Ten-year-old starts petition to get Commandments put in public places

September 18, 2003|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - Austin Hinds is on fire, says his family. When he found out the Ten Commandments were being taken down from public places around the country, he was decidedly upset.

As a devoted member of the Crab Orchard Emanuel Baptist Church, Hinds began a petition for youngsters under 18, to be sent to Congress, urging the United States Government to put the commandments back in public buildings and schools. He has even e-mailed the president, explaining his convictions.

All in a day's work for a fifth-grader at Stanford Elementary.

Hinds, 10, says he started the petition because of a calling.

"It felt like God was calling me to do something. It was God's word and it wasn't right to take it down from our schools," he said.

"He came home the day they took the Ten Commandments down (in Alabama) very upset," said his mother, Jennifer Hinds.

After talking it over with his pastor, Ron Meece, Austin decided to make his voice heard.


"I helped him word the petition, but he knew what he wanted to do," said Jennifer Hinds.

Austin and his sister, McKenzie, are traveling around the state trying to collect their goal of 700 signatures. To date, they have over 260 names on the dotted lines.

"He and his little sister got some of them from school, from his friends. We went to football practice and his little sister walked out there and got 60 (signatures)," said Jennifer Hinds.

"We want them to sign it for us, for the Ten Commandments in public schools," said an enthusiastic McKenzie. "It means that it's very special and very important to us."

At the tender age of six, she is an avid supporter of her brother's project, not only collecting signatures at his little league football practices but also helping the family pass the petition at area malls and churches.

"We were going to go to Alabama on Labor Day weekend, but my husband got a crick in his neck and couldn't drive," said their mother. "So instead we went to the mall."

The Hindses say they still hope to make their pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama.

Locally, they are keeping the petition circulating in local churches. They are also planning to post fliers in the area advertising the petition.

"It's really hard being a Christian my age, let alone his age. I am very, very proud of him - me and his pap-paw both," said his grandmother, Donna Blanton. "I'm extremely proud of him."

To sign the petition or for more information, contact Jennifer Hinds at (606) 365-4154.

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