ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has sent a letter to the circuit attorney of St. Louis, Missouri to request that a plaque displayed outside of her office at the Carnahan Courthouse be removed as it contains a quote from Deuteronomy 16:20.
According to reports, a local resident alerted FFRF to the plaque, which is affixed to the wall under Kimberly Gardner’s name and the circuit attorney seal. The sign reads in large lettering, “‘Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …’ – Deut. 16:20.”
FFRF contends that the use of Scripture constitutes an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.
“We write to request that this sign be removed, both because it represents a government endorsement of religion in violation of the First Amendment, and because it advocates a form of ‘justice’ that is incompatible with constitutional principles,” the letter, sent on Monday, reads.
“The Establishment Clause prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages,” it states. “Federal courts have upheld restrictions on religious displays on government property because such restrictions exist to avoid Establishment Clause violations.”
The correspondence also argues that the “form of justice” that the Scripture represents—namely biblical justice—is “incompatible” with the U.S. Constitution.
“Deuteronomy lays out … God’s laws in exhausting detail, and it is the strict adherence to these laws that this verse refers to as justice,” it notes. “This [Scripture] is immediately followed by a warning not to worship the goddess Asherah or else risk invoking Yahweh’s wrath.”
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