North Idaho

Battle brewing over 10 Commandments in Sandpoint

Battle brewing over 10 Commandments in Sandpoint

SANDPOINT, Idaho - The 10 Commandments monument has been in a Sandpoint park for the last four decades, but now could be coming down, and that move is not sitting well with some people.

For almost 42 years the 10 Commandments have sat in Farmin Park very unassuming.

"You might not even know it's there," Mark Wattss aid.

But for some people, it carries significant meaning.

"We put it here for a reason," Eagles member Vickie Ann Dawson said.

The 10 Commandments monument was given to Sandpoint as a gift from the Eagles but the statue might not be standing here for much longer.

"That's ours, it's been here most of my life and I don't want it taken away just because someone feels upset about it," Watts said.

That someone is the Freedom from Religion Foundation based in Wisconsin.

They sent a letter to the mayor's office asking for the removal of the statue, leaving residents like Mark Watts outraged.

"Tolerance is supposed to be I put up with what you believe and you put up with what I believe and you don't take away what I have and I don't take away what you have," he said.

Word spread fast about the possible removal and Thursday afternoon at least 100 people gathered to protest with signs and handwritten notes.

"They need to get a heart and look at the situation, it would be just like if they had a headstone for their parents and all of a sudden someone wanted to take it away from them - wouldn't they be hurt," Dawson said.

City leaders declined to comment on camera, but said they're concerned about a possible lawsuit and are trying to decide the best action to take.

"If you don't like it, walk down the other side of the street, because it's not doing anything to you," Watts said.

The city attorney says the issue will likely be put on city council agenda. Judging by the massive presence of the passionate supporters of the monument those in favor of the 10 Commandments aren't giving up without a fight.