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Thread: Limiting Displays of the 10 Commandments

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    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Limiting Displays of the 10 Commandments

    According to the AP via Yahoo! News, the following was decided by the Supreme Court today:

    The Supreme Court, struggling with a vexing social issue, held Monday it was constitutionally permissible to display the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas capitol but that it was a violation of separation of church and state to place them in Kentucky courthouses.
    I don't know what this means and I don't have an opinion on it yet, since I am sure I would ignore any 10 Commandment display at my local courthouse. I would be too busy paying for my traffic violation. What about you? How do you feel about this?

  2. #2
    In terms of impact on the average citizen, it means nothing. People who claim to be offended by the 10 comandments really aren't offended, they just want to raise a stink and get some free publicity for their cause or themselves. On the other hand, those who claim they should be on public grounds are religious zealots who want to cram their beliefs down everyone elses throats. I am not offended if they are there nor do I care if they have to be removed.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    After thinking about it for a bit, I guess I ask myself, Why should they be on display at the courthouse? I can go over to another public building, the local library, and read all about that stuff until my heart is content. What purpose do they serve outside the context of a Christian bible? I see none.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    After thinking about it for a bit, I guess I ask myself, Why should they be on display at the courthouse? I can go over to another public building, the local library, and read all about that stuff until my heart is content. What purpose do they serve outside the context of a Christian bible? I see none.
    I think it depends on the context of the display. If that is the only item of historic law documents then i have a problem but if it is in the mix of the magna carta, Hammurabi's Code of Laws, and others then that is okay. Plus it depends on the intent when it was placed. For example All over the south you have court houses dotting dixie that have a confederate flag in some way shape or form usually it was some monument errected to memorilize the veterans and dead of the war of northern aggression. the yankees have settle down and the civil war is over and unfortunately the confederate battle flag is associated by some as a symbol of hate because some folks that committed hate crimes used it to rally or hide behind. Should those flags be removed? probably not but future monuments that commerate the the civil war should probably shy away from using it. So where am i going with this.... let the old display be and don't put any new one up. I am sure there will be things in fifty years or more maybe tommorrow that our generation will errect that will offend someone. I hope that will be sensitive and change what we can but unfortunately we often take the atitude of those that presicuted(sp?) our ancestors that left there homeland because of the "Don't like it, Leave" policy.

    In the famous words of Rodney King "Can''t we all just get along" We as a society need to be sensitive of the feelings of others even if we are the majority because one day we might not be and we want the then majority to do the same

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Wanigas--I suggest the purpose they serve is that, like it or not, our Country was founded on fundamental Christian principles. Our legal system has always reflected this fact.

    (Now I am not arguing the establishment clause here)

    Moreover, the Ten Commandments are a foundation of our legal system, I think, Thou shall not kill, etc..., etc...And I hope I am not being oversimplistic. There are other historical documents as well, such as the Magna Carta, and I grant that.

    My understanding of the Kentucky facts is that the justices were clearly uncomfortable with the Ten Commandment display as it had in large writing "I am the Lord your God" or something like that.

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    How do you feel about this?
    I think that the folks pushing his are trying to promote a Dominionist agenda, by slowly blurring the lines between church and state. Their intent, IMHO, is similar to putting a frog into a cook kettle of water and boiling it; the frog doesn't become aware of the thread until it's too late.

    The survival instincts of humans, like frogs, are geared towards detecting sudden changes. We don't notice the effect of gradual changes until it's too late. Because we know this, those who are opposed to displays of the Ten Commandments on government property are raising a fuss now. It's not a big deal by itself, it seems, but what's next? Will the Bible is added to school summer reading lists? Will prayer be reinstated in schools? To Jesus?

    My litmus test: see if the Christian Right supports similar rights for other groups. How would they react if the 613 mitzvot are displayed by a courthouse? What about some Muslim or Wiccan laws?

    Quote Originally posted by gkmo62u
    Moreover, the Ten Commandments are a foundation of our legal system, I think, Thou shall not kill, etc..., etc...And I hope I am not being oversimplistic. There are other historical documents as well, such as the Magna Carta, and I grant that.
    The Ten Commandments are in and of themselves oversimplistic. Other holy books have similar laws. However, a judicial sysem that follows such laws aren't necesarily based on the Ten Commandments -- they're based on common sense. Killing another human is inherently evil; it's not bad just because the Bible says so.
    Someone could say that zoning is based on the Koran, since that holy book details extensive laws for land use and stewardship, but it isn't - those writing the first zoning code weren't looking at the Koran for reference.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Here is the Kentucky Opinion:

    MCCREARY COUNTY, KENTUCKY, ET AL. v.
    AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF KENTUCKY ET AL.

    http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2...df/03-1693.pdf

    Here is the Texas Opinion:

    VAN ORDEN v.
    PERRY, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS AND CHAIRMAN, STATE PRESERVATION BOARD, ET AL.

    http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2...df/03-1500.pdf
    Last edited by JNA; 27 Jun 2005 at 2:03 PM.
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gkmo62u
    Moreover, the Ten Commandments are a foundation of our legal system
    The foundation of our legal system is common law. You can't quote the ten commandments in any legal opinion in this country, they carry no weight. The ideal of the legal system in this country is this: the legal system is tasked with interpreting the laws of the nation, be they come from common law, from the constitution, or from statute. It is not the role of the judge to decide right and wrong based upon any moral code or ideology. Insofar as Christian morality has a role in our society, it is through the public, and their legislators -- and not through the legal bureaucracy -- that its influence should be felt.

    Therefore, it is understandable (and proper, in my opinion) that the Supreme Court deems it prudent to maintain a firewall between the courts and any system of morality, to ensure to the best of their ability that the entire system interprets laws as they are written, without bias or outside influence.

    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Killing another human is inherently evil; it's not bad just because the Bible says so.
    Dan, I'm sorry, but that's just not true. That is a common Humanist/naturalist argument though, that there are some "universal" laws that are the basic foundations of human existance and there's no need for God or religion to rationalize them.

    In fact, there are no such laws. To counter your example, humans killing humans is a basic fact of nature. Our own morality systems allow for that to happen in some circumstances. There have existed large, stable, and advanced civilizations where people killing people was a bedrock tenant of their morality systems.

    But the purpose of the courts isn't to make decisions on matters of morality, but rather on matters of law. The Supreme Court made the proper decision.

  9. #9
    It is quite simple, but bears repeating: the separation clause is not intended to protect the government from churches, but rather to protect churches from the government.
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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    On the ground of the Montana Capitol is a display of the Ten Commandments. It faces away from the buildings. I guess that way the legislators and lobbyists won't feel hindered about the prohibitions on stealing, adultery, coveting and bearing false witness.

    Whether the Ten Commandments are posted, I don't care. Of course then the question is to you go with the Protestant, Catholic or Hebrew version? Displays of religious symbols in public places does not bother me. Every year someone seems to get the under-roos in a bunch becuase a manger scene is posted in a public place and I think why not just let it go? A manger scene isn't the first step to a theocracy. Be tolerant and have a glass of egg nog.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    My litmus test: see if the Christian Right supports similar rights for other groups. How would they react if the 613 mitzvot are displayed by a courthouse? What about some Muslim or Wiccan laws?
    This prompts me to have a light-hearted pondering: How does L. Ron Hubbard and his followers feel about this?!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    you guys don't understand the constitution, I do.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Personally, I think that the 10 Commandments have no place on any government property. However, as long as it's not obnoxiously large, I probably wouldn't care. It has no place in courtrooms and I'm glad was outlawed. Remember only two (I believe) commandments actually reflects something that is illegal-- murder and stealing. Language about their being only one God and respecting the sabbath and not coveting a neighbor's wife has NO business being on public property. But, whatever, I'm not on the majority side of this anymore in this country, which I think is sad.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    It is quite simple, but bears repeating: the separation clause is not intended to protect the government from churches, but rather to protect churches from the government.
    Unfortunatly, the constitution and original government ideology did not consider the possibility of a small virulent sect of christian theology managing to take control of all branches of government, and concluding the experiment in democracy based on pluralistic views. (6 seats in the senate and 2 court justices and the destruction of our representative republic will be finished).
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    Quote Originally posted by Repo Man
    In terms of impact on the average citizen, it means nothing. People who claim to be offended by the 10 comandments really aren't offended, they just want to raise a stink and get some free publicity for their cause or themselves. On the other hand, those who claim they should be on public grounds are religious zealots who want to cram their beliefs down everyone elses throats. I am not offended if they are there nor do I care if they have to be removed.
    This pretty much sums up how I feel. My only caveat is the fear that the religious zealots are "winning" right now, so I like any opportunity to stick it in their eyes. Does it bother me in particular that my money says "In God We Trust"?

    No-(especially since it's a total lie. The Gods We Trust in the USA today are Mammon and Mars, the Destroyer of Worlds )

    What I don't understand is that there are several different versions of the Ten Commandmants, including in the Bible itself. How do the zealots pick which one applies?

    Quote Originally posted by Big Owl
    . . . unfortunately the confederate battle flag is associated by some as a symbol of hate because some folks that committed hate crimes used it to rally or hide behind. Should those flags be removed? probably not but future monuments that commerate the the civil war should probably shy away from using it.
    Wow. To this evil Aggressor, the rationalizations in this sentence are amazing.
    Last edited by nerudite; 27 Jun 2005 at 2:55 PM. Reason: merged posts

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    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist
    Remember only two (I believe) commandments actually reflects something that is illegal-- murder and stealing.
    Only two....It depends on where you live in the US. Here in the bible belt aldultry is a crime. As far as the sabath goes there are blue laws in effect in some towns that don't allow business to operate on sunday, you can't buy beer here before noon on sunday Allienation of affection laws which are on the book in some parts of the us are based on Coventing thy neighbor's wife. Thy shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor is a prohbition against slander. So i would say that most of the rules and regs in the us are loose based off of old testement.

    Off-topic:
    Wasn't there some town in Texas that did away with all their codes and adopted the 10 Comandments?

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    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    It is quite simple, but bears repeating: the separation clause is not intended to protect the government from churches, but rather to protect churches from the government.
    The separation clause was added because there was no dominant religion in the 13 colonies, and the separation clause assured that there would not be a State Religion. That is protecting the government from takeover by a particular church -- thereby protecting government from churches.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Runner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    The separation clause was added because there was no dominant religion in the 13 colonies, and the separation clause assured that there would not be a State Religion. That is protecting the government from takeover by a particular church -- thereby protecting government from churches.
    I'm in complete agreement with Wulf9. While there was a time when I didn't feel that such displays (particularly manger scenes at Christmas) were an issue, I now feel different. After seeing Bush & Co., Tom DeLay, etc. in action I am a firm believer that the separation of church and state is a basic requirement of good government. The Terri Schiavo debacle was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I don't believe that the Taliban did Afghanistan any good, nor the Ayatollahs Iran any good, and the Christian fundamentalists are doing the USA no good as well. They all produce bad outcomes when mixed with governing.
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    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Why hasn't el Guapo waded in on this? After all, only communist liberals could be against the ten commandments, and as far as I have been able to ascertain, EG eats communist liberals for lunch (incidentally, he is also 300ft tall and has chainsaws for arms).

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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Why hasn't el Guapo waded in on this? After all, only communist liberals could be against the ten commandments, and as far as I have been able to ascertain, EG eats communist liberals for lunch (incidentally, he is also 300ft tall and has chainsaws for arms).
    Not to speak for EG, but his views on religion are....interesting

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    The separation clause was added because there was no dominant religion in the 13 colonies, and the separation clause assured that there would not be a State Religion. That is protecting the government from takeover by a particular church -- thereby protecting government from churches.
    You're partially right.

    The original colonies were nearly 100% Protestant Christian but the various sects were much more diverse and intermingled than in Europe.

    The establishment clause exists for two reasons: 1) The Deists (Jefferson etc al) believed that the government should be run based upon 18 Century Enlightenment (secular) ideals and 2) the Baptists believed that establishment of religion results in government interference that debases religion.

    Those two groups joined forces to make disestablishment the law of the land, both for different reasons. The mainline Protestants (Mostly Anglicans) didn't want to have any part in disestablishment, and even came up with was to have establishment in the context of religious diversity, but the combined forces of the Deists and the Baptists defeated them.

    Therefore, the establishment clause exists both to protect religion from government and government from religion.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I think that they should be permitted in a court room. Many of them are the same as the laws. (aka Thou shall not kill)
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  23. #23
    Interesting quote from Thos. Jefferson:

    I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them, an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises and the objects proper for them according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands where the Constitution has deposited it... Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents (letter to Samuel Miller, Jan. 23, 1808).
    Emphasis added.
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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I think that they should be permitted in a court room. Many of them are the same as the laws. (aka Thou shall not kill)
    It also has some very specific and anti religious sentiment aimed at forcing conformance to a very narrow christian view. "Thou shalt not worship false idols/other gods" (insert your favorite version).

    That is not acceptable in a nation suposedly based on the rule of secular law. The ten commandments are not secular law.
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia
    It also has some very specific and anti religious sentiment aimed at forcing conformance to a very narrow christian view. "Thou shalt not worship false idols/other gods" (insert your favorite version).

    That is not acceptable in a nation suposedly based on the rule of secular law. The ten commandments are not secular law.
    They're also pretty vague.

    "Mr. Jones, you are before this court on charges of three counts of covetting, two counts of false witness, and one count of idolotry. How do you plead?"

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