Sometime over the weekend the lights went out in front of the Christian organization Faith and Action's office next door to the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill and someone – or a few someones – managed to yank over an 850-pound copy of the Ten Commandments that's etched into granite.
"They'd have to be some hefty kids," Peggy Nienaber, chief of program at the center, told U.S. News.
On Monday Nienaber notorized a conditional offer at a press conference, promising not to press charges if the culprit(s) eat some humble pie over dinner at the center.
The monument was originally located in front of a school in Adams County, Ohio, before a court ordered it be removed. Copies of the Ten Commandments have caused numerous legal dust-ups – including a 2003 Alabama case where the state supreme court's chief justice defied court orders to remove one such monument.
The vandalized monument itself was the subject of a political struggle. It took five years for the organization to receive permission – in 2006 – to plop it along 2nd Street NE, near the rear entrance to the Supreme Court. It was installed with a steel bar to re-enforce it.
Faith and Action says on its website that the location "ensured that the justices of the United States Supreme Court would see them every day when they arrived and left their building."
"It could not be a single person's job," Nienaber said. "Who did it? I don't know. Unfortunately we had several pastors try to pick it up, thinking they were helping, and then a police officer tried to pick it up, so quite frankly I'm not sure they're going to be able to get fingerprints."