In an effort to educate the public on the divine origins of America's founding documents, Jackson County Commissioner Tim Guffey (R) has proposed erecting a Ten Commandments monument, as well as displays of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, outside the county courthouse.
"If you look at the documents that was written -- the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence -- they are all stemmed from the word of God, from the Ten Commandments," Guffey, who proposed the projects at a recent commission meeting, told WHNT on Thursday.
The commissioner insisted that the Ten Commandments proposal is "not for any type of religion" and would only serve to "make people go back and study" the sacred history behind the country's founding documents.
Elected to the commission in 2012, Guffey argued that the monument would fill a historical void in the county's educational system, as he criticized schools for failing to teach about the nation's biblical roots.
"They don't teach this at school anymore, and a person would have to go back and research and study each one of those men's writings to find out that that's what established them. That's what gave [the Founding Fathers] the inspiration to read the greatest Constitution this world has ever seen," Guffey explained in an interview with AL.com on Friday. "There's no other country that's ever done what we have done. And I feel like taking that document out, if that document wasn't there to guide them, then our Constitution wouldn't be what it is today."
Although Guffey maintained that he's "not doing it to push religion at all," Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Patrick Elliott disagreed, calling the proposal an unconstitutional violation of the establishment clause.
"The First Amendment mandates that the government can't promote or favor or advance religion," Elliott said Thursday, according to WAAY-TV. "And by placing a Ten Commandments monument in front of this building, the county is signaling they have a religious purpose."
In February, the Alabama House passed a proposed constitutional amendment allowing Ten Commandments displays on state property and in public schools. The bill has stalled in the state Senate.