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(RNS) — Ten Commandment monuments erected in Alabama, Oklahoma and New Mexico have brought lawsuits and removals.
But when an 800-pound granite tablet engraved with “Thou shalts” and “Thou shalt nots” went up in a suburban Dallas shopping mall just before New Year’s, not a protester was in sight.
Difference - Course - Location - Location - Location
The difference, of course, is location, location, location. The controversial tablets were originally placed on public land, while the Texas tablets are in a privately owned shopping mall.
“We’re not trying to make a statement or create a controversy,” Richard Morton, general manager of the Music City Mall at Vista Ridge, told Texas reporters Friday (Dec. 29) as the block was unveiled. Instead, he said, the monument reflects the mall owner’s “belief system and he is not afraid to share it.”
Owner - John - Bushman - Marine - Businessman
The owner is John Bushman, a former Marine and businessman from Odessa, Texas, who has said he hopes people find “peace and love” in the Ten Commandments. A second granite tablet bearing two of what Bushman has called “the greatest commandments” — to love the Lord and thy neighbor — is on the second floor.
Several of Bushman’s other businesses, including hotels and casual dining restaurants in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, have similar Ten Commandment displays. He has told Dallas media he wants the Music City Mall to be “a community space.”
Shopping - Mall - Community - Space - Space
A shopping mall operates like a public, community space where all are welcome. But it is actually a private space where church-state laws demanding a neutrality...
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