Monday, June 27, 2005

Supreme Nonsense

I'm not a legal expert by any stretch of the imagination, so please bear with me. It seems to me that the Ten Commandments decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court is totally absurd.

Here it is according to AP News:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that displaying the Ten Commandments on government property is constitutionally permissible in some cases but not in others. A pair of 5-4 decisions left future disputes on the contentious church-state issue to be settled case-by-case.

"The court has found no single mechanical formula that can accurately draw the constitutional line in every case," wrote Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

Has a decision really been made here? Displaying the Ten Commandments on Government Property should either be constitutional or unconstitutional, not "it depends". It seems as if the decision whether they are permissible or not depends a great deal on whether the Supreme Court itself would have to be remodeled as a result of the decision:

The justices voting on the prevailing side in the Kentucky case left themselves legal wiggle room, saying that some displays inside courthouses - like their own courtroom frieze - would be permissible if they were portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history.

The Supreme Court's frieze depicts Moses as well as 17 other figures including Hammurabi, Confucius, Napoleon and Chief Justice John Marshall. Moses' tablets do not have any writing.

So basically, the Supreme Court gets to keep the references they have and then decide on a case-by-case basis whether it is permissible for everyone else. Does anyone actually think that since Moses' tablets have nothing written on them, there is not religious intent? Anyone who has ever been to Sunday School knows better. I don't mean regular attendance, I mean once or twice.

Justice Antonin Scalia, I think, summed it up best:

In sharply worded opinions, Justice Antonin Scalia said a "dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority" was denying the Ten Commandments' religious meaning. Religion is part of America's traditions, from a president's invocation of "God bless America" in speeches to the national motto "In God we trust."

"Nothing stands behind the court's assertion that governmental affirmation of the society's belief in God is unconstitutional except the court's own say-so," Scalia wrote.

We can't change the history of this country just to appease a segment of the population that might be offended by that history! People seem to forget that the earliest settlers came to this country precisely for Freedom of Religion, not freedom from it. If that history has religious overtones, then so be it!

The Supreme Court should not be making decisions regarding symbols with religious references. They should be making decisions that guarantee the free exercise thereof.

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