The 10 Commandments and Courthouses

So… there has been an issue lately in at least two cases where the 10 commandments has been a controversy by being placed in a courthouse.

In the recent story, the plaque was placed over 80 years ago.

But… there was also the story about the judge who put a stone version of the 10 commandments in the courthouse without telling people beforehand.

Is this appropriate? Does it violate the seperation of church and state?

Damn straight it violates SOCAS. It clearly ‘rescpects an establishment of religion’.

It is unconstitutional to bring ‘God’s laws’ into a government court of law. Period.

According to one protester:

So why are they protesting if they agree? No one’s trying to take the words out from inside of anyone. They can move the plaque to any privately owned location where it will completely safe from the 'Nazis".

The first 3 commandments are ONLY about religion, and have NOTHING to do with secular laws:

These three commandments have only religous significance and have no place in the United States Judicial system or on any other government building.

I read about a student somewhere who requested that the “pillars of Islam” be posted next to the ten commandments. Needless to say, the request wasn’t met. The student’s point was that NEITHER religious text belonged.

Godwin in 3. A new record?

Whoops, majorly screwed that one up. Should have been:
Godwin in 3. A new record?

(apparently the software doesn’t like the hyperlink. Off to ATMB…)

Not that that won’t stop the conservatives from trying to do so. :rolleyes:

Of course, if you want to mess with their minds, just ask them which ten commandments should be posted – not all forms of Christianity believe in the same ten, after all…

Well, if it’s an historical landmark, or piece, I can see a case for having them remain. Otherwise, violates the Establishment Clause.


I hope you weren’t accusing me of violating Godwin’s (not that I’ve never) since I was referring to a quote in the linked article.

To wit:

Well, is it a mere ‘cultural artifact’ or are they ‘God’s Laws’?

I would like to apologize on behalf of the many other Chester County, Pennsylvania residents who are embarrased, chagrined, and just plain pissed off that our commissioners are wasting time and money on fighting the judge’s order to remove the plaque. U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell’s ruling made quite clear that:[list=1][li]Chester County’s plaque violates the Lemon Test.[/li][li]The plaque was donated by a religious group and its text is a Protestant Christian interpretation of the Ten Commandments.[/li][li]Only 84 words of the text, Dalzell wrote, “could be fairly regarded as conveying a secular, moral message.”[/list=1](Above list from The Philadelphia Inquirer.)[/li]Take it down, leave it covered, or put it in context. This is the sort of thing that makes me believe James Carville’s description of the state as “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.”

Yeah, that might be a reason to let it remain in place. But if that were really the case, the protestors would have been shouting “Don’t cover historical landmarks”, instead of “You can’t cover The Truthtm.”

I did that once. The answer I got was “God’s version.” Needless to say, the conversation finished its tumble downhill from there.

No, no one today should place the 10 commandments on the walls in a courthouse. I might be able to see letting it go as a historical landmark/artifact - if it really is a historical landmark/artifact. I can’t see the pictures now (not sure why) so is it truly landmark status? Or, just a plaque?

Ordinarily I’m an easy-going chap, and I know how to pick my battles. It would be simple enough to draw a line in the sand and say, “No new unconstitutional monuments.”

But why should we excuse the constitutional violations of the past, just because they weren’t recognized at the time as being wrong? Is there a statute of limitations in the First Amendment?

Because, silly, they serve a secular purpose. And what is that purpose? Honoring our history. And what is that history? It’s the history of how our country ignored its own constitution and oppressed religious minorities. So, you see, it’s perfectly constitutional because it’s not honoring Christianity, but instead honoring our country’s history of honoring Christianity. Completely different. :rolleyes:

Because perhaps it was created by such and such artist, on such and such date, and it’s a part of a historical building.

Sheesh, HISTORY, people. You don’t destroy history.

It’s a big bronze plaque, but nothing special. Here is a picture (it’s the only one I could find, and I guess the lady in the fur coat gives a sense of scale, anyway.) I fail to see any historical significance, personally, but neither do I advocate destroying it. Move it to a church, a private building, or for that matter the county museum, where it could be part of a display about the interplay of church and state, etc., but don’t leave it next to the front door of the county courthouse.

So how is anything not history? That would apply equally to the new one being put up. And does any message, no matter how illegal, get the same treatment?

(Or was I just whooshed?)

I just want somebody to post a large plaque of the Bill of Rights in a courtroom/house somewhere. After all, the original ten amendments are commandments too.

For that matter, why should we excuse violations written into the constitution by the founders. They’re the ones who created a constitution without even realizing what it meant. :confused:

Seriously, IMHO the founders would not have considered the 10 C display unconstitutional. However, today’s SCOTUS has held it unconstitutional, so we will follow their rulings.

Speaking as an atheist, I would not object to the posting of the 10 Cs. But, of course, the Court gets the last word. This is not a big issue to me one way or another.

Aside from the obvious church - state issues related to posting the 10 ccs in courthouses, what bugs me is that many of the “shalt nots” are perfectly legal in this country, so I don’t understand the point of having them posted in a courthouse of all places.

That’s like saying “Thou shalt have no other god before Yahweh…but you have freedom of religion and it’s not illegal, so god ahead and put a few other gods before Yahweh if you want to.” or “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s whatever…but it’s not illegal so go ahead and brood over how much you wish you had your neighbor’s new swimming pool.”

What kind of sense does this make? :confused: