Editors Ink

A place to examine language and the state of journalism. And anything else that comes to mind.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The First Commandment--Do Some Reporting

Kudos to Jeffrey Weiss for discovering the history of the placement of some Ten Commandments monuments. He's dug a bit deeper to find the facts about the controversial subject of religious items on public property. Shouldn't this be reported out on a local level?

Many Commandments monuments started out as movie promotion

The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS - (KRT) - Many of the Ten Commandments monuments found across America started out, partly, as a movie promotion.

Back in 1946, E.J. Ruegemer was a juvenile court judge in Minnesota. He used to tell a story about a delinquent boy who came into his court and didn't know what the Ten Commandments were.

Judge Ruegemer had an idea: print up copies for courtrooms and classrooms.

His project, taken up by an organization called the Fraternal Order of Eagles, eventually got the attention of Cecil B. DeMille, the legendary director whose epic The Ten Commandments hit theaters in 1956.

The two men found Catholic, Jewish and Protestant scholars willing to come up with a version of the Commandments that incorporated all three traditions. (In different texts, the Commandments have different wordings, even different numberings.)

About 4,000 granite slabs were eventually placed by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. They include the one in Austin that the Supreme Court is considering - and one in Fair Park in Dallas.

The stars of the movie, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Martha Scott, attended many of the dedications.


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