The 10 Commandments Revisited
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According the New York Times, the US Supreme Court has agreed to review two cases involving the posting to the 10 Commandments on public property. As it states in the article:
The justices accepted appeals from two opposing lower-court rulings, one that upheld the display of a six-foot-high Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and another that ordered two Kentucky counties to remove framed copies of the Commandments from their courthouse walls.
The two cases pose the question of whether the display of these images on government property amounts to an unconstitutional "establishment" of religion.
The 10 Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol was placed there by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the same organization which placed a similar monument in Wallace, Idaho, as mentioned in Mediation 120. In fact they placed thousands of these graven images on public property in past years. Apparently, the organization claimed the Commandments offered a personal code of behavior that would reduce juvenile delinquency. Given that the "moral majority" are always pointing to the growing problems with young people, it would suggest this has not been a very successful initiative.
But, if the Supreme Court is to determine whether posting the 10 Commandments in public places serves a religious or secular purpose, I suggest they consider the findings of Reflection 6.
Specifically they might ask:
- In what way does "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" serve a secular purpose?
- In what way does "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" serve a secular purpose?
- In what way does "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" serve a secular purpose?
- In what way does " Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" serve a secular purpose?
I suggest there is no honest answer that will provide a satisfactory rationale supporting the first four commandments as secular.
- New York Times, October 13, 2004
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