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Christopher Olson, Published April 12 2009

Ten Commandments cultural symbol

Certain people in and around Fargo are putting a lot of time and energy into trying to have our monument showing the Ten Commandments removed. It represents to them some form of oppression or injustice. It represents to them a morality that directly conflicts with their own personal morality. And while they say that the public square should be free of all expressions of morality, they do this using some “alternative morality” of their own design as the standard and rule by which we all should live. How hypocritical!

The Ten Commandments are not city ordinances of Fargo. Nobody is forcing anybody to follow the laws of the Mosaic Covenant. It simply would not follow! We are not the nation of Israel.

What the Ten Commandments are is a symbol of our shared religious and cultural heritage, being settled mainly by immigrants of Catholic or Lutheran tradition.

This is a fact, and that is why they are there. That is why we allowed them to be put there in the first place. It was not some power play pulled off by some intolerant religious minority on the rest of the city, but a symbol of our common values, which are based on these very commandments.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. That is what Fargo has done in the face of great adversity and trial, and the nation is standing in admiration for our love for one another. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” I am not ashamed to say this.

And even though we are not some state-ordained “Christian community,” we are by the grace of God, a community of Christians. And we invite anyone to come and live and work with us. I think you will see that we are among the most tolerant, accepting and loving people around.