By Peter Fredson

March 6, 2005

The Supreme Court of the United States of America is at this moment deciding whether our country will remain a constitutional democracy or become a Biblical Theocracy by posting the 10 Commandments in every public place, including court houses, schools, and congressional offices.

I am apprehensive about the neutrality of the justices in this matter. Their partisan nature was shown in appointing George W. Bush as President of these United States on a straight political choice basis. Ever since that event I have lost respect for the rulings of the Supremes reflecting neutrality rather than partisanship.

Now we are asking them to rule on whether or not it is constitutional to endorse the public postings of Christianity’s Ten Commandments, based on the deceitful claim that all of our laws are based on Bible quotations. They will be asked to consider that when the Commandments speak of God, it is simply ceremonial ritual, traditional ways, and absolutely secular. Religion is not religiousness.  Talking about the Christian God (and there is not the slightest doubt that the posters do NOT mean Allah or Buddha or Krishna), is simply innocuous teaching of good values. Endorsing the Ten Commandments to be posted in every classroom is not establishing any Christian religion…but simply acknowledging the basis of our moral values.

The defenders of the Faith, ACLJ lawyers, point out that there are presently over 4,000 postings and monuments in public places. They have shown a book of paintings with the Ten Commandments Tablets being held by Moses, and how beautiful the paintings are and what a terrible shame that such wonderful works of art, moral virtues, might be ordered “bull-dozed or sand-blasted.” The lawyers point out that some of the postings and paintings are been there for years, and that this makes this “traditional” and even “non-religious.”

They completely ignore that fact that every one of the posters and monuments were imposed, either by deception, stealth or by simply putting the damn things up wherever they are. They ignore that fact that the posters and monuments should never have been put up in the first place. The argument is that “Well, they are now in place, so they should remain there.”

The Supremes undoubtedly will not take into account the demonstrations of True Believers who are blubbering, crying, expostulating, shouting to their God with tears running down their blubbery faces, to “save the 10 Commandments.”  One would think that if the court rules against imposition of religious slogans in public spaces that the 10 Commandments would be lost forever.  One would think that there will no longer remain any of the millions of Bibles printed and distributed by Christian zealots.  One would think that this means the 10 or 20 Commandments would not be allowed to be posted in churches or in the homes of True Believers. One might think that True Believers cannot hang a picture of Moses holding some stone tablets in their bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, garages or any other space that they own.

In my small town there are about 50 churches and I have never seen any of them having a 10 Commandments monument in their front yard.  I’m sure they would be delighted to have the Alabama one, the Texan one, the Pittsburgh one, etc. I think the justices should ask the devout believers to take the monuments and shove them in their own front yards.

And, of course, not a single person arguing before the court will question whether somebody went into seclusion for 40 days, and then came back with some tablets holding slogans in his language, to claim that some God had done it, is at all ridiculous, nonsense or even a simple scam.  ACLU lawyers will show that posting other civil documents along with the 10 Commandments, makes the 10 Commandments secular statements, not at all religious. No, no, no.

Then we have hints that True Believers might take justice into their own hands if thwarted by the Supremes. After all, we had a governor who threatened publicly to call out his National Guard, if a 10 Commandments Monuments in Alabama were touched. We have a Chief Justice of an Alabama Court who demanded that the world acknowledge his God, who refused to obey orders of his superiors to remove a monument he personally put there, and we have hundred of worshippers coming to see the hunk of metal, and they were blubbering, shouting and waving their arms about in religious ecstasy to be near such a sacred monument.  We have most of Congress making statements of “acknowledgement” of the 10 Commandments, and making legislation designed to allow them to be put up anyplace they desired.

What is worse, we know that several of the justices are True Believers.  We know that the Chief Justice has declared that the Wall of Separation between Church and State, which has kept this nation at peace for 200 years, is just a bad metaphor.  We know that Justice Scalia has made reference of preference to Christianity, and that Justice Moore would not hesitate to dump the Constitution in favor of bible dogma. What is worse, we don’t know of any Justice that has not been a devotee of Christianity, bible reader, or participant in Christian prayer sessions. How is it possible for people who were indoctrinated in their youth, to live in the Far Right world imposed on us by True Believer Presidents, and still be impartial, neutral, and logical?

We know the Justices will be under severe pressure. We believe they will act to accommodate Christian beliefs and slogans in public places.  We believe they will find semantic mishmash to justify the imposition of Christianity upon this nation. We believe they will come up with some argument showing that Christian Beliefs are really only tradition, civil ritual, innocuous statements of good morals, ceremonialism, etc., and that everyone who is not a Christian should simply avert their eyes, pretend that they don’t care, and should not resort to civil war over such a tiny thing as imposition.

Should we now expect statues of Jesus, large crucifixes, Virgins, Angels and other religious phenomenon to be placed in public places at taxpayer expense?  Should we now expect that public schools will teach Intelligent Design, have daily prayers to baby Jesus, stop teaching biology? Will we have a New Inquisition?

Let’s see!

36 thoughts on “BIBLE OR CONSTITUTION?

  1. I was hoping someone had posted on this.  I was a little suprised to see what a big deal it is for everyone.  Some of the national broadcasts jumped at the oportunity to show white-trash acting like psychotics worshiping some idol.  I don’t understand what’s so complicated about the case.  As far as I’ve read it wasn’t paid for by taxpayers, it was private donation.  The 1st amendment states that CONGRESS shall PASS NO LAW establishing or restricting the exercise of any religion.  Congress nor any state legislative body is involved, & no law has been passed.  Or maybe I’m missing it: that’s WHY the Supreme Court has to hear it: it’s new territory.

    So it might have more to do with what kind of donations of art may public places accept.  The 10 commmandments, between Judaism, Christianity, Islam, & Mormonism, represent the foundational beliefs in the immutability of right & wrong for 97% of people. & those who are opposed the display of the 10 commandments in particular aren’t opposed to the idea of right & wrong or the rule of law, but the source.  There is no corresponding artwork that could portray the “opposition” because Hammurabi’s code is even worse, & it’s hard to find appropriate abstract art that represents the absence of a source.

    What really percilated my thoughts on the subject was a friend who e-mailed me this cartoon.  It got me to thinking, when I get enough money I want to donate commemorative markers of the Bill of Rights to my church & a few others.  To me, the Bill of Rights is the Reason our churches in America exist the way they do, just like (to me) our courts in America exist the way they do because of the 10 commandments.  Not that it’s a kind of barter or compromise that would end the conroversy, but I honestly like the idea.

    In the end, I don’t really care how the court rules.  A display of art (while vital in communicating our fundamental values) is not an issue of life or death.

  2. or not, I don’t know how to post the graphic I have saved, but it’s by Tom Toles & it shows a monument to the Bill of Rights in a church & a priest saying “I’m not sure if this is the best place for it.

  3. ellie, what about the commandment that says “Thou shalt worship no god before me?” What message does that send to the children who are Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists, Daoists or of any other non-Abrahamic religion? Not to mention those who simply don’t believe in god(s). Frankly I wouldn’t want my kids to have to deal with that on top of everything else they deal with at school.

  4. Is this Peter Fredson guy a robot?

    I don’t care, but I wish I had more opportunity to read his articles.

    In a nutshell, there are members of the majority that respect that there are minorities with other opinions. There are religious believers that understand that the display of their religious texts on public property is potentially offensive to people with different beliefs and there are those do not.

    And there are those that do what they want and to Hell with anybody who disagrees.

  5. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to sit by idly (idoly?) and do nothing. “First they attacked Jews, but I wasn’t a Jew, so I did nothing. Then they attacked Poland, but I wasn’t from Poland. Then they . . .” What constitutes a pattern? When will I be affected? Was America founded on the rule of law or the rule of fantasy? How many people are alive today that remember what happened when Japan adopted Shintoism as the State Religion? How many people are alive today that remember what happened when the Taliban adopted Islam as the State Religion? H E L L O big surprise

  6. thx Vern.  As for the 1st commandment, if you read my comment, I wrote that it was ARTWORK meant to commemorate where most people believe the rule of law originates.  You assume that people who look at artwork of the Greek gods would be offended by their artwork.  & as for the eastern religions you mentioned, from the children I met who were raised in those traditions had a pretty good philosophical understanding that there is nothing to worship so they’d laugh at it, & they also understand the idea of respecting something greater than one’s self.  Afterall, to them, isn’t Abrahamic religions another leg of the elephant?

    leguru, Uh, no middleastern religionocracies (YES, I’m making up that word) are based on the rule of law.  So until we eliminate any kind of art in public that celebrates anything other than humans we’re not safe from the onslaught?  What exacltly is the attack here?  Poeople believing something different than you & feeling the confidence in their freedom to express & celebrate it?  I understand if you just need a place to vent & hold your pity-party that there’s a vast conspiracy against you (God knows, enough Christians in church see atheists that way).  But do you actually believe that you could or even should eliminate anyone else’s ability to express & celebrate beliefs?  Sure, there are a million ways to do so innapropriately, but does a lack of social grace=illegal behavior to you?  Okay, so it’s a position of authority doing so that bothers you.  I personally feel that as long as I can still express my dissent without being physically locked up by the government, I’m thankful to be here.  I see the question of the day as: how the hell do you get a messianic victim complex without a Messiah?

  7. Oops, I goofed. I had meant to post the link to Brooke Allen’s article; “Our Godless Constitution”, as a comment to this blog.  The article can be found at The Nation,  I recommend this as an insightful look at our Founding Fathers’ view of the separation between church and state.  I have read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and it echoes the Deist view of a neutral god of nature.  The FF’s were students of the Enlightenment, not of organized religion.  Remember, the idol at the Capitol building is Athena, not Jehovah.

  8. Ellie,
    The attack here is that religions that are state sponsored and supported will become so politically strong that they oppress others. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Anything that becomes more sacred than human beings diminishes the value of a human being.

  9. Exactly my point.  No one is establishing state sponsoring or support of any religion here.  You have the most illogical circular argument if expression of a belief that humans are valuable, sacred & deserve to be protected by laws diminishes their sacred value…?

  10. Exactly, rennman03.  So we’re silly to feel oppressed by a statue of Athena as an artistic celebration of our philosophical heritage, but somehow it all makes sense to be oppressed by something people actually still believe in?  We can only celebrate symbols of cultural origins that most people don’t share & are inoffensive because we’ve abandoned belief in the reality?

  11. Interpretation:
    Ellie, I have to wonder what exactly is your interpretation of the establishment clause. Are you suggesting a strict literal meaning that defeats the purpose? In other words as long as the congress does not literally establish “XYZ” religion as a national religion it passes the test? Such an interpretation would mean that it would be ok to spend billions of dollars on one religion as long as you do not say that religion is the national religion.

    To claim that just because the funding is not from the government it is ok suggests that as long as a person donates money, their display should be up. As you point out this may have to do with the kind of donations that are accepted. But if the only donations (of a religious persuasion) that are accepted happen to be from one religion, it is hard not to see some form of bias, is it.

    A person may not change his mind because of a statue but that really is not the point. Just as, even if the state establishes a religion, it does not mean that all would change their religious outlook.

    For example, in parts of Virginia, during the school day students are taken out of public school and sent to a nearby church for religious studies. Students can obviously opt in or out, with those opting out staying in school and waiting for their other classmates to return before proceeding with lessons. Now would one claim that because choice was offered and no one was converted that this is proper?

    One thing I find ironic is how people who seek to place religious symbols claim that they are in effect secular. I can understand they do it so as to get it through existing laws.

    Now if it is INDEED secular and have no religious implication whatsoever, why is it that it is the religious people who are supporting it. If it indeed has no religious implication then by right its defenders should be fairly representative of the population rather than those of one particular faith. 

    Why would the Hammurabi be worse? The main attack against it would be its punitive criminal sanctions. But it talks about justice and good governance, protection of the weak, family rights, property, false testimony and even legal procedure. Contrast to the 10Cs, whereby the first 4 talks about god from worship to sabbath and the remaining ones talk about criminal matters and some relationships.

    If you compare both these sources, one would realise the Hammurabi’s code covers a greater aspect of law. In fact with regards to the 10Cs there is a fundamental flaw. Take for example the prohibition of murder. All right, it is prohibited but what if someone murders. Hmm it does not really say anything with regards to the treatment of the murderer…

    On top of that there is the roman law. Which, if you think about it, could be seen as the source for the ten commandments. After all it was only after the Roman Emperor declare Christianity to be the main religion that Christianity went from a minor cult into a larger religion. The Roman Republic and Empire had a rule of law and it did not originate from the 10 Cs.

    But one simple question, why not just put the bill of rights up there rather than any of these “sources.”

    97% point
    Where did you get that figure that the 10 Cs are the foundational belief of 97% of the people of US?

  12. Where did you get that figure that the 10 Cs are the foundational belief of 97% of the people of US?

    You need to ask this question of our beloved ellie?

  13. Pop Tarts:  Your reply to ellie was right on the money.  I couldn’t have done better. Your reasoning was a good counterweight to the Far Right misleading propaganda. Your “secular” comment on “secular” reflects my thought on misleading or bewildering logic. The ploy is that mention of God is not religious … but is “ceremonial deism” and if you put a document on U.S. history next to mention of God, then the entire display becomes “secular.”

  14. Interestingly, upon further investigation, do you know who donated these 10 commandment monumnents around the country?  Cecil B. DeMille donated them to promote his movie, the 10 commandments, staring…the NRA chairman!  See, you’re right, it IS all a conspiracy…

    When I check, I couldn’t find any seperate statistic for the US, so after I checked several states & cities, adding the # of Jews, Christians, Muslims, & Mormons, I guessed around 97%.  I couldn’t find any sites that gave that statistic straight, because everyone was researching other things.  If you can find a better place, I’d appreciate it.

    Yup, I’m a VERY strict interpretation of the establishment clause.  Start donating $ to the government for atheist causes!  No one’s ever done it, so we have no clue how it would be dealt with.

    those opting out staying in school and waiting for their other classmates to return before proceeding with lessons.

    I would consider that choice.  They can spend that time exploring what they do/don’t believe.  Anyway, back to my point about choice of private donations, if someone wants to privately donate a monument to the 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism (which are personal, not public legal) or the Quran or whatever, go ahead.  I think that’s what the Supreme Court is really considering.

    [Hammurabi’s code is] about justice and good governance, protection of the weak, family rights, property, false testimony and even legal procedure.

    I would disagree.  There’s not much difference between women as family & women as property, so no, the weak aren’t protected.  As for the other differences you see…

    with regards to the 10Cs there is a fundamental flaw. Take for example the prohibition of murder. All right, it is prohibited but what if someone murders

    What you see as a flaw, I see as a strength.  The whole point of making a artistic monument to the 10C’s is that they are simple fundamental guidelines.  The specific punishments are laid out in Deuteronomy & Leviticus.

    The 10C’s were a way of freeing the people from the tyranny of the god-king religionocracy of the pharoh in Egypt.  There was no law but what the pharoh decided that day.  Kind of like Plato’s pholosopher king.  There were no unchanging laws, we just trust a really smart person to tell us what to do, & what laws is he himself subject to?

    the roman law. Which, if you think about it, could be seen as the source for the ten commandments.

    What fucked up history class did you take?  Or should I say where were you when you were supposed to be in history.  The Roman EMPIRE had no law but power.  Whoever had power, made the rules.  (Once again, the whole reason law sets people free.)  2nd, the Roman empire came thousands of years after the 10 commandments, & Christ himself fulfilled them. so when Christianity was established as their state religion, gentiles were trying to eliminate the Jewish roots of their new “cult.”  Basically, the Roman Empire has little to do with the legal aspects of our cultural heritage.

  15. I never said the monuments were secular, & wouldn’t.  They’re cultural, & culture includes religion.  most religions hold that God’s creation of humans makes them valuable.  But how humans could possibly hold any value aside from being created by a benevolent God is another debate.

  16. So, to take a sideways look at this – Ellie – if I donated an art piece that commemorated the works of Anton LaVey to a school, and they placed it in the hallway for all students to view, that would be peachy keen for you? I dare to believe that many people would have a major problem with that. 

    (Just in case you need a refresher – Anton LaVey was the author of the Satanic Bible.)

  17. I didn’t need the refresher, I read about him at the Kerry fundraiser.  Are you referring to artwork or to passages?  Either way, a school is different than a courthouse, but either way, I’m in the minority in saying yes.  Although this is in part based on the fact that I don’t think any of his followers have either the money or the generosity to do so, & even if they did, it would help Christianity more than hurt it by scaring & offending people.

  18. But how humans could possibly hold any value aside from being created by a benevolent God is another debate.

    But how God could possibly hold any value aside from being created by benevolent humans is another debate. Is it time for that debate? wink

  19. leguru,

    But how God could possibly hold any value aside from being created by benevolent humans is another debate. Is it time for that debate?

    Benevolant or just ignorant? wink

    Hell, I sure hope it’s time. It’s a topic I hear about too rarely.

  20. The bullshit being slung in this thread is almost mind-numbing.  There are some things that need to be straightened out.

    Ellie said:

    The 1st amendment states that CONGRESS shall PASS NO LAW establishing or restricting the exercise of any religion.

    No it doesn’t.  It says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting AN establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    It’s a semantic thing, but a fairly important one.  If their intent was to say that congress can’t ESTABLISH A STATE RELIGION, don’t you think they would have said, “Congress shall make no law respecting THE establishment of religion,…”  See how that one word completely changes the meaning of the sentence?  Considering the amount of time spent on hammering it out, I’m sure it says EXACTLY what it was meant to say, that Congress shall not pass laws that give special consideration to a particular religion.

    Another question to anyone that cares to answer:  If the 10 commandments are the basis of our system of law, why is it that only two and a quarter of them have legal analogues?  (Bearing false witness is only illegal in very narrow situations.)  And the two that ARE in the 10 c’s also appear in codes of law that pre-dated the judeo-christian traditions AND in regions that had NO contact with that tradition?

    Looking at the whole picture, any similarity between the 10 commandments and our system of law is purely coincidental.

    Another small point:  The Roman Empire most certainly WAS NOT solely based on the law of power.  It had a very, very, very sophisticated system of law that could conceivably be called the root of the common law system that IS what our system is base on.  The ascendency of the Emporer didn’t happen until the last few hundred years of the classical Empire.  Before that, the Emporer was just as accountable to the Senate as the President is supposed to be today.

  21. And how about that misinterpretation of Gen 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” We all know the correct interpretation is: “So Man created god in His own image, in the image of Man created he him.” Or, the women’s lib version: “So God created man, and then She corrected Her mistake.”  LOL
    And, Lobo: Ave Caesar, morituri te salutamus!

  22. another leg of the elephant?
    Appears not. From an article in last week’s Sunday Post-Dispatch.

    Ship me somewhere east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,

    Where there a’n’t no Ten Commandments and a man can raise a thirst,

    The Circuit Court judge who ruled in favor of the state of Texas in 2002 included that quote from Kipling. In a brief filed in the current Ten Commandments case, The Hindu American Foundation took exception to being told to go somewhere else. Their brief goes on to say

    “Law, under this view, is not the result of rational deliberation by human beings in furtherance of the public good, but rather the product of direct, divine command,” reads the brief. “The substance of the Ten Commandments, far from being universal, is expressly predicated on the existence of one very specific god, the Judeo-Christian God, and no other.”

    “Hindus cannot reconcile their … teachings with the very First Commandment, which mandates the exclusion of all divine manifestations other than the Judeo-Christian God,”

    The sentiment about rational deliberation would have resonated with the FF.

    I’m not sure what this adds, but Table 1 in the Summary of this Pew Foundation survey gives a breakdown of religious affiliation.

    Basically, the Roman Empire has little to do with the legal aspects of our cultural heritage.
    Not everyone agrees. This is, on the influence of Hellenism in the classicial era, is from The Passion of the Western Mind by Tarnas.

    Roman legal thought, containing a new sense of objective rationality and natural law derived from the Greek concept of the universal Logos, introduced systematic clarity into commercial and legal interactions throughout the empire, cutting through the welter of divergent local customs and evolving principles of contract law and property ownership crucial for the West’s later development

    as is this on the early Christian era

    The Church’s conception of humanity’s relationship to God as a judicial one strictly defined by moral law was partly derived from Roman law

    Drat. Lobo got in while I was still editing.

  23. The bullshit being slung in this thread is almost mind-numbing.  There are some things that need to be straightened out.

    Ellie said:…

    Give her a break Lobo; she’s a school teacher. /sarcasm
    Her students, on the other hand, should sue.

    Sorry ellie, but you do disingenuous SO well.

  24. Middle East “Religionocracies”:
    I think the word you are looking for is theocracy. Let me deal with this before moving on to your later reply.

    There is only one theocracy in the ME and that is Iran. The rest, excluding the democratic nations, are authoritarian regimes.

    Rule of law does not equal to democracy although some have argued that it is a prerequisite to a democracy but I would disagree. It may be a prerequisite to a functioning well developed democracy but certainly it is not a prerequisite to democracy. Remember rule of law merely talks about how one enforces and applies the law, it has nothing with regards to whether the law is just.

    The best example of a country not being a democracy yet having a rule of law in the Middle East would be the UAE.

    97% Statistic:
    Using the Pew survey as pointed out below shows that there are 3% Atheist but 16% unaffiliated and another 2.7% of other faith (Exclude Christian/Jews/Catholics).

    There is a logical flaw in your 97% assumption. That is, if a person states he is a Christian he must necessarily believe that the 10 Commandments are the foundational beliefs or that his right or wrong compass stems primarily from religious belief. As has been pointed out in debate over moral education in school, one can teach morals and right and wrong without the need to invoke religion. On the other hand there may be unaffiliated believers who are not of the Abrahamic religion that believes in the 10 Commandments or at least in a particular version of it.

    Strict Interpretation: No Air Force
    Now I am not too sure whether have I said this before on this site but if one decides to adopt a strict construction of the constitution, we would have to abolish the US Air Force simply because the constitution only provides for funding of Army and Navy. And of course the rules of construction have to be similar. Furthermore, a strict construction is not used if such construction would in effect defeat the whole purpose, or render the particular provision meaningless whatsoever. One crazy example is if there is a law banning a student from bringing a gun to school. One strict construction could mean that this does not include rifles and thus students can bring rifles to school.

    Offering people choice does not resolve the issue that one is treating someone better than the other.

    By that argument one might say that a dictator that allows people to freely leave and enter his country is giving the people choice as to whether they want to stay under a dictatorship or move away. Since choice is provided, we do not need democracy in that country as long as there is democracy in some other country.

    A small point on his code. Actually his law includes protection of women and children against injustice.

    10Cs: Deuteronmy & Leviticus
    Ah I was hoping you would say this. The 10Cs is thus reliant upon an additional document, that of the bible. Thus they are simple fundamental guidelines in reference to the bible.

    Roman Law:
    Hate to burst your bubble but Roman law established many principles that are still used today. There is a reason why there are some latin terms in law. From the nemo dat principle to laws on what happen when you mix stuff that belongs to you and another person (commixtio and confusio). Just type Roman Law into google. The Roman empire had law AND power. Well as for it being written thousands of years ago before the Romans, that is something the religion claimed much akin to some claims that the world is only 6000 years old. At best I can agree that the Old Testament was written somewhere during the 7 century BC.

    Not too sure exactly what you mean by “…fulfilled when Christianity was established as their state religion, gentiles were trying to eliminate the Jewish roots of their new cult.” But like it or not it was Constantine (hey I suddenly get the idea behind the name of Keanu Reeves new movie) who adopted Christianity, which had existed but until then was a relatively unimportant cult. And it has been argued that it is the Chruch specifically the papacy that is the heir to the Roman Empire.

    By the way, I happen to be in class during history lessons. There is no need to throw insults and use curses if you want a proper discourse. But since you enjoy using them I guess the question to ask is where were YOU when you were supposed to be in history, busy stuffing your face with food and putting on weight? Really gluttony is a sin you know, no harm shedding some pounds, Fatty Ellie.

    I understand what you are saying about religion and culture. Of course, one might argue in jest that as long as one can define one’s religious action as cultural then can the state establish a “culture” that just so happens to worship a particular god?

  25. I don’t understand what’s so complicated about the case.  As far as I’ve read it wasn’t paid for by taxpayers, it was private donation.  The 1st amendment states that CONGRESS shall PASS NO LAW establishing or restricting the exercise of any religion.  Congress nor any state legislative body is involved, & no law has been passed.

    Any monument placed in a public venue (that is, one that receives its primary funding from collected taxes or government subsidies), no matter how it ARRIVED there, is being maintained using public funds.  Mowing the grass around it, or whatever other sort of upkeep it requires to stay clean and in good repair, is paid for by funds that were appropriated THROUGH LAWS PASSED to dole out those taxpayer dollars or government subsidies.

    Although this is in part based on the fact that I don’t think any of his followers have either the money or the generosity to do so, & even if they did, it would help Christianity more than hurt it by scaring & offending people.

    Your grasp of Satanism shows that you watch too much TV.  However, I’d have to agree that the Satanic principle of taking responsibility for one’s own actions (for one example) rather than crediting all good things in life to the worship of an invisible guy in the sky, or a dead god on a stick would be QUITE scary and offensive to Christians.  You DO know that most Satanists don’t believe in an actual entity named Satan, much less the archfiend that stalks the souls of Christians in hopes of swelling the ranks of Hell, right?

  26. PopTarts:  Don’t be hatin on Ellie.  I personally think she’s a cutie, but I always liked the “healthy” girls.

    If you gotta take whacks at her, go for the parts that are relevant, like being dumb as a box of hammers.

  27. Pop Tarts:

    I usually agree with you, but I have to go with Lobo on this one.  Until you post a picture of yourself, leave the weight comments on the sidelines.  Better yet, just stay above the fray. It will lend credence to your comments. Leave the humor to Brock.

    Peter Fredson:

    The article is at best your subjective opinion.  It contains nothing in the way of legal analysis, and illustrates a lack of understanding of the law with respect to Establishment Clause law. 

    A point of distinction with respect to the article. You reference “Justice Moore.”  Roy Moore is not a Justice.  He is not even an attorney now.  He was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court and was disbarred, and rightfully so.  He is the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

    Your article leaves the impression that “Justice Moore” serves on the Supreme Court with Justice Scalia.  The chasm in intellectual prowess between Justice Scalia and the disbarred Roy Moore is so wide it is not even comparable.  No writer, at least no writer that wants to be taken credibly, would dare to compare the two.  Even the most ardent liberals will ackowledge this.


    I want to root for you.  I’m on your side.  And yet when you say that Roman law had no bearing upon our legal system, I just have to shake my head.  Google Justinian Code or Corpus Juris Civilus. PLEASE?

    To all:

    The Supreme Court currently has before it two cases that involve the 10 Commandments.  The fact patterns in the two cases are different.  It is quite possible the Court could issues different rulings in the two cases before it.  When discussing this issue, the FACTS of each case matter. 

    For future reference, any writing on this subject that fails to highlight the factual differences between the two cases is an excellent indication that the author is getting ready to propagandize.  The article that started this thread is a textbook example of this.

  28. Going back to the beginning, Ellie said this:

    So it might have more to do with what kind of donations of art may public places accept.

    among many other things.

    An interesting thought, but nothing but sophistry in this case. If the building in questions was a school, or a post office or even the bloody senate, that arguement could be made. But it’s not, it is a court house, a place where people go to be judged and any document or artwork depicting rules of judgment is not simply artwork, it takes on an implied significance that is much greater. In the case of the 10c’s, specifically number 1, it makes someone like me, an atheist, fell that I couldn’t possibly get a fair trail because I don’t bow down before the imaginary dude in the sky.

  29. No, as long as a person gives me an argument even if it may be “dumb” I will give it the respect it deserve and counter it or point out the lack of logic. But once anyone stray off the debate to personal attacks… Besides, I speak of weight only because, I love, much akin to some Christians who proselytize, because they believe in their heart that they are trying to save the “unsaved” for an eternity of damnation. So Ellie, treat my concerns for a healthy life as seriously as how you treat your comments on my history lessons. Unfortunately, I cannot put up a picture for doing so would prevent me from expressing my views or any views for that matter.

  30. Consigliere:  Yes, opinion is always subjective but I have read extensively in legal literature on this case and know all the Supreme Court Decisions.  Do I propagandize? You bet! I have utter contempt for the Bush administration and its successful attempts to divert attention from real issues. The attempt to install religious slogans, icons and monuments in public places is tantamount to spitting in the faces of all non-Christians.
    On “Justice” Moore.  Yes, I know what you say, but when you GOOGLE for him, most of the Far Right sites still refer to him as “Justice.”  It may be an honorific way, like calling someone Mayor long after they have left office.

    Ellie: You might open a book on CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY to check your rendering of Religion vs Culture.  By the way I do have a blog site
    I’m sorry if any of my remarks offended you as I recognize signs of irritation, after years of married life, when I would ask my wife, “What’s Wrong?” and she would snap back ‘NOTHING!”

  31. Tired, & still considering the review of Stem cell ethics I’ve been reading, but here goes:
    Brock:  Aww, no problem.  You do bitchy so well.
    1) I never said the 10 commandments are our basis of law.  Simply exploring the idea that they are privately donated to promote a movie that gives the story of the roots (at a modest estimate) 81% of our counrty identifies with religiously, & up to 97% culturally.  I simply pointed out there is no law involved here, only a display of artwork.
    2) I wrote religionocracies because I want to call them that.
    3)  Regarding my EXACT QUOTE

    the Roman Empire has little to do with the legal aspects of our cultural heritage.

    As usual, I have to repent my exaggeration, I was first of all overlooking the Roman Republic completely & second of all would amend it to “is only one part of the legal aspects of our cultural heritage.”
    4) I never made a connection between democracy & rule of law, but between freedom & rule of law, although I conceed the 2 can be easily confused.
    5) I’m not going to respond to PopTarts’ pathetic misunderstanding of strict interpreation.
    6) I opened the door to personal insults with both my statements & the incredibly silly choice of revealing my morbid (since PopTarts felt the need to intervene & save my life) obesity in my avitar.  If you have the impression that I’m commenting for any other purpose than engaging discussion, (however selfish that may be) you’re wrong & I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.  But this next statementis not intended sarcastically when I say Amen! brother, “Super Size Me” changed my life!
    Gyn: yeah, why does everyone assume I need schooling in Satanism?  you have to admit Satanic artwork, while perhaps thought provoking is not exactly intended for display before the average nor the immature mind.
    Peter: Ummm, if you were addressing me, no, not offended…?

  32. Upon further reflection I think the reason I overlook both of the Roman influences on our legal system is I like Locke so much, & I feel he & the Magna Carta are of greater relevance, but that’s obviously just an opinion.

  33. The 10C’s were a way of freeing the people from the tyranny of the god-king religionocracy of the pharoh in Egypt.

    Other than the small little fact that the 10Cs actually came FROM Egypt in the first place.
    These few “Jewish tenets” came directly from the Kemetic 42 Admonitions of Ma’at.
    Which were written long before any mythical Moses allegedly strided up Mt. Sinai.

    Why exactly are Jewish tenets being so vehemently defended and pushed by Christians BTW? Mostly it seems because 99% of so called Christians really have no clue what Christianity is, there are 33,800 different sects, several Bibles and so many outright LIES told by the Authority of the Church for 2000 years that how could anyone know unless the “Sheeple” actually think for themselves and seek the REAL truth, the REAL origins of what it is they think they worship.
    Iv found that most Atheist know far more about Christianity and the Bible than any Christian.

    As for whether or not a stone Monument or whatever other form of display of what is without question a Jewish/Christian religious icon (10Cs) is in fact Displaying thus Authorizing & Proselytizing the Christian religion on Federal/State/Public property, Ummm why is this even a question?  What could possibly be more religious? Why is ONLY 1 religious faction (Christianity) pushing/blubbering/yelling and screaming for these so called (Ceremonial Deism) Monuments to be displayed?
    Funny I dont see Jews or Atheist or any others demanding these “Secular” *Guffaw* documents remain in place, where BTW I might add they were put ILLEGALLY.

    The 10Cs are no more a basis for American Law than is David Letterman’s Top 10 list.

    It did not reflect the values of all the founding fathers, this fact can clearly be inferred by the total absence of anything Biblical or God etc. written into the Constitution, they took great pains to purposely leave all religious dogma OUT.

    Our laws come from interpretations of John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government which I believe got some if not most of his ideas from Aristotles: A Treatise on Government.
    Here is where our founding fathers took the Ideas of American Law.
    These text were interpreted into American Law by Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, Madison, Adams taking the good concepts, the contracts while being careful to omit any references to anyone’s alleged “God”.

    Displaying the Judeo Christian 10 commandments on State & Federal property is without question a blatant violation of Separation of Church & State, what could possibly be more religious?

    It is true, the phrase “separation of church and state” does not actually appear anywhere in the Constitution. There is a problem, however, in that some people draw incorrect conclusions from this fact. The absence of this phrase does not mean that it is an invalid concept or that it cannot be used as a legal or judicial principle.

    There are any number of important legal concepts which do not appear in the Constitution with the exact phrasing people tend to use. For example, nowhere in the Constitution will you find words like “right to privacy” or even “right to a fair trial.” Does this mean that no American citizen has a right to privacy or a fair trial? Does this mean that no judge should ever invoke these rights when reaching a decision?

    Of course not – the absence of these specific words does not mean that there is also an absence of these ideas.
    The right to a fair trial, for example, is necessitated by what is in the text because what we do find simply makes no moral or legal sense otherwise in the 6th Amendment.
    There is nothing there about a “fair trial,” but what should be clear is that this Amendment is setting up the conditions for fair trials: public, speedy, impartial juries, information about the crimes and laws, etc. The Constitution does not specifically say that you have a right to a fair trial, but the rights created only make sense on the premise that a right to a fair trial exists. Thus, if the government found a way to fulfill all of the above obligations while also making a trial unfair, the courts would hold those actions to be unconstitutional.

    Similarly, courts have found that the principle of a “religious liberty” exists in the First Amendment, even if those words are NOT actually there:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”…

    The point of such an amendment is twofold. First, it ensures that religious beliefs – private or organized – are removed from attempted government control. This is the reason why the government cannot tell either you or your church what to believe or to teach. This is why such complete lunatics like Pat Robertson & Jerry Falwell have carte Blanche to preach their divine Hatred nation wide 24/7 on TV, Second it ensures that the government does not get involved with enforcing, mandating, or promoting particular religious doctrines. This is what happens when the government “establishes” a church – and because doing so created so many problems in Europe, the authors of the Constitution wanted to try and prevent the same from happening here.

    Can anyone deny that the First Amendment guarantees the principle of religious liberty, even though those words do not appear there? Similarly, the First Amendment guarantees the principle of the separation of church and state – by implication, because separating church and state is what allows religious liberty to exist.

    This is precisely what Jefferson both inferred in his writing of it and argued vehemently for, so did I might add most all of the founding fathers Christians included & powers that be at that time, This exact point was argued and laid to rest 200 years ago. The only reason it is brought up today is ignorance of the law, the Constitution and its implied principle.

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