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Ten Commandments Georgia looking forward in statewide promotion

Barrow County case payment complete, legal and promotional debt remain


HARTWELL - With a check of $52,681.59, Ten Commandments Georgia paid the remaining court debt to Barrow County commissioners Nov. 8. The group's president, Jody Hice, and executive director, Mike Griffin, were on hand to present the check to commissioners.

Through a series of fundraisers, Ten Commandments Georgia has garnered more than $273,000 for the legal defense of a Ten Commandments display formerly housed in the Barrow County courthouse.

Joe Westbury

Tony Harmon, right, pastor of youth and education at Olivet Baptist Church in Dublin, learns of Ten Commandments Georgia's ongoing efforts from Mike Griffin, the group's executive director. The two visited during the Georgia Baptist Convention annual meeting in Columbus.

The group plans on stepping forward in promoting the display of the Ten Commandments. However, first a remaining $12,000 must be paid off, said Griffin, who also serves as pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. That debt was built up through the group's own legal and promotional expenses.


Historical basis

The most recent fundraising endeavor by Ten Commandments Georgia - the Renewing the Vision banquet held Oct. 3 - raised $37,000.

"Senator Zell Miller highlighted the program, delivering a rousing message that reminded us of the historical basis and cultural relevancy of the need for the Ten Commandments," said Griffin. "All of our hearts were moved as he shared his journey of faith and how difficult circumstances were used to bring him back to God."

DVDs and CDs of Miller's speech at the banquet can be ordered at the group's Web site at

Griffin said that establishing chapters of Ten Commandments Georgia in counties throughout the state is the next step in "restoring a common moral code based on God's laws."

"Erroneous Supreme Court decisions and activist judges have all but made it impossible to win a case related to a private citizen's free exercise of religion and the governments' constitutional right to acknowledge the same God that the founders of the great country once did."

Griffin said comments by District Court Judge William O'Kelley exemplify the bias against the commandments.

"At a pretrial hearing with representatives of the ACLU, [O'Kelley] said that if it was up to him, he'd rip the Ten Commandments off the wall himself," claimed Griffin.


Building support

Griffin went on to say that several counties have made inquiries about establishing a chapter of Ten Commandments Georgia.

"Each chapter will have a steering committee with a chairman. Their main focus will be to put together projects in getting the 10 Commandments into the community. Someone from any denomination can head up a chapter."

A $1,000 initiation fee is required to be paid within a year of joining. An annual $100 fee follows the group's inaugural year. After joining, chapters will become legal affiliates of Ten Commandments Georgia.

Griffin said a lesson learned in the Barrow County case was to build a groundswell of support in preparation for future Ten Commandments cases.

"The point is to get the commandments into the hearts of people first. Let's make sure they become part of our homes, churches and businesses."