Thirty miles to the north, in Salt Lake City, adherents of a religion called Summum gather in a wood and metal pyramid hard by Interstate 15 to meditate on their Seven Aphorisms, fortified by an alcoholic sacramental nectar they produce and surrounded by mummified animals.
In 2003, the president of the Summum church wrote to the mayor here with a proposal: the church wanted to erect a monument inscribed with the Seven Aphorisms in the city park, “similar in size and nature” to the one devoted to the Ten Commandments.
Su Menu, the church’s president, agreed. “If you look at them side by side,” Ms. Menu said of the two monuments, “they really are saying similar things.”
The Third Commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
The Third Aphorism: “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
Michael W. Daniels, the mayor here, is not the vibrating sort.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Clearly the city’s criteria were drawn up after the fact, but if the court can get over that, it seems to me the criteria are legitimate. However, that only puts off the issue for a few years. The Summum folks will send a couple down there to live and practice their religion, and after they’ve been there for say 3 years (a year longer than Eagles who donated the 10 Comandments monument) they’ll repeat their request.
A better plan for other towns is to cut off all future donations, or subject them to a rigorous committee process with long-winded byzantine rules that will choke off all but the politically connected from making donations. But they had still better be cautious about discriminating in favor of Judeo-Christian symbols, or someone will have his day in court.