March 16, 2005

Commandments monuments started out as movie promotio



The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - (KRT) - Many of the Ten Commandments monuments found across America started out, partly, as a movie promotion.

Back in 1946, E.J. Ruegemer was a juvenile court judge in Minnesota. He used to tell a story about a delinquent boy who came into his court and didn't know what the Ten Commandments were.


Judge Ruegemer had an idea: print up copies for courtrooms and classrooms.

His project, taken up by an organization called the Fraternal Order of Eagles, eventually got the attention of Cecil B. DeMille, the legendary director whose epic The Ten Commandments hit theaters in 1956.

The two men found Catholic, Jewish and Protestant scholars willing to come up with a version of the Commandments that incorporated all three traditions. (In different texts, the Commandments have different wordings, even different numberings.)

About 4,000 granite slabs were eventually placed by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. They include the one in Austin that the Supreme Court is considering - and one in Fair Park in Dallas.

The stars of the movie, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Martha Scott, attended many of the dedications.

The Fair Park monument spent some years in a warehouse but was put back on display in the 1990s, in a flowerbed near the park's main entry on Perry Avenue.

Nobody has complained about the monument, said Craig Holcomb, executive director of Friends of Fair Park.

For another view of the story, please check out the website of the Eagles at

Posted by Wintermute at March 16, 2005 08:01 AM