Anti-Slavery Ten Commandments Monument Toppled in Montana; Riots Call to Topple Lincoln Statues

June 30, 2020

2 min read

Police in Kalispell, Montana arrested Anthony Weimer on Saturday on charges that he tore down a granite monument of the Ten Commandments from the Flathead County Courthouse grounds. Weimer allegedly used a chain attached to his pickup truck to pull the monument out of the ground.

30-year-old Weimer faces a felony charge of criminal mischief. Though the police stated they do not know why Weimer allegedly took down the monument, this comes at a time when left-wing protesters in America and Europe are vandalizing statues, monuments, and buildings they claim to be associated with racism. 

In many cases, the statues and monuments do, in fact, represent anti-slavery and anti-racist people and concepts. This is certainly the case in the Ten Commandments. The eighth commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal’, has several interpretations in addition to the plain reading of prohibiting theft.  Jewish commentaries (Talmud, Sanhedrin 86a) refer to the stealing of an actual human being, that is, to kidnapping, including human trafficking. Kidnapping would then constitute a capital offense and thus merit its inclusion among the Ten Commandments.

In similar cases of misdirected rage, protesters opposing symbols of the historic racism called for the removal of a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Park in Washington D.C. It should be noted that the monument is called the Emancipation Memorial and was commissioned and entirely paid for by a group of freed slaves in 1876. Abraham Lincoln was, of course, the 16th president and is credited with abolishing slavery.

Similar calls have been made to topple a replica of the Emancipation Memorial that erected in Boston’s Park Square in 1879 and another marble replica of the statue made that was gifted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976.

In yet another case of misguided anti-racist zeal, the statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg in Madison Wisconsin was torn down last week by rioters.  Heg was a Norwegian immigrant who lived in Wisconsin and died fighting for the Union Army in the Civil War and the statue was erected in 1926. He was an abolitionist, journalist, and anti-slavery. activist

In 2013, Weimer, 13 years old at the time, was accused with two other minors of setting a series of fires resulting in $50,000 damage to a home under construction and endangering man who was sleeping in a house at the time they lit a fire. The three boys were also accused of stealing items, primarily cell phones. 

The Ten Commandments monument was gifted to the county in 1950 and is one of several granite slabs outside the courthouse building. In 2012, the Flathead Area Secular Humanist Association (FASHA) threatened to sue, claiming the city was actively endorsing Christianity and violating the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. Supporters of the Ten Commandments monument purchased six additional monuments with non-religious text, allowing the entire display, they argued, to be protected under “cornerstone of law” provisions.  

Workers later moved the monument to the courthouse’s southwest corner during a courthouse renovation.

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