Supreme Court rulings

Thou shalt allow the 10 commandments …

Surprised not to see more activity on all the SCOTUS rulings coming out today. Not sure what to make of the 10 commandments where it’s okay to have them posted outside on government property, but not inside a courtroom with a frame around it … something about maintaining government neutrality. How do you arbitrate what is neutral and what isn’t??

I think they view a framed copy hanging in the courtroom as something that could be mis-construed as official policy, while a granite engraving on other government properties is considered an historical monument. --Not saying that I agree with them, but that’s what I got from the article that I read in the Houston Chronicle.

Yep. That’s pretty much how I understood the ruling. Seems awful asinine to me though…

TG

One very ironic thing is that Scalia in his statement about his vote to allow The Ten Commandments in the court said that he didn’t see The Ten Commandments the way they were being displayed in Kentucky in a frame on the wall as a religious display so it should be allowed to stay. My thought on that is “WHAT THE HECK ELSE DOES HE THINK IT COULD BE?” The Ten Commandments shouldn’t be seen any other way. While I agree with separation of church and state for many reasons I do not agree with separation of God and state and the reasoning behind many decisions. The law says “Church” not “God”.

Phoo - you’re right on this one!

I’m happy with the ruling. Since the ultra-right seems to be unhappy about the ruling, then I’m happy :laugh:

I was going to post on it but I didn’t think it was that interesting. To me, the SC is trying to have it both ways on this one & I don’t think that’s possible.

Quote (phoo @ June 28 2005,00:18)
One very ironic thing is that Scalia in his statement about his vote to allow The Ten Commandments in the court said that he didn’t see The Ten Commandments the way they were being displayed in Kentucky in a frame on the wall as a religious display so it should be allowed to stay. My thought on that is “WHAT THE HECK ELSE DOES HE THINK IT COULD BE?” The Ten Commandments shouldn’t be seen any other way.

Actually, in one ruling they said that the 10 commandments had a historical context and in the other ruling they said it had a religious context. So it’s not just a matter of Scalia’s opinion downplaying the religious significance.

The SCOTUS basically said a “historical” display is allowable on gov’t property, but the determination of what is historical rather than religious seems completely arbitrary and superficial. Where’s the consistency between these rulings??

Quote (phoo @ June 28 2005,00:18)
While I agree with separation of church and state for many reasons I do not agree with separation of God and state and the reasoning behind many decisions. The law says “Church” not “God”.

Which law are you referring to that says “church?”

Here’s what the ACLU says (they filed the case) - Historic Ruling in Ten Commandments Case Affirms Religious Liberty Principles in Strongest Terms.

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“As the Justices today affirmed, religious liberty is best strengthened by following the Constitution’s command against government entanglement with religion, not by government involvement in religious decision-making,” said ACLU Legal Director Steven R Shapiro.

Some of the strongest language came from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s concurrence with the 5-4 majority, in which she said: “Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”

“When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders,” Justice O’Connor wrote, “it encroaches upon the individual’s decision about whether and how to worship…Allowing government to be a potential mouthpiece for competing religious ideas risks the sort of division that might easily spill over into suppression of rival beliefs.”

Justice O’Connor’s words echo her opinion in Lynch v. Donnelly, in which she observed that state endorsement of religion “sends a message to non-adherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community.”

“The Ten Commandments play an important part in the spiritual lives of many Americans and it is precisely for this reason that the government should not be in the business of endorsing or promoting religious beliefs,” said David A. Friedman, General Counsel for the ACLU of Kentucky, who argued the case last March.

In a second decision today, the Court upheld a stone monument display of the Ten Commandments on the Texas statehouse grounds. However, no opinion commanded a majority of the Court. The critical fifth vote was provided by Justice Breyer, who acknowledged that “’the separation of church and state’ has long been critical to the peaceful dominion that religion exercises in [this] country,” but nevertheless concluded that the particular circumstances of the Ten Commandments display in Texas permitted it to stay.

“While we disagree with that conclusion,” Shapiro said, “a majority of the Supreme Court in both cases has now clearly reaffirmed the principle that government may not promote a religious message through its display of the Ten Commandments.”

It doesn’t say “church”, but “establishment of religion”, which has been interprited as meaning “church”.

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“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

– The First Amendment


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment

The first amendment was written to limit the powers of Congress; nothing more and nothing less. It’s amazing how the canvas has been stretched to cover areas beyond its jurisdiction.

Sure it does but where do governments get the right to put up the 10 commandments?

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Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

- Thomas Jefferson
Quote (Mr Soul @ June 28 2005,13:06)
Sure it does but where do governments get the right to put up the 10 commandments?

First amendment: Freedom of Speech??

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First amendment: Freedom of Speech??

I disagree that the 1st admendment allows governments to advocate religious messages.

What do you call getting Christmas Day off as a holiday??

We don’t have any law, that I’m aware of, that forces companies to give employee’s Christmas as a holiday. What is your point?

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion


How tough is this? The government won’t establish religion. Period, no more. It says nothing about endorse, condone, or … therefore I am happy it has come to mean what it has. None of us want religion crammed down our throats form the government or else where. The reason private citizens get away with cramming religion (using religion in a very broad sense, I consider certain die hard vegans and Nascar fans as having a religion) is they don’t have the tanks. The gummit do.


Toker: Companies, no, but government employes certainly do get Christmas off for no reason other than it is Christmas. There is a fine line between religion, culture and tradition. Therefore you will have this battle forever and hopefully a happy medium is where we land. I am as secular as can be, but don’t you dare take away Christmas. I can appreciate what the tradition and culture makes of it even if it comes from religion that I don’t necessarily believe. All this to say, beware the zealot in any case.

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Toker: Companies, no, but government employes certainly do get Christmas off for no reason other than it is Christmas.

Sure but that has nothing to do with the 1st admendment. They also give other holidays that I don’t get but that’s beside the point.

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By the people, FOR the people…
Gummint is people too! :p (I think?)

However, I agree with Mr. Gump. The Government cannot per LAW establish a “religion”. Thus, Freedom of Religion. What religious zealots fail to realize is THEY are their own worst enemy. The Bible I study does not condone running around and thumping people on the head to try and convert them. Many have lost sight of that…

TG

PS From what I have been told, The Quran and many other “religious” works do not condone forcing people to their belief. Man has managed to screw up the whole works…

Quote (Mr Soul @ June 28 2005,13:50)
We don’t have any law, that I’m aware of, that forces companies to give employee’s Christmas as a holiday. What is your point?

There wouldn’t have to be a law. The 10 commandments are about displays and not laws. But let’s say that government agencies and offices have a policy that officially closes their facilities on Christmas. You said you didn’t want government to advocate a religious messages, but in effect, if the government grants such a religious holiday, is that not a message that it endorses and “respects” the establishment of a religion?? I’m not saying this would be my personal interpretation, but rather one of the potential steps that will be taken by entities who wish to further separate church and state.

(Note that the word holiday could possibly be excluded from governement language because of it’s inherent religious context: holy day.)

Quote (Bubbagump @ June 28 2005,13:54)
There is a fine line between religion, culture and tradition. I am as secular as can be, but don’t you dare take away Christmas. I can appreciate what the tradition and culture makes of it even if it comes from religion that I don’t necessarily believe.

This is a great point and example that many people (perhaps the majority) can tolerate the inclusion of certain religious references and observances, even under the guise of possible government endorsement. Why then kowtow to the objections of a few squeaky wheels when it comes to the 10C, especially when they are even more religiously ambiguous than a holiday such as Christmas?? In many cases, these monuments are given to civic governments by local civic groups and not by religious factions.