HARRISBURG, Ill. (ABP) -- A Baptist pastor in southern Illinois believes before heads of local government can be expected to support posting the Ten Commandments on taxpayer property the churches should be posting them on their own lands.
Leroy Hicks, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Mitchellsville, Ill., brought the idea up before the church and members agreed.
Since Dec. 22 two stone monuments bearing five commandments each have been in the church's front yard.
"For the past several years I've noted a lot of discussion about the Ten Commandments put on the courthouse lawn. A lot don't want that and some did and the ones who did are probably church affiliated. But I've noted none on church property," Hicks said.
"I thought it was a good idea to first make a statement for our church."
Officials in Saline County are in the process of deciding whether to place the Ten Commandments on courthouse property. The county's building committee decided recently to recommend against it, citing concerns of a costly lawsuit, but asked the county board to table the decision for a month to allow time for further research.
The Ten Commandments are already posted on private property in two locations in the county, the lawn and steps of First United Methodist Church in Eldorado, and a lawn monument facing downtown Harrisburg sponsored by Union Grove Baptist Church and with labor provided by Colonial Terrace Funeral Home.
Hicks said he hopes other churches might follow his and post the Ten Commandments where they can be viewed by passersby.
"I brought it before the church a few months ago, and they thought it was a good idea and voted to do this," Hicks said. "We got it erected here for anyone to stop and read it or if they are passing by to get reminded of the wonderful law of God."
"We may have to make the statement from our own churches rather than on government property," he said.
Brian Deneal is staff writer for the Daily Register in Harrisburg. Ill. This story appeared in the newspaper Jan. 19 and is used here with his permission.