Sabine Co. Ten Commandments sign causes debate

Published: Apr. 14, 2014 at 12:01 AM CDT
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SABINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - "Ya'll this isn't about church. It's about Jesus Christ," says Jeanette Golden to about 40 Christians gathering to show their support for what they say is a right to display a sign showing the Ten Commandments.

In August Golden placed the sign on the edge of her 28 acres, located not too far from the state line on Highway 21. About three months later, she got a certified letter from the Texas Department of Transportation informing her to take the sign down.

"They said that we did not meet the regulations," said Golden.

Specifically, the Highway Beautification Transportation Code. Golden, a pastor of Word of Truth Family Church in Hemphill has objected to the order going on now five months.

God', the organization providing the faith based banners nationwide, is involved. It worked out a compromise with the state. Golden agreed to paint over the organization's web address to qualify the sign as 'art in the yard'.

Matter settled, at least Golden thought. This week the state said a permit was necessary. Total cost is $250, plus an annual fee of $150.

"Too much money to keep it on my private property and I don't know if I'm doing anything illegal and I'm just standing up for what I believe," responded Golden.

Donors have purchased a billboard, less than a mile from Golden's sign. The banner, In God We Trust over an American flag is scheduled to go up next week.

A spokesperson with the Department of Transportation says what's on the sign is not the objection, but rather its failure to abide by the Highway Beautification Act. She says federal mandates require TxDOT to insure all signs are following the rules or funding could go away.