Reuters, July 24, 2003
PHOENIX, Arizona (Reuters) — The bible is back at the Grand Canyon – at least for now.
Three bronze plaques inscribed with biblical passages that were removed this month from scenic overlooks at the canyon’s South Rim have been reinstalled pending legal advice, David Barna, a National Park Service spokesman, said Thursday.
The plaques were pulled from Hermit’s Rest, Lookout Studio and Desert View overlooks earlier this month after the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union concluded that they violated the U.S. Constitution’s precepts on separation of church and state. As a national park, the Grand Canyon is run by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“We need to take a step back and look at this,” said Barna. “We’ll need some help.” It was not known when a final decision would be made.
The plaques, belonging to the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, were placed at popular spots on the busy South Rim 33 years ago to honor God for creating the majestic, crimson-hued canyon in northern Arizona.
They contain passages from the Book of Psalms and a verse from the King James version of the Bible which reads, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”
“We are very happy they are back up and giving glory back to God again,” said Sister Pinea Zarkos, a spokeswoman for the Sisterhood of Mary in Phoenix. “We are all praying now that they will remain up.”