The national project of placing Ten Commandments in stone
monuments was conceived in 1955 when Cecil Demille was in Israel
filming the Ten Commandments Movie. Cecil Demille thought it would
be a good idea to place the Ten Commandments in permanent markers
across the United States. He called Judge E.J. Ruegemer, who was
famous for placing Ten Commandments plaques in public places across
the United States. Judge Ruegemer, working with the Fraternal Order
of Eagles, had placed over 25,000 Ten Commandments plaques in
courthouses, city halls, and where ever anyone would allow the Ten
Commandments to be posted. Judge Ruegemer was honored in August
1952, as he gave a copy of the Ten Commandments to President Harry
Mr. Demille originally wanted the Ten Commandments to be placed
in bronze monuments in public places as it was commonly done in
courthouses and city halls across the United States. Judge Ruegemer,
felt that the original Ten Commandments was written in stone and
persuaded Cecil Demille to precede with the project using stone
monuments. Perhaps this was also more fitting to be in line with the
thinking of Daniel the prophet, who describes the Kingdom of God as
a "Stone Kingdom, in Daniel Chapter 2.
The local organizations of the Fraternal Order of Eagles
(FOE), began raising money for placing the Ten Commandments stone
monuments across America. They raised a lot of the money the old
fashion way from bake sales, car washes, or simply soliciting funds
from individuals. The project got a big financial boost, when
Paramount Pictures agreed to share some of the proceeds from the
movie with the FOE. Paramount Pictures established an "Eagles Night"
where the Ten Commandments movie was being shown. FOE Eagle members
help sell tickets, and a percentage of the ticket sales were turned
over to the FOE to be used to finance the placing of the Ten
Commandments in the local community. No money exchanged hands
between Cecil Demille, Judge Ruegemr and the Fraternal Order of
Eagles. In 1956, the FOE honored Cecil DeMille, in an article in the
Eagles magazine. Cecil DeMille, strongly believed that we would have
a better society if our young people would see the Ten Commandments
and obeyed them.
Some of the actors from Paramount Pictures in the Ten
Commandments Movie participated in the dedication of some of the
stone monuments. Charlton Heston (Moses)was the guest speaker at the
dedication of the Ten Commandments Monument at the North
Dakota-Canadian border in 1956 at the International Peace Garden.
Martha Scott (mother of Moses), assisted in the dedication of the
monument in Pittsburgh in 1956. Yul Brynner (Rameses) was the guest
Hollywood star in the 1955 dedication of the the Ten Commandments
Monument at the city hall in Milwaukee. This for a corner stone of a
new addition of the city hall.
Famous quotes concerning the Ten Commandments:
Yul Brynner (Rameses) "Man has made 32,600,000 laws. God made
only ten, and yet there is no law among all these millions man has
made that isn?t covered with the Divine ones you can count on the
fingers of your hands."
Charlton Heston (Moses) "The Ten Commandments have become the
basis for the whole code of human law . . . It is appropriate that
on the border between the two countries, the United States and
Canada, the Ten Commandments have an important place to show how men
can live in peace."
Cecil DeMille, Director of the Ten Commandments Movie.
"Some of the saddest words ever written are those in the Book
of Common Prayer: "We have left undone those things which we ought
to have done." It might be salutary, if something cruel, to inscribe
those words on the walls of our juvenile courts facing the plate
where parents sit. But it would be more salutary if our schools and
homes - and our minds and hearts - were deeply inscribed with
certain other words which are the answer to those questions. There
are such Words.
They are the Ten Commandments.
They are older than Moses, older than this mountain, because
they are not laws: they are the law.
To guide young people in today's complex world we need all the
light that expert knowledge and advanced scientific techniques can
give. But most of all we need the Divine Code of Guidance which was
given to the world.
That is why I am so enthusiastic about the Fraternal Order of
Eagles' project of circulating and erecting copies of the Ten
Commandments everywhere that the Order's widespread influence
reaches. The many young people who will know the Commandments better
because of the Eagles' work may well apply to themselves the words
the Lord spoke here at Sinai long ago: "I bear you on eagles' wings,
and brought you unto myself."
Ambridge, Pennsylvania was the first FOE Ten Commandments
stone monument to be placed, which occurred in 1955. The first to be
placed on the grounds of a state capital was also in 1955, in
Denver, Co. The majority of the FOE stone monuments were placed in
the mid 1950s thru the mid 1960s. The last documented FOE Ten
Commandments monument was erected in 1985.
The majority of the stone monuments were placed in small
communities with only local people taking center stage. Placing the
Ten Commandments in public places was a practice that was common
across the first three hundreds years in America beginning with the
Pilgrims. Because the practice was so common, the records of all the
monuments were not always kept, and most of the records of the
presentations have been lost. The exact number of placements are not
known, with speculation of a few hundred to more than 2,000 stone
monuments were placed by the FOE.
What is known is that the stone monuments placed by the
Fraternal Order of Eagles, have been the center of numerous court
battles. The most recent famous case before the Supreme Court in
2005, was the Ten Commandments Monument that is standing at the
capital of Texas in Austin.
The Ten Commandments is the most commonly placed scripture in
public places. This is true in all of the countries of Europe, and
has been true in America since our nation's founding. In the Bible,
we are requested by Moses, Deuteronomy 6:9, to display the Ten
Commandments. This is the only place in the Bible, that requests
that we display any scripture verse. It appears that our forefathers
took this request seriously and made permanent monuments across the
nation and have done so for the past several hundred years. Several
magazine articles have estimated that the Ten Commandments are
displayed in over 4,000 public places across America. Three
monuments of the public Ten Commandments monuments are in the U.S.
Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Published on Friday, March 25, 2005 by the New York Times
The God Racket, From DeMille to DeLay
by Frank Rich
As DeMille readied his costly Paramount production for release
a half-century ago, he seized on an ingenious publicity scheme. In
partnership with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a nationwide
association of civic-minded clubs founded by theater owners, he
sponsored the construction of several thousand Ten Commandments
monuments throughout the country to hype his product. The Pharaoh
himself - that would be Yul Brynner - participated in the gala
unveiling of the Milwaukee slab. Heston did the same in North
Dakota. Bizarrely enough, all these years later, it is another of
these DeMille-inspired granite monuments, on the grounds of the
Texas Capitol in Austin, that is a focus of the Ten Commandments
case that the United States Supreme Court heard this month.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles and the War over the Ten
In 1943, a Minnesota juvenile court judge named E. J. Ruegemer
hatched a simple plan to save the youth of America, whom he saw as
"without any code of conduct or standards by which to govern their
actions." Accordingly, the judge concluded that the nation's
juveniles "could benefit from exposure to one of mankind's earliest
codes of conduct, the Ten Commandments." The judge also happened to
be the chair of the Youth Guidance Committee of the Fraternal Order
of Eagles, a goodwill group formed near the end of the
19th century that today claims as one of its chief
accomplishments the advent of Mother's Day.
Because the FOE monuments are so conspicuous and typically
perceived as tied to one religion, Christianity,
many courts have found them in violation of the Constitution.
Considering the high profile of Roy Moore?s attempt to install his
monument, as well as the increased visibility of religion in
contemporary culture, these monuments are likely to come under
increased review. The following are additional current or recent
cases involving Ten Commandments monuments that were originally
donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles:
The Fraternal Order of Eagles supports the public display of
the Ten Commandments and their attorneys were at the Supreme Court
during the presentation of the famous landmark Texas case in March
Missouri State Capital features Ten Commandments,
Donated by Fraternal Order of Eagles
The Missouri State Aerie Fraternal Order of Eagles donated the
monument to the Missouri Capitol in 1958. It was dedicated in
Jefferson City on June 28 of that year, with then Lt. Gov. Edward V.
Long (later a U.S. Senator) presiding over the ceremony.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE), an international
humanitarian organization, began donating the monuments. With the
release of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments."
The Ten Commandments monument movement grew and the FOE has
since donated more than hundreds of the Ten Commandment monuments to
state, county, and city government land around the United States,
according to an
FOE Web site.