Reagan appointee sides with Wiccans: NM town must remove Ten Commandments monument
Ten Commandment monument (Screen capture)

A judge nominated by President Ronald Reagan upset Christians in Bloomfield, New Mexico when he sided with Wiccans and ordered the removal of a monument to the Ten Commandments from city property, the Christian News Network reports.

U.S. District Judge James A. Parker ruled last week that the monument amounted to a tacit endorsement of Christianity and must be removed. "In view of the circumstances surrounding the context, history, and purpose of the Ten Commandments monument," he wrote, " it is clear that the City of Bloomfield has violated the Establishment Clause because its conduct in authorizing the continued display of the monument on City property has had the primary or principal effect of endorsing religion."

The three-year-old, three-thousand-pound monument was erected in front of the Bloomfield City Hall by the city council despite protests from local citizens. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately sued the city on behalf of two of its Wiccan residents, Jane Felix and Buford Coone of the Order of the Cauldron of the Sage.

An inscription on the monument reads, "presented to the people of San Juan County by private citizens recognizing the significance of these laws on our nation’s history," which the ACLU believed was a clear endorsement of a Judeo-Christian religion. "One of the commandments is thou shalt put no God before me, this is clearly not a historical document, but is in fact a religious doctrine," said Alexandra Smith, Legal Director and Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico.

Bloomfield Mayor Scott Eckstein said that he was "surprised and had never really considered the judge ruling against it because it’s a historical document just like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The intent from the beginning was that the lawn was going to be used for historical purposes, and that’s what the council voted on."

The city has until September 10, 2014 to remove the massive monument.

Watch a report on Judge Parker's ruling via KRQE below.