Mayor Vetoes Council's Decision to Appeal Ten Commandments Case

Lawrence Morahan | Senior Staff Writer | Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Mayor Vetoes Council's Decision to Appeal Ten Commandments Case

( - The mayor of La Crosse, Wis., said a verse from the Bible partially inspired his decision Wednesday to veto a measure the city council passed in favor of a Ten Commandments display at a local park.

Mayor John D. Medinger said he consulted the Bible before he made his decision and was struck by a verse from the Gospel of St. Matthew, which read, "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."

"I felt comfortable that Jesus would say, 'The park belongs to Caesar and the monument belongs to God, and it should be moved,'" Medinger told .

The city council voted Tuesday night 15 - 2 to appeal a July 14 ruling in which a federal judge ordered the city to remove a Ten Commandments display from a public park.

The council scheduled another meeting for Thursday night, when it is expected to override Medinger's veto and press ahead with the appeal. The council needs 12 votes to override.

Medinger said his decision also was inspired by legal and budgetary concerns.

"I became convinced that the monument's presence in the park was indeed unconstitutional, and since I take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States, I felt duty bound to veto the council's action," he said.

"I'm concerned about the financial aspect of an appeal in this very, very tight budget that we're in. To spend another 50 or 100 thousand dollars in a losing cause seems to me to be unwise," he said.

See Earlier Story:

City Council Mulls Appeal of Ten Commandments Case

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