comments, the replacement or removal of the monument became one of the most publicly commented issues in front of the current City Commissioners, along with garbage transportation and affordable housing. The commissioners all spoke very eloquently of their needs as city representative to be a culture of tolerance and individual liberty and to honor all gods and no gods in public spaces. But they also discussed honoring a historic gift to the city that was never a point of contention before its removal. They voted 4-1 to replace the monument.
I have not been to a commission meeting where I was dodging more verbal softballs of contentious beliefs and thoughts between the supporters and removers of the monuments. Furthermore, I have not heard quotes from the Constitution, the Bible or from our nations founding fathers voiced more in a City Commissions meeting. I think Commissioner Becker summed it up when he said he was advised when he first ran for office, “Don’t mess with people’s dogs or people’s gods.”