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Florida Preacher Seeking Student Bible Backers

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Jack Moore, a lay preacher and toll collector, has failed in his two-year effort to get the Brevard County, Fla., school board to allow him to hang framed posters of the Ten Commandments in its schools.

Undaunted, Mr. Moore is now trying to send the Christian message into the county's schools on the backs of the students.

A few weeks ago, he began offering T-shirts free to students who were willing to wear them to school. He has said the commandments are an important part of education and, thus, belong in the public schools.

The Brevard branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed Mr. Moore's poster campaign on the grounds that it violated the constitutional separation of church and state, has no problems with the short-sleeved-shirt initiative.

"It is the students' right of religious freedom to express themselves through their T-shirt," said the chapter's president, Aditya Mishra.

School officials don't seem to mind students wearing the Ten Commandments either. Said Ralph P. Beckett, principal at Rockledge High School: "No, I'm not opposed to them; they're better than some I've seen come out of the local surf shops." Brevard County is on the Atlantic shoreline.

It is too early to tell how effective Mr. Moore's back-to-basics approach to the Ten Commandments will be in the eastern Florida school system. He says that "a few" students have accepted his free T-shirt offer so far.

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