Home > Uncategorized > The 10 Commandments in Court

The 10 Commandments in Court

It’s simply foolish what they tried to do in Kentucky. As the story notes and what I learned when the original ruling was handed down in 2005, there is nothing inherently wrong with the 10 commandments being present in a courtroom.

What is wrong is when the only thing present is the 10 Commandments.

In the Supreme Court chambers there is a depiction of Moses with the Commandments. There isn’t anything wrong with that. It’s an example of a very early code of laws and thus has every right to be in a US Courtroom. Along side the Code of Hammurabi and the Magna Carta and other such examples. Indeed Lady Justice herself is a religious figure.

There are many other such depictions of “lawgivers” and whether or not they are religious in nature really doesn’t matter. From the SCOTUS chambers:

We have Solomon, Moses, Octavian, Louis IX, Hammurabi, Mohammed and many others represented and the focus is obviously on law rather than religion.

While I don’t agree that things such as nativity scenes erected in front of town halls violate the first amendment, hanging the 10 Commandments in a courtroom year round does seem to favor one religion over another.

I view the difference with nativity scenes being that so long as the town isn’t paying for it and other religions are free to erect their own symbols on their important holidays than there is no harm in it and it certainly doesn’t show favoritism. We are largely a country of Christians and we have a tremendous number of other religions prominently represented among our populace. To say that no religious symbols can be displayed on public property is just silly. It doesn’t constitute government endorsement anymore than allowing a protest on public property endorses that message, so long as no group is disallowed on the basis of the message.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2011/02/22 at 13:08

    Sometimes there are nuances to certain displays, but there are other times when what is being shown is for overt religious reasons. Not to get off topic, but “under God” in the Pledge is one example where religion is being displayed, not history.

    As for private individuals paying for displays, towns often use that as a way of doing an end-run on something that would otherwise be unconstitutional. It’s best to simply avoid trying to endorse a particular religion via the government in any way.

  2. 2011/02/22 at 15:56

    Well I presume that we all own public lands and properties and should be able to use them without undue restriction, we certainly pay for their upkeep. I just don’t see a menorah on the city hall lawn as being anymore of an endorsement than the political signs found on all areas of public property that are well traveled.

  3. 2011/02/22 at 18:34

    It all depends on its done. If it’s an end-run around the fact that the government can’t buy and display that sort of stuff, it certainly shouldn’t be allowed. But if it’s something where everyone has a shot at a display, then by all means.

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