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Ten Commandments supporters rally on Capitol lawn

Replica of Alabama chief justice's monument ends 5-state tour

From Jessica Rosgaard
CNN Washington Bureau

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- About 200 people greeted a replica of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument Sunday on the West Lawn of the Capitol after a five-state tour to protest its removal in late August.

The eight-day "Save the Commandments" caravan began in Montgomery, Alabama, where the original, 2.6-ton granite monument was removed from the rotunda of the state appellate court building after a federal judge ruled it an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

"This five-state tour is part of the national cry for this court, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the United States Congress, to resolve that we are indeed one nation under God, and we wish to remain so as an American people," said the Rev. Rob Schenck, an evangelical Christian minister and head of the National Clergy Council.

Participants called on Congress to "move quickly" to support the public display of the Ten Commandments.

"Congress every day opens with prayer," said John Grater, who traveled from New York for the event. "These are just good moral values. If you don't want to proclaim that you're a Christian, that's all right. [The Ten Commandments] are fundamental things that keep our country strong."

At church services earlier in the morning, three clergy members of the "Save the Commandments" caravan were arrested outside St. Matthew's Church after failing to heed law enforcement warnings to stay behind preset barriers.

About 75 members of the group American Atheists held a counter-protest near the Capitol. The group argued that religious symbols like the Ten Commandments belong in the more than 350,000 places of religious worship in the United States, rather than in government buildings.

American Atheists supporter Shari Bombick said the Constitution guarantees not only freedom of religion but also freedom from government-supported religious worship.

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