Deseret News, July 20, 2002
By Elaine Jarvik Deseret News staff writer
The “Seven Aphorisms” can be displayed next to the “Ten Commandments,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
The aphorisms are principles of a Utah-based religion known as Summum, founded in 1975 by Corky Ra. Summum, which claims 250,000 members worldwide, filed suit in 1999 against the city of Ogden. Since 1966, the city has allowed a Ten Commandments monument erected by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in a garden next to the municipal building, but it turned down Summum’s request to put up a Seven Aphorisms monument in the same location.
“The Free Speech clause of the First Amendment compels the City of Ogden to treat with equal dignity speech from divergent religious perspectives,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in its ruling.
Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey said the city will appeal the decision.
“We’re disappointed with the ruling,” Godfrey said Friday evening. “I think there’s evidence that the courts of appeals don’t always make the best rulings.”
Summum’s aphorisms include principles of ‘psychokinesis, correspondence, vibration, opposition, rhythm, cause and effect, and gender.” The principle of vibration, for example, states that “nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
According to founder Ra, who assumed the name of the Egyptian sun god, the principles come “from ancient times, before the Bible was written.”
There is always the possibility that Ogden will remove the Ten Commandments monument rather than allow the Seven Aphorisms. That’s what Salt Lake City did in 1998 after it lost a similar Summum case brought by attorney Brian Barnard. Ra said he hopes Ogden will leave the Ten Commandments in place.
“We like the Ten Commandments. We think they’re wonderful,” says Ra. “But we’d like our seven principles up too.”
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