Controversy erupts over Ten Commandments monument in Marion

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

MARION, IL (KFVS) -  Atheist Rob Sherman says he now has someone in the Marion community whose rights would be violated over the placement of a religious monument in Marion's Tower Square.

On Monday night Sherman warned Marion city leaders during their council meeting that if he found someone in town who wanted to challenge the city over a Ten Commandments monument, he'd take up the fight against the city.

On Wednesday Sherman introduced Robert Donelson, a proclaimed Wiccan, who now wants his religious symbol on Tower Square too.

"If the Ten Commandments go up, then the Wiccan read goes up too," Donelson said.

Sherman backed up Donelson's request with a multiple faceted statement.

"If Mayor Bob Butler wants to allow a Ten Commandments monument here that's fine," said Sherman.  "He can do that as long as he allows Mr. Donelson to put up his pentagram or whatever expression of his perspective about the Wiccan religion."

The Marion Mayor says he sees the proposed religious monument from a different perspective.

"We consider the Ten Commandments monument, if it were there, as a recognition of the fundamental premise for the law of the land," said Mayor Bob Butler.

The longer Sherman spoke about his opposition to the proposed monument the more heated the exchanges between those gathered in Tower Square became.

One man shouted, " You go back to where you came from."

Sherman responded, " Are you trying to influence our children with your bible?"

As the argument for and against the Ten Commandments monument raged on among local residents and Sherman, Donelson said he wants the square open to all religions.

"Not just the Ten Commandments, or the Wiccan read.  If the Mormons want to put up something from the Book of Mormons, allow it," Donelson said.

Sherman warned those gathered in the square that if city leaders moved forward with the proposed monument, he'd take legal action against the city to try and stop it from being placed in Marion's Tower Square.

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