INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A federal judge on Friday issued a temporary injunction barring the state from erecting a Ten Commandments monument on the Statehouse lawn.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union sued to block the monument, saying it violates the Constitution by representing the establishment of religion by the state.

The state has not decide whether to appeal, said Cheryl Reed, a spokeswoman for Gov. Frank O'Bannon.

A new Indiana law that went into effect July 1 allows schools and other government units to post the Ten Commandments if they are displayed with other historical documents.

The Statehouse monument would include inscriptions of the Bill of Rights and the preamble to the Indiana Constitution in addition to the Biblical Ten Commandments.

``We believe that because this monument was to be displayed in a historical context it would be constitutional,'' Reed said.

Indiana Civil Liberties Union lawyer Ken Falk noted that the injunction is temporary and said the case still must be litigated on its merits. A trial date has not been set.

``The judge indicated that ... the monument lacks a secular purpose and it has the effect of endorsing a religious belief,'' Falk said. ``Either one of those two is enough to render the law unconstitutional.''

A Ten Commandments monument was erected at the Statehouse in 1958, but it was removed in 1991 after being vandalized several times.


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