A county official in Maryland says he will defend the presence of a Ten Commandments monument in front of the local courthouse as a historic artifact originating from a 1950s campaign to promote the famous Charlton Heston film about Moses.

The Cumberland Times-News (http://bit.ly/1T9u0EM) reports that Jeffrey Davis recently filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that the monument's placement in the court's front lawn violates the U.S. Constitution.

Allegany County Commissioner William R. Valentine says the monument doesn't favor one religion over another. He says he considers the monument to be a historic monument, rather than a religious one, because it was intended to promote the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments."

Although Davis lives in Garrett County, the lawsuit says Davis owns property in Allegany County and is a municipal taxpayer.

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Information from: Cumberland (Md.) Times-News, http://www.times-news.com/timesnew.html