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August 26th, 2003

Alabama and the Ten Commandments

In case you haven’t heard, there is a rather large controversy brewing in Alabama. Two years ago, Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore snuck in a 5,000 pound monument of the Ten Commandments into the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. Despite the separation of church and state that our country is founded upon, the monument was safe until this year when a higher court judge ordered the monument removed.

Now, there are over a hundred protesters forming a human shield of sorts at the Judicial Building. They won’t move, they won’t allow the monument to be removed, and a lot of them are mad as hel… er, heck.

The crux of their arguments is that removal of the monument is tantamount to silencing free speech. To that I say, simply, hogwash. These people have been able to protest on the steps of their state’s courthouse for over a week now. They’ve been able to go to church, worship their selected God, and generally lead normal lives. But the courthouse is a federal building, and the separation of church and state guaranteed in the Constitution means that the Ten Commandments must go.

I don’t think I’ve seen anything as cut-and-dry as this in some time, but the people that have been interviewed on TV and in articles like this one (“If you don’t like the way it is here, go someplace else … Good luck finding a better country.”) aren’t helping their side of the argument any. In general, the folks who have been featured on the side of monument removal have been well-spoken, articulate, and calm. Almost all of the pro-monument folks? Emotional and brash.

I don’t have a problem with other religions, or non-religions for that matter. It’s sad that so many do.

Posted in In the News

FROM: jethrow
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 12:21:53 am
the separation of church and state that our country is founded upon

do i ever hate that overused (and completely misused) "separation of church/state" falsehood. it is NOT in the Constitution as wrongly stated in the above ping. To accurately quote the Constitution:

"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."


I too have not seen anything so cut and dry as this. Exactly what part of the Constitution is Justice Moore breaking?

I don't have a problem with people who misquote the U.S. Constitution. Except when they do so in public.

btw, you'd better start getting the building permit approved for the changes to the Supreme Court Building, seeing that the 10 Commandments have been inscribed in it for quite some time.







FROM: Ty
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 1:44:37 am
The whole issue about this that gets to me is that the state has lost the right to make the decision for itself whether it wants the monument there. The intention of the constitution was that any power not explicitly granted to the federal government would be in the domain of the state. Now it's been flipped around to where the states have to fight for any scrap of power they can get. The constitution makes no law respecting religion so then it's up to the state to govern those issues. The matter of it being in a federal building might complicate the matter although it doesn't really bother me; if the state wants it there and the federal government truly belongs to the people, who are represented by the state and by their votes, then it seems okay.

Honestly, I don't care one way or the other what happens and I'm surprised there're people so vehement on either side of the issue. It makes no sense to throw a fit because of the presence of a religious and historical document is in a public place. They can put up exerpts from the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, the Baha'i, or the Code of Hammurabi for all I care. In fact, I wish they would. It doesn't hurt me and if anything I'd appreciate the cultural awareness it could provide (I'm not saying it'd create world peace or anything so profound). Rather than obliterating any sign of our different beliefs it'd be beneficial to incorporate them culturally, not in actual govt functioning and in creating biases, and I believe the govt is responsible to foster cultural in every possible way, including the religious cultures if its citizens.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 8:13:26 am
Jethrow: It is NOT in the Constitution as wrongly stated in the above ping.

Sure it is. Your quote right there proves it.

By placing this monument in a public courthouse, Justice Moore has set up the public courthouse to essentially endorse one religion. Does that make sense? Either, as Ty suggests, add excerpts from all religions to equal it out (although, what of atheists?) or get rid of it.

I think the biggest surprise to me is how some of the people supporting it are acting as if it's a free speech infringement. It isn't. The Justice can put this monument up in his home, on his lawn, or at his private building if he wants. But a public building? No.

btw, you'd better start getting the building permit approved for the changes to the Supreme Court Building, seeing that the 10 Commandments have been inscribed in it for quite some time.

I don't agree with that, either, frankly.

I think the other thing that got my goat on this is that the people of Alabama did not vote for this monument; there was no election, no vote. The Justice had to sneak it in (!) to the rotunda.



FROM: Chris
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 8:47:54 am
The people supporting Judge Moore, for the most part, knowe that this is not a free speech issue. They can post the 10 Commandments in every room in their house, on their windshield, at work if their employer approves, in their place of worship, etc. So why do they care so much about having it at the Courthouse? Because they can't force me or you to come to their house or their place of worship. It's all using the police power of the state to force thier beliefs on others. Having the 10 Commandments displayed on government property is a not so subtle way of digging home their belief that this is a Christian nation.

It's not. And we dan thank God every day for that. If this place every becomes a theocracy I'm outta here.



FROM: Greg
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 1:42:30 pm
I don't see what the big deal is. It's a good set of guidelines for everyone to live their lives by and it's not specifically promoting any one religion. I would have a problem with it if it were purchased and installed using state funds. However, since it's there and will just cost more state funds to have it removed, really what's the harm?



FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 2:25:23 pm
Greg: It's a good set of guidelines for everyone to live their lives by and it's not specifically promoting any one religion.

Actually, it is: it promotes Christianity. I don't think the Nation of Islam follows the Ten Commandments, for instance.



FROM: Greg
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 4:14:33 pm
True but... Hypothetically, someone who doesn't know what religion is would not pick Christianity just from reading it.

And if you disagree with me again, I'm going to kick your Cristian-hating ass!



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 4:16:05 pm
I'm pretty sure that if, instead of the ten commandments, the equivalent in Islam were posted, then the same people that are supporting the monument would be up in arms trying to get it removed.

(As a side note, here's a Muslim take on the situation.)



FROM: Joe Revees
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 4:17:54 pm
I guess my take on this is that putting a monument in a federal building is not tantamount to Congress making a law respecting the establishment of religion (or prohibiting others).



FROM: Monica
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 4:58:24 pm
that was a nice link, Ryan, thanks.
What I wonder/am concerned about is the "snuck in" part. Anything that has to be snuck in to a public building should'nt be there. It should be voted on. But a 5000 pound monument? Sheesh, that's humongous. What was the need for something of that size? Who paid for it?
And no, someone (or group) putting this thing into a building is definitely not equivalent to Congress making a law... at least that would involve some kind of group decision. I'm not offended by people being fair.



FROM: Monica
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 4:59:48 pm
(group decision ~~ fair, open dialogue BEFORE something went into effect)



FROM: Doren
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 6:36:29 pm
1.) JETHROW- A compromise was offered (and swiftly rejected) that would allow the monument to be placed in a less public area, but still inside the building. (Just like the Commandments in the Supreme Court Building.)

2.) THE 2ND COMMANDMENT-"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." Isn't the monument ITSELF a graven image? Couldn't it be argued that the monument is little more than a fundamentalist GOLDEN CALF- literally a SYMBOL of the thing (God) and NOT the thing itself?

3.) While the Ten Commandments are a valid moral guide, being a part of the Old Testament, doesn't Christ and his teaching SUPPLANT this for Christians? In other words, you can't pick and choose like a buffet what you'll value from the Old Testament- it's one Testament or the other.

4.) THE 8TH COMMANDMENT-"Thou Shalt Not Steal" By virtue of the fact that Moore had to SNEAK IT IN THE BUILDING, isn't this stealing part of the building to put it on display?

5.) THE 9TH COMMANDMENT-"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." Sounds like Moore coveted the courthouse!



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 7:08:11 pm
I'll probably catch some slack, but here goes:

I'm a Christian, finished up at a Christian university...but I think having a monument at the court
is probably not the right thing to do.

The idea of the court system is to try and look at everything from a fair and unbalanced eye, regardless of personal beliefs held by the judge and jury. Despite my personal beliefs, a courthouse is one place where religion should not be headquartered.

If Judge Moore wanted to make a statement to his co-workers, he would probably have been ok with perhaps hanging a copy of them in his office, but I think having the Commandments in open view sends the wrong message that the courts slant towards Christianity.

Ryan made a great point -- If there were a monument for Islam, Buddhism, or anything else in front of a federal court, the ones defending this monument would be screaming.

I have no problem with Judge Moore wanting to spread his beliefs, but this is not the way to go about it.



FROM: jk
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 10:42:27 pm
One thing I like about the Ping is that we never have political debates.

The Commandments are also upheld by practicing Jews, not just Christians. Remember the Old Testament?



FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday August 26, 2003 -- 11:48:35 pm
jk: One thing I like about the Ping is that we never have political debates.

You should've seen some of the old Metallica v. Napster debates. Man, I miss Terry Murphy.



FROM: Sarah
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 2:03:05 pm
Why is this such a problem anyway? When we testify in court are we not required to say "I do" to the phrase, "Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you GOD"? Also, the Ten Commandments have been the backbone of this countries laws. Crimes committed by individuals are punished by imprisonment...stealing, murder,..etc...



FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 5:42:55 pm
Mostly because it aligned the courthouse, and therefore the Alabama government, with one religion. That's not allowed in this here country.

When we testify in court are we not required to say "I do" to the phrase...

We are, but I don't agree with that either. (And, before you ask, I'm not hot on "In God We Trust" either - I must be going to hell!)

Also, the Ten Commandments have been the backbone of this countries laws.

That's really arguable; I would say that a lot of these punishments aren't necessarily tied to just one religion, or religious stance, but common sense and other ideals.



FROM: Monica
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 8:21:31 pm
it's curious how people've been getting so defensive and upset about this! Last night on the news I saw people at the courthouse weeping and/or yelling. How is this worth that? People seem to be confusing this to be an attack on their religion, and it isn't. The only problem here is that the majority/law wasn't involved in a decision about a public place. "Oh, they're taking our God away," they were saying. Whatever. They're taking away something that, if you're of the mind, should be taught and taken to heart--monuments aren't needed and aren't equivalent to God!
Geez.
Oh, and check out the third comment here.



FROM: bored
DATE: Thursday August 28, 2003 -- 11:55:10 pm
When we testify in court are we not required to say "I do" to the phrase, "Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you GOD"?

i believe you can "affirm" the oath, rather than having to say the "so help you God" part.

other countries and their oaths:

Chinese:

break a plate and say:

‘I swear that I shall the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The plate is shattered and if I do not tell the truth, may my soul, in like manner, be shattered like it.’

-or-

Light a candle, blow out the flame and say:

‘I swear that I shall tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This candle is now extinguished and if I do not tell the truth, may my soul, in like manner, be extinguished forever hereafter.’

Buddhist

Say:

‘I declare, as in the presence of Buddha, that I am unprejudiced, and if what I shall speak shall prove false or, if by colouring the truth others shall be led astray, then may the three Holy Existences—Buddha, Dhamma and Pro Sangha—in whose sight I now stand, together with the Devotees of the Twenty-Two Firmaments, punish me and also my migrating soul.’












FROM: C.B
DATE: Sunday August 31, 2003 -- 12:45:09 pm
I don't think sneaking the monument in was a very good idea. They are dealing with a very serious issue that could get worse before it gets better especially messing with people from the Bible belt. Personally, I think Chief Justice Moore should run for governor of Alabama because he would sure get my vote.



FROM: tiffany
DATE: Wednesday November 19, 2003 -- 5:41:17 pm
The Ten Commandments should have stayed up because they are the rules of the land. GOD created us and we should praise him for that.I think that if more people were more educated in the Bible then this wouldn't have ever came about. I love the LORD and I am not at all ashamed of it and it should be put up in more places.



FROM: ?
DATE: Tuesday March 2, 2004 -- 1:37:29 pm
i am a christian young person and i totally stand on the bible as the word of god. however, i do not think that it is wise to force our beliefs on people. it's ok to witness and to be a testimony through our lives but we don't have to have a big monument of the 10 commandments in a courthouse or whatever....that is obviously going to stir up some anger. while we're on the whole "not forcing beliefs" thing, i also don't think it's cool when homosexuals jump on people who don't agree with their lifestyle. then they try to force it on everyone by wanting to legalize marriage and stuff. i'm not trying to tick people off...i just don't think it's fair to be attacked by them for having our own belief and opinion. ALSO- i think it's in poor taste when christians treat gay people like crap because they don't agree with them. (and maybe that's why they're so mean to us??) we need to be showing them the love of christ and hope that they see the error of their ways. if they don't...well- then god will handle it. it's not up to us.



FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday March 2, 2004 -- 4:06:29 pm
First of all, same sex marriage is legal. That's why there is all the commotion. If same sex marriage had to be legalized, there wouldn't be half the scared people out there screaming that the sky is falling. If same sex marriage were illegal, all those who have gotten married thus far would have been thrown in jail.
Second, the issue is not gay marriage, but same sex marriage. Gay people get married all the time, often to heterosexuals of the opposite sex. Completely gay marriage does exist, though. Gay men and women marry each other for all kinds of reasons--like to get those awesome tax breaks we all want. Even if same sex marriage is banned by a Constitutional Amendment, gays can still marry straights and gays of the opposite sex.
The problem is that the Constitution says no one may discriminate. It does not say no one may discriminate, unless they want to pick on a person who wants to marry a member of the same sex. That's why people are in an uproar. They are now realizing that people can marry another of the same sex, and the government can't do anything about it. A straight man can marry a straight man even. This would be a good way to give U.S. citizen status to a close friend. Don't think that opposite sex marriages don't exist for this same reason. There are tons of "green card" marriages. What is George Bush's so-called "institution of marriage" when it can be used this way, but not for two people of the same sex who might be in love, who want a family, who want to be recognized as a couple, given the legal status they deserve, and BEST of ALL, tax breaks?

Preaching your religion to another is an entirely different issue. Your right to do so is not only protected by the Constitution, within limits, but is also recognized as being protected by others around you and in the courts. Those who wish to marry same sex partners are not enjoying the same protections. No one knows whether or not they can continue to get married, or should, even though the Constitution has nothing to say about it.
You personally choose not to preach to others about your religious beliefs because you want to be nice. But you know that if you wanted to you could. You could even start your own church. That's the power of a recognized Constitutional right.
Without the recognition of Constitutional protections of civil liberties, gays can't marry other gays of the same sex because, unless they are in San Fran or Mass, no one will allow it, even though gays (or anyone who wants to marry someone of the same sex), at least for now, have that right. Even if they do marry, what such a marriage means legally is still a big question.
There really is no comparison between courteously being quiet about your faith, and wanting to exercise your rights under the Constitution.

Besides, if you believe in your faith, you should speak up about it. What are you afraid of?



Ashley March 29, 2008, 6:05 am

“Despite the separation of church and state that our country is founded upon..”

To begin my dissection, NOWHERE in the founding documents of America can there be found anything pertaining to “separation of church and state.” In fact, the very inspiration of this country originated from the ideas of John Locke, who believed that a HIGHER POWER granted each of us a set of inalienable rights (those same INALIENABLE rights which are the basis of the Declaration of Independence) and who also believed that we are the PROPERTY of said GOD. Believing that we are bestowed with “inalienable rights,” is believing in “right and wrong.” Because logically, we are NOT granted with such “rights.” I can deliberately end another person’s life, that person’s RIGHT to live. So by saying that we are given “inalienable rights”, which means that those rights cannot be taken, is not only fallacious, but blatantly retarded. So by “inalienable” our founding fathers must have meant that it is “wrong” to deprive another person from said rights. But who’s to say what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”? When contemplated in depth, the subject of “right and wrong” is far too blurry upon which to draw an objective opinion. There are no set boundaries that can clearly define actions as being right or wrong; it completely varies with the individual.. UNLESS you are religious, in which case you follow a set of beliefs that TELL you what is right and wrong. Well, I guess that technically “religion” can be construed as beliefs that you yourself have formulated……. straying off topic. So, where was I? Anyway, the point I’m making, is that you can’t use the word “inalienable” unless you believe that a higher power made something inalienable. Because logically, NOTHING is inalienable.

Back on track. Someone posted this excerpt, which I don’t feel like checking to see if it’s verbatim, but assuming based on context that this person was trying to be thorough in argument and that the quote is accurate:

“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.”

Having a religious monument in a federal building is in no way infringing this portion of the Constitution. No laws were passed regarding religion in the erection (only word I could think of) of this monument, no one was prohibited from expressing their own religion, be it the same as that of the monument or not, and obviously no one was debarred from petitioning it. This quote merely states the right to EXPRESS religion, even in government. According to our Constitution, feds have every much as right to exercise a religion as Charles Manson, your next door neighbor, or a teacher in a public school system. To be honest I don’t much care to see the Ten Commandments in a court house (or wherever it was). Or ANYWHERE, for that matter. But I do believe that people should believe what they want, and be able to express those beliefs without discriminating against those who disagree, or trying to shove religion down their throats. I’m non-religious, but I enjoy learning about other religions and discussing religion with individuals who have differing ideas from mine. However, I cannot stand small-minded people who refuse to recognize the world around them and accept that SOMEONE is going to disagree.

I just randomly scrolled up and read this:
“The idea of the court system is to try and look at everything from a fair and unbalanced eye, regardless of personal beliefs held by the judge and jury. Despite my personal beliefs, a courthouse is one place where religion should not be headquartered.”

NO ONE can be unbiased. It’s fucking impossible. Yeah, in a perfect world that made sense, this idea would be feasible. That judge is going to be inclinated towards his religion REGARDLESS of whether or not he “snuck” a monument into a court house. Actually, it’s kind of a good thing in an ironic way… warning you beforehand of what you’re getting yourself into before entering court. :]

Though I still have a reserve of ranting juices, I think I’ll stop now. Head kinda hurts, end of a long week.. but I do feel accomplished that I gave those juices a chance to flow during my vacation. Now I’m just wondering if anyone will ever read this, or if it made sense……..

What is this then?

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