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Hindu deity on mural sparks Ten Commandments request

By Lyndsey Price, lprice@wcyb.com
Published On: May 17 2013 04:53:31 PM CDT
Updated On: May 15 2013 05:00:00 PM CDT

A painting in the Barter Theater has sparked emotions with a lot of people in Washington County, Virginia.

ABINGDON, Va. -

A painting in the Barter Theater in has sparked emotions with a lot of people in Washington County, Virginia; now, the Ten Commandments will be displayed in the county's Government Center as well.

We learned the painting given to the Barter Theater features a depiction of Shiva, a Hindu deity.

"My question was if a Hindu god can be displayed, why can Christians not have the Ten Commandments and other Christian symbols displayed also?" asked Jerry Eggers, pastor of nearby Greendale Chapel.

Eggers went to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday night to ask. More than 300 people showed up in support. "It was very uplifting to see that many people that would come out," said board of supervisors member Randy Pennington.

With a unanimous vote, the board agreed to hang a plaque of the Ten Commandments in the Government Center. The plaque will be donated by Eggers and other members of the community. "There is no government tax money going towards this project," said Pennington.

Pennington says the next step is to form a committee to figure out exactly where the Ten Commandments will go inside the building.

The people we spoke with say they are happy the board is allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed. "Wherever you want to put the Ten Commandments, I would certainly agree to that," said Kathryn Widener.

"It's a guideline for our laws. It's what we live by," said church member Annette Blanchette.

The Barter Theater tells us the painting is not a religious representation, but instead cultural. They say the painting has nothing to do with religion.

We tried to find people who were opposed to the Ten Commandments being displayed but weren't able to locate an interview. Pennington also told us he's received no phone calls against it.

Pastor Eggers says the plaque will be delivered within the next four to five weeks. The board tells us there is no timeline for when the Ten Commandments will be on display.

The letter Eggers wrote was submitted to us by a member of the church and can be viewed below:

Eggers letter