White House Plugs 10 Commandments Displays

zimv20

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Jul 18, 2002
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WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to allow Ten Commandments displays on government property, adding a federal view on a major church-state case that justices will deal with early next year.

The government has weighed in before in religion cases at the high court, including one earlier this year that challenged the words "under God" in the classroom recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The government supported a California school district in that case. Now, it is backing two Kentucky counties that had framed copies of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses.

The American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) sued McCreary and Pulaski counties, claiming the displays were an unconstitutional promotion of religion. The group won.

Justices will hear arguments, probably in February, in the counties' appeal and in a second case involving a Texas homeless man who wants a 6-foot granite monument removed from the state Capitol grounds.

The administration's top Supreme Court lawyer, Paul Clement, told justices in Wednesday's filing that Ten Commandments displays are common around the nation — and in the court's own building, the Capitol and national monuments.

"Reproductions and representations of the Ten Commandments have been commonly employed across the country to symbolize both the rule of law itself, as well as the role of religion in the development of American law," Clement wrote.

Clement said the displays are important in educating people "about the nation's history and celebrating its heritage."

The Supreme Court banned the posting of Ten Commandments in public schools in 1980.

(more)
 

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Feb 14, 2004
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OBJECTIVE reality
Heard something interesting on the radio today.

I was listening in the car, and when I turned it on, it was tuned in to one of those religious stations my wife likes. The host was talking about how, throughout history, governments have established state religions to "protect themselves" from the tyranny of non-believers...and how the church-state separation we enjoy in the U.S. was an "attack" on that "tradition".

I damn near drove off the road.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
Completely OT, but I feel like such a Toole now, having finally realized where IJ gets his screen name from. It has been a LONG time since I read that book, but I knew I knew that reference. It's been bugging me for a long time now. :cool:
 

blackfox

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2003
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For the Irony inspectors:

Have not these commandments been broken by the Administration?

- Thou shall not kill (I know the Church has made an exception for War death [however dubious]. I am not aware of their stance on Capital Punishment [which Bush loved in Texas].)

- Thou shall not steal

- Thou shall not bear false witness

- Thou shalt not cover your neigbors' goods

- Thou shall not worship graven images (ie Nationalism [flag etc] Capitalism [dollars].)

Perhaps we are planning to add an eleventh: "Do as I say, not as I do."

Carry on...
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
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mactastic said:
Completely OT, but I feel like such a Toole now, having finally realized where IJ gets his screen name from. It has been a LONG time since I read that book, but I knew I knew that reference. It's been bugging me for a long time now. :cool:
Welcome to the confederacy! (Anyone else dying to know need only follow my homepage link.)
 

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Feb 14, 2004
2,435
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OBJECTIVE reality
IJ Reilly said:
Or a divorce. :eek:
Nah. She has a stronger faith than I do, so she listens to more of that stuff. But she has a good b.s. detector too. Usually her views are just as liberal as mine. That's one of many reasons I love her so much.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
Thomas Veil said:
Nah. She has a stronger faith than I do, so she listens to more of that stuff. But she has a good b.s. detector too. Usually her views are just as liberal as mine. That's one of many reasons I love her so much.
Glad to hear it, but it must make listening to those radio stations pretty hard to take. I mean, every time I hear one, it's pretty much nonstop right wing political blather mixed in with quasi-religion.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
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Northern Virginia
skunk said:
Many Native Americans might disagree.
And what about our "darker side" of our history? The use of Chinese "slave labor" to build our railroads, the interment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the fact of the immigration of many religions in to the US over our history?

Much of the news of late makes me think the RNC to be racist and bigoted (along with those in the DNC that support the RNC and their agenda). Unless you are rich and white (or at least rich - they are willing to look past race if you have the money IMO), you need not apply to "their" AmeriKa (spelling intentional).
 

kuyu

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2003
694
0
Louisville
I'm not too far from Pulaski county. The thing everyone doesn't understand about these places is that, as you drive through the county, 9/10 houses have the ten commandments in their front yard.

I'm not advocating that the commandments be posted on government buildings, but the citizens of these towns feel violated by this. Imagine, you live in a small Kentucky town. Everyone you know goes to one of 3 churches. Everyone goes to church. You know everyone. A lawyer from New York who's never been to your town, knows nobody in your town, and could care less about your town sues your town for pushing your religion on people. What are these people supposed to think? That they don't have the right to make their own decisions?

I know there is separation of church and state, but isn't it weird that the people in the county are all for the postings, yet they are told what they may or may not do by an ACLU lawyer who lives 1000 miles away? What about their civil liberty to freedom of speech? Has any ruling handed down by said court been swayed by a document hanging on a wall in the foyer?

How about this: If the ten commandments offend you, look the other way! If nudity/vulgarity offend you, don't watch/listen to it! If the nativity offends you, look the other way! If the star of David offends you, look the other way! If a prayer rug..... The ACLU has become the Anit-Christian Lawyers Union. I'm not a christian, by the way.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
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First of all, it isn't an ACLU lawyer who sues. They sue on behalf of someone locally who's got standing in the case. Second, the Constitution and Bill of Rights apply equally to everyone everywhere in the country. Local governments don't get to set it aside whenever they like just because a majority of their constituents don't support one of its provisions. What kind of Constitution would it be if that were allowed? Finally, it isn't about "offense," it's about the rule of law. Either we've got it or we don't. But didn't I hear that line at least once a day during the Clinton impeachment?
 

pseudobrit

macrumors 68040
Jul 23, 2002
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kuyu said:
I'm not advocating that the commandments be posted on government buildings, but the citizens of these towns feel violated by this.
Too bad. It's not our fault they don't understand the importance of and Constitutional mandate for separation of Church and State.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
kuyu said:
I'm not too far from Pulaski county. The thing everyone doesn't understand about these places is that, as you drive through the county, 9/10 houses have the ten commandments in their front yard.

I'm not advocating that the commandments be posted on government buildings, but the citizens of these towns feel violated by this. Imagine, you live in a small Kentucky town. Everyone you know goes to one of 3 churches. Everyone goes to church. You know everyone. A lawyer from New York who's never been to your town, knows nobody in your town, and could care less about your town sues your town for pushing your religion on people. What are these people supposed to think? That they don't have the right to make their own decisions?

I know there is separation of church and state, but isn't it weird that the people in the county are all for the postings, yet they are told what they may or may not do by an ACLU lawyer who lives 1000 miles away? What about their civil liberty to freedom of speech? Has any ruling handed down by said court been swayed by a document hanging on a wall in the foyer?

How about this: If the ten commandments offend you, look the other way! If nudity/vulgarity offend you, don't watch/listen to it! If the nativity offends you, look the other way! If the star of David offends you, look the other way! If a prayer rug..... The ACLU has become the Anit-Christian Lawyers Union. I'm not a christian, by the way.
It truly becomes a matter of religious freedom verses the freedom from religion. I accept that we are a nation "based" on Christian values. Though the Deist's.

As we have as a nation welcomed those that believe different from the rest of us, should we not be tolerant of different views?

I am seeing more and more that if you are not a WASP, then you need not apply in the US.
 

themadchemist

macrumors 68030
Jan 31, 2003
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Chi Town
kuyu said:
I'm not too far from Pulaski county. The thing everyone doesn't understand about these places is that, as you drive through the county, 9/10 houses have the ten commandments in their front yard.

I'm not advocating that the commandments be posted on government buildings, but the citizens of these towns feel violated by this. Imagine, you live in a small Kentucky town. Everyone you know goes to one of 3 churches. Everyone goes to church. You know everyone. A lawyer from New York who's never been to your town, knows nobody in your town, and could care less about your town sues your town for pushing your religion on people. What are these people supposed to think? That they don't have the right to make their own decisions?

I know there is separation of church and state, but isn't it weird that the people in the county are all for the postings, yet they are told what they may or may not do by an ACLU lawyer who lives 1000 miles away? What about their civil liberty to freedom of speech? Has any ruling handed down by said court been swayed by a document hanging on a wall in the foyer?

How about this: If the ten commandments offend you, look the other way! If nudity/vulgarity offend you, don't watch/listen to it! If the nativity offends you, look the other way! If the star of David offends you, look the other way! If a prayer rug..... The ACLU has become the Anit-Christian Lawyers Union. I'm not a christian, by the way.
The government should not be the purveyor of that which violates a person's rights. If anywhere in the country the government endorses a religion, it is preferential treatment that violates the rights of those who do not ascribe to that religion.

One of the purposes of the law is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. The argument that most people or almost all people like something does not, then, justify the violation of the rights of a few people or almost none.
 

kuyu

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2003
694
0
Louisville
I had a long discussion with my brother on this issue last night. He disagrees with me on this, but I did come up with a good piece of logic.

The separation of church and state is founded in the idea that the state may not give it's endorsement of one particular religion over anyother. Thus, a public school or courthouse cannot, as a representative body of the government as a whole, post the documents of one religion while prohibiting the display of other religious documents. This would be, in effect, a government endorsement of one religion. However, based on this premise, the ten commandments being displayed on a public building does not violate the separation principle so long as another religious groups' documents are allowed to be displayed.

So, if a courthouse or school allows the ten commandments but refuses to allow any other religious items, then there is a problem. I'm not fully abreast in the specific cases in which the ten commandments where stricken from public view, but I can't remember hearing that the case was caused by an official's refusal to allow any other religious symbols to be posted in public view.

The separation principle is check against mandatory religion imposed by a governing body. However, simply having one religious symbol in public view is not mandatory religious impostion until another religion is denied this same privilege.

I admit that this raises the issue of which religions shall be recognized. I could, in my example, post profane words all over a school and call it religion. Therefore, where is line drawn between religion and graffiti? I don't know the answer to this question. However, under the guise of the separation principle, couldn't one make a case for all greek or roman depictions of mythological scenes to be torn down at all government sites?
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
kuyu said:
I had a long discussion with my brother on this issue last night. He disagrees with me on this, but I did come up with a good piece of logic.

The separation of church and state is founded in the idea that the state may not give it's endorsement of one particular religion over anyother. Thus, a public school or courthouse cannot, as a representative body of the government as a whole, post the documents of one religion while prohibiting the display of other religious documents. This would be, in effect, a government endorsement of one religion. However, based on this premise, the ten commandments being displayed on a public building does not violate the separation principle so long as another religious groups' documents are allowed to be displayed.

So, if a courthouse or school allows the ten commandments but refuses to allow any other religious items, then there is a problem. I'm not fully abreast in the specific cases in which the ten commandments where stricken from public view, but I can't remember hearing that the case was caused by an official's refusal to allow any other religious symbols to be posted in public view.

The separation principle is check against mandatory religion imposed by a governing body. However, simply having one religious symbol in public view is not mandatory religious impostion until another religion is denied this same privilege.

I admit that this raises the issue of which religions shall be recognized. I could, in my example, post profane words all over a school and call it religion. Therefore, where is line drawn between religion and graffiti? I don't know the answer to this question. However, under the guise of the separation principle, couldn't one make a case for all greek or roman depictions of mythological scenes to be torn down at all government sites?
the issue today is one of how do we define "religious principles". IMO I see Bush and others trying to define the "debate" according to their "Christian" values. By doing so they are trying to establish a "national" religion.

We as a nation have moved past the stage of of "Christianity", but a nation of many "beliefs". This does open the debate on the values of one verses the other. For who is to judge precepts that allow multiple wives or sacrifice of animals (humans are a whole another topic IMO).

Remember that "under God" was added during the Cold War to our pledge of allegiance. This was during a time in our history that we did not have the diversity of cultures.