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10 Commandments ruling makes me wonder about those rules

June 9, 2009

An appeals court in Denver ruled today that the Ten Commandments monument outside a county courthouse in Oklahoma violates the Constitution by promoting religion. According to this report in the Tulsa World:

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 in a challenge to the monument brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and by a county resident. 

“We hold that the [Haskell County commissioners’] actions in authorizing and maintaining the monument . . . had the impermissible principal or primary effect of endorsing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause” of the Constitution, the judges wrote in a 52-page decision. 

No doubt this will outrage some, but I’ll never understand why folks have such a need to display the decalogue or such an attachment to a monument. Also a mystery to me is how anyone can argue that this doesn’t promote religion. Now, I know the First Amendment gets oversimplified at times, and that it doesn’t bar religion from the public square. But it seems to me that the Ten Commandments isn’t necessarily the best summary of our collective moral code anyway. I mean, keep holy the Sabbath? What exactly does that mean? Saturday? Sunday? Friday? And how can we as a consumer-capitalist society take seriously a rule against coveting our neighbor’s goods? Isn’t that covetousness a key part of what drives our economy? 

I’m just saying …

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