Debate Over Quote on Courthouse Square in Scranton

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A well-known monument in Lackawanna County surrounds itself in controversy, mainly for fact errors.

One of the errors etched in the marble is that of a Bible verse on the wall. The source of the verse reads Anonymous. Contractors are working to fix the errors on the wall. County Commissioner Laureen Cummings has been fighting to have them change Anonymous to Jesus Christ.

The monument that sits outside Lackawanna County Courthouse has quotes from historical figures and local heroes. The problem is some names are spelled wrong and the dates are incorrect.

“I think it is a wonderful thing to have. I think it is great. But make it right,” Charles Brewer of Greenfield Township said.

Brewer came to the courthouse to see if his wife’s cousin’s name had been corrected. His name is Eric Slebodnik, who died in Iraq. A quote from a poem he wrote in 2004 is etched in the marble. Slebodnik was spelled wrong when the monument was built in the mid-2000s.

“I mean he gave his life for the country. You would think he would get his name right,” Brewer said.

The county is spending nearly $60,000 to correct the mistakes, more than a decade old, including the Anonymous Bible verse.

“The appropriate in my opinion and others that is should say John 15:13 and after the quote Jesus Christ. Just like every other quote here says,” Cummings said.

Cummings has been pushing for the change for years.

When asked if she thought it would get changed, Cummings said “It will get changed. It has to because it’s incorrect now.”

Brewer appreciates Cummings’ fight to attribute the verse.

“Give him the acknowledgment of something that he actually said,” Brewer said.

Eyewitness News asked people is this a case of separation between church and state. Many people said no and they don’t mind it. Mr. Brewer said it’s ok because church is getting involved with state or government, not the other way around.

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