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Alabama ring in Texas woman’s Bible suit

Houston, Aug. 26 (Reuters): A Texas woman has filed a lawsuit to remove a religious memorial from the grounds of the Harris County Courthouse, saying she was prompted by the Alabama controversy over a Ten Commandments monument.

The lawsuit requests that county officials get rid of a King James Bible enclosed in glass atop a 4-foot pedestal outside the courthouse. The memorial was erected in 1956 to honour a late Houston industrialist for his contributions to a homeless programme. It fell into neglect and became filled with trash, but was refurbished in 1995 under the direction of a local Republican judge.

Houston real estate agent Kay Staley, a member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said she filed the suit yesterday out of alarm over the Alabama controversy. “I saw how vicious this was becoming (in Alabama) and it looked to me like it needed to be stopped as soon as possible (in Houston),” she said.

In Alabama, state Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore has been ordered by a federal judge and his fellow justices to remove a two-tonne Ten Commandments monument he had erected in the rotunda of the state judicial building.

Harris County judge Robert Eckels, a Republican, said the county would fight Staley’s lawsuit on grounds that the memorial is a tribute to a man who was deeply religious, not a religious monument.

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