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Judge orders Bible removed from courthouse

Aug. 10, 2004 at 7:23 PM

HOUSTON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge ruled Tuesday a Bible displayed in a monument outside a county courthouse in Houston must be removed.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake said the Bible must be removed within 10 days and Harris County must pay $41,000 in court costs and attorney fees, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Kay Staley, a real estate broker and attorney, filed a lawsuit against the county contending the display violates the First Amendment ban on establishment of religion.

The 4-foot stone monument, which contains The King James Bible under glass, was constructed with private funds during the 1950s as a memorial to a Houston philanthropist.

Harris County argued the display primarily honored William Mosher, but the plaintiffs said it unconstitutionally promotes a specific religion at a government building.

County Judge Robert Eckels said he was disappointed in the federal court's decision and would appeal.

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