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US court allows Fargo 10 Commandments monument while secular displays banned

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On Monday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that a Ten Commandments monument located in front of Fargo, Minnesota’s city hall does not violate the separation of church and state.

The Red River Freethinkers sued the city of Fargo in 2002 and lost after a judge declared that the monument was not religious — and did not, therefore, violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause — because it espoused values that are also secular. In 2007, the group petitioned the city to allow it place a secular monument next to the one celebrating the Ten Commandments, at which point the city considered moving the existing monument to private property.

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However, that proposal angered many residents, who collected signatures on a petition to ban the city from removing the Ten Commandments monument from public property. The City Commission approved that petition, and went one step furthering, banning any other monument from joining the Ten Commandments one in the Civic Center plaza.

The one judge who dissented in the Circuit Court’s ruling, Kermit E. Bye, stated that this second ban is the reason that the monument violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. “The City Commission’s decisions grant the Ten Commandments monument a sole, permanent, and prominent location in the Civic Plaza” means that “the city basically acted in a way that supports one religion.”

In response to claims by the majority that this monument is akin to others which have not been found to violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, Judge Bye wrote that “the City’s Ten Commandments monument stands in substantially dissimilar environs” because “no other monuments share the Civic Plaza.”

The Red River Freethinkers have one last legal option — take the case to the Supreme Court. “If we do it,” Charles Sawicki, president of the Freethinkers, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “Fargo better up its budget into the millions.”


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England pubs reopen on US Independence Day — after first nationwide closure since 1665’s Great Plague

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The streets of Soho filled with merry drinkers in London on Saturday and the pubs of Manchester were packed as England's hospitality sector returned from a three-month coronavirus hiatus.

"It feels amazing," said Leo Richard Bill, a soldier, after getting through the door of one of London's buzziest restaurants on the Thames River's popular south bank.

"It’s been what, like three months since... me and everyone else haven’t been able to get outside and have a good time. So yeah, it feels good to get amongst it," he said.

Parts of London and other cities, deserted during lockdown, sprang to life as people dressed up and came out for "Super Saturday" -- the day England's hospitality sector reopened for the first time since March.

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2020 Election

Trump’s angry words and Coronavirus surge darken Independence Day weekend in America

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The United States marked an unusually somber Independence Day on Saturday, with President Donald Trump bashing domestic opponents and China -- but praising the country's coronavirus response, despite a record surge in cases.

Across the country, virus fears dampened or nixed Main Street parades, backyard barbecues and family reunions on a day when Americans typically celebrate their 1776 declaration of independence from Britain.

Instead of adopting a unifying tone, Trump -- facing a tough re-election and eager to mobilize his political base -- railed against protesters demanding racial justice after unarmed African American George Floyd was killed by a white police officer.

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2020 Election

‘Spoiler’ Kanye West mocked for running for president against his pal Trump: ‘2020 never fails to disappoint’

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President Donald Trump appears to have lost the support of one of his most well-known Black supporters as Kanye West announced on Saturday that he is running for president.

“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” West posted on Twitter, with the hashtag #2020VISION.

The musician was mocked for his presidential bid, here's some of what people were saying:

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