Cochrane asked his Facebook friends for feedback and about 280 people of 300 responded in favor of the monument. Those who opposed feared it violates separation of church and state, he said.
"The true sense of what is the separation of church and state is the idea of the government putting one religion over another," he said. "This case is a little bit different than what most people think of separation of church and state."
The monument promotes laws that are based on some of the commandments and not any religion, he said. Also many people recognize the Ten Commandments as a universal code of conduct.
He said he's in favor of building more monuments to other beliefs. An atheist group recently won the right to erect a monument to atheism in front of a Florida courthouse.
"If that's what it took for peace and tranquility, then I am for it," he said.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that a 40-year-old monument of the Ten Commandments on a Texas courthouse lawn did not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment because the monument itself has historical value. The court has ruled less favorably on newer monuments because they are viewed as clear endorsements of religion.
According to the Pew Research Center, about 19 percent of the West Virginia population identifies as unaffiliated with a major religion. While a majority polled identified as Protestant Christian, about 2 percent identified as Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.