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The Ten Commandments Can Stay on Courthouse Lawn

This is a good decision by Judge Carr. He's a Carter appointee and an honest and objective judge. I'm glad to see he came to this conclusion:

April 19, 2006 - TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A Ten Commandments monument that has stood on the courthouse lawn for almost 50 years does not promote religion and can remain in place, a federal judge ruled.


U.S. District Judge James Carr said Tuesday that the monument can stay because the motives for placing it outside the Lucas County courthouse were secular and not an endorsement of a specific belief.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sued Lucas County in 2002 to have the display removed, saying it was unconstitutional and promoted religion.

Carr's decision followed a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court that addressed displays of the Ten Commandments.

The Supreme Court in June allowed a 6-foot granite monument to remain at the Texas Capitol. Justices said Ten Commandments exhibits would be upheld if their main purpose was to honor the nation's legal, rather than religious, traditions, and if they didn't promote one religious sect over another.

The Lucas County marker was given to the county by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles as part of an effort to combat juvenile delinquency.

Jeffrey Gamso, a legal director for the ACLU in Ohio, said the group had not decided whether to appeal.

As far as I'm concerned, we need more displays of the Ten Commandments in this country.

Hat tip: Jayson at Polipundit


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Comments (27)

I like this idea, myself:</... (Below threshold)

I like this idea, myself:

My Bill of Rights

U.S. District Judge Jame... (Below threshold)
Tom Lefebvre:

U.S. District Judge James Carr said Tuesday that the monument can stay because the motives for placing it outside the Lucas County courthouse were secular and not an endorsement of a specific belief.
And that's the way it should be. Good decision. Of course, this is unlike the Alabama fight with Judge Roy Moore - his effort was decidely religious in nature and, as a result, the right thing happened there also. Now if it was on the ballot for Alabama to support, there would be no argument. And I'm sure it would pass. It was the way Judge Moore did it that made everyone mad - not what he did.

"I AM THE LORD THY GOD"... (Below threshold)

"I AM THE LORD THY GOD"

I dunno guys, sounds like it is favoring monotheism to me.

A great decision, obviously... (Below threshold)
virgo:

A great decision, obviously the judge moore decision was an atrocity.

Anyone want to point out th... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Anyone want to point out that 8 of the commandments aren't crimes?

But Robert, the other two c... (Below threshold)
mantis:

But Robert, the other two condemn murder and theft, which we have laws against, therefore they are a part of our "legal traditions", or something. Without the ten commandments our founders would have had to work out for themselves that murder and theft are bad things for society, and what is the likelihood of that?

Well, they did come up with that whole separation of church and state thing, so maybe they would have figured out that murder is bad.

Oh please, you know better ... (Below threshold)

Oh please, you know better than that. Our legal traditions are informed by legal traditions that stretch back through time. Some are religious and some are not. It's not that we keep all of those traditions over time but you can't pretend that they aren't a part of our legal history.

Sure, someone could figure out, all on their own that murder isn't a good idea and that stealing is bad, but the fact is that the person who *did* figure that out all on their own did so a very *very* long time ago.

Oh, and I think we consider false witness a crime as well.

Honestly, sometimes it feels like "separation" people are saying, sure, that's part of our History but it's *religious* so we're going to wipe it out.

Kinda sorta like a certain Egyptian Pharoh who had his entire life erased when he died... they just carved him off the rocks.

Without the ten co... (Below threshold)
Without the ten commandments our founders would have had to work out for themselves that murder and theft are bad things...

And of course it's far preferable that each generation has to discover these things independently, than that age-old traditions of morality and justice be recognized and venerated.

Yet, as others have pointed... (Below threshold)

Yet, as others have pointed out, you put your hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution.

You don't put your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible...

And of course it's far p... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And of course it's far preferable that each generation has to discover these things independently, than that age-old traditions of morality and justice be recognized and venerated.

Much of the morality and justice from the Old Testament should be neither recognized nor venerated. We hold these truths to be self-evident, not evident because some magical man bellowed them down from the sky.

Oh, and for the inevitable response, the "Creator" (not Yahweh, or the Lord, or Jehovah, or Jesus, or Allah) is vague for a reason.

Actually, 3 commandments ar... (Below threshold)

Actually, 3 commandments are crimes. Murder, theft and perjury.

I'm all for displaying the 10 Commandments wherever anybody wants to, but I think that basing the decision on the that "the motives for placing it outside the Lucas County courthouse were secular and not an endorsement of a specific belief" is a bit weak.

Motives are evidence, not actions themselves. I can be motivated to end teenage smoking, but that doesn't make it okee dokee for me to accomplish that by killing all the teenage smokers.

If Judge Carr based his ruling on the "motive" and not the result, then I think that an appeal of the ruling would prolly be successful.

One thing I can't figure ou... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

One thing I can't figure out about this whole issue is what the lefties are so afraid of. I dunno... Maybe if somebody posted a big marble block on the courthouse square inscribed with "There is only one god and his name is Allah!" I might be bothered by it. Then again, if I lived in a majority muslim country AND nobody was trying to force me to become a muslim, I suppose I could live with it.

However, the Ten Commandments... What part of "honor thy father and thy mother" or "thou shalt not murder" is so objectionable?

BTW, let's make it clear that the Founding Fathers were NOT interested in "seperation of church and state", but rather in ensuring that there was no Church of America that could lead to religious strife (or even war); given the problems Britain had experienced with this sort of thing only a century before the drafting of the Constitution, this seems a wise and unsurprising attitude.

Just typical of the Xtreme ... (Below threshold)
mak44:

Just typical of the Xtreme Right theocrats who, like the Pharisees, loved to profess their beliefs of which they made a mockery in their daily life practice.

It amazes me how all you war-mongerers and death penalty mongerers are so concerned with the spreading of the 10 commandments, as if that somehow mitigates illegal wars and the killing of convicts, or tolerance for the grossest maldistribution of wealth that exists in this country.

All that you are concerned with are signs and symbols that you ultimately render meaningless thru your hypocritical support for the Iraqi war (Bush's murder campaign) and your support of the death penalty (state-sanctioned murder.)

No bleating & posting of the 10 commandments can erase this brazen hypocrisy.

mak44: since you're deeming... (Below threshold)

mak44: since you're deeming "hypocritical" any Christian who supports the Iraq war or the death penalty, please cite the chapter and verse of the Bible which states that either are wrong. Otherwise, don't disparage a religion about which you seem to be utterly clueless.

docjim, I had the same thought, but I think I've reached a conclusion about what is so threatening. I have two hypotheses, the first being that since the goal of liberal political philosophy is complete control over every aspect of private life and thought, it is indeed threatening when one can construe a statement regarding religion as "government approved." My second idea is that if everyone actually did begin following the tenets of the Christian religion, loving God supremely and treating his neighbor with the consideration and respect ordered in the Ten Commandments, there would be a greatly lessened need for the "nanny state" style of government of which liberals are so fond.

Of course when one considers that the primary function of the first amendment was to keep the federal government out of matters of religion, all these things fall upon the states, and the people of those states...but we all know the "states' rights" argument is cryptic language indicating a desire to reinstitute slavery.

Oh, and mantis....

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Yes, "Creator" by itself is quite vague, as is "Nature's God." But considering the Judeo-Christian background of these men, exactly what were the "laws...of Nature's God" to which these men were referring, if not the Decalogue? Do you really want to go down the road pursuing the framers' intent?

Jamie wrote (April 2... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Jamie wrote (April 20, 2006 09:25 AM):

My second idea is that if everyone actually did begin following the tenets of the Christian religion, loving God supremely and treating his neighbor with the consideration and respect ordered in the Ten Commandments, there would be a greatly lessened need for the "nanny state" style of government of which liberals are so fond.

Have you ever read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity (I believe this idea is in that book)? He makes the same case that you make: if we were all "good" Christians, society would be rather socialist in appearance. The gov wouldn't HAVE to redistribute wealth or tax us to provide for welfare and other social programs: people would naturally do it from love of and obedience to Christ. Unhappily, there are very few good Christians...

One thing I can't ... (Below threshold)
One thing I can't figure out about this whole issue is what the lefties are so afraid of.

My wife thinks there may be "God cooties" involved.

docjim505 The leftie... (Below threshold)
katie couric:

docjim505
The lefties are afraid of being held accountable to God for their lives and thus are bothered by reminders of this fact. ie a ten commandments memorial or display. remember We crawled out of slime and somehow morphed over time into humans so there is no god and no accountability.

Absent from divine revelati... (Below threshold)
BrianOfAtlanta:

Absent from divine revelation, there is no way that humans would "work out for themselves that murder and theft are bad things for society". One look at the current abortion and euthenasia debates makes that clear. By human standards alone, one man's murder and theft are another man's free choice and taxation.

docjim: Yes, I've read M... (Below threshold)

docjim: Yes, I've read Mere Christianity, and Lewis's argument is quite sound in that regard. Living in an imperfect world, of course, renders the notion quite utopian, but it's an interesting point to ponder.

Katie hits the nail on the head. It's not that the ideas themselves are offensive, it's the notion that any Deity exists who exerts ultimate authority over mankind. Sadly, though, it's not just the "lefties." I wish that more Christians recognized the fact that Divine authority is not restrictive....As Paul said, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient..."

To ATL BrianIt mos... (Below threshold)
mak44:

To ATL Brian

It most certainly does not take the mythological bible to determine that life is better for all when one does not ascribe to himself the right to kill. Your vaunted biblical mythology is replete w/ the Israelis slaughtering all sorts of people when it suited their needs and w/ the claim of god's blessing for having done so.

Any rational being could determine the desirability of not killing or stealing. Any non-selfish non-self-centered individual can make this determination w/o so-called voices (divine revelation. )That you require and need of a fable to instruct your moral behavior is your poverty.

AND TO JAMIE- Thou shalt not kill-especially for a lying war, is one citation. Just bcuz you wing nuts can get yourself all honked up slobbering up the lying Bush propaganda does not absolve you from transgressing what ought to be the 1st commandment. Ditto for the death penalty.You right wingnuts think that you can affirm the value of life by taking life. That stands Reason on its head.

AND TO ALL YOU THEOCRATS wondering why the left resists the posting of your religious platitudes; it is because your blatant transgression of what you profess is so profoundly contemptible and revolting. Perhaps, bcuz you have never matured, you require the public posting of rules and mythological symbols in order to coerce others in a vain attempt to confirm the mythology you yourselves doubt.

katie couric wrote (... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

katie couric wrote (April 20, 2006 11:40 AM):

The lefties are afraid of being held accountable to God for their lives...

I'm not so sure. Perhaps this is true for some atheists (and let's keep in mind that atheism isn't confined to the left, though I think it finds tremendous acceptance there), I don't think it's true for the majority. If one doesn't believe in God, then why would one fear His wrath or feel any compunction at all for breaking His laws?

I think that a lot of the lefty crusade against God has to do more with their battle against the right, i.e. God is nothing more than a strawman to them. "The right believes in this mythical being, and we hate the right, so therefore we reject his existence and assert our right to ignore any of his laws."

One of the more bizarre arguments the left makes from this idea is that it's wrong to base laws on religion. "Seperation of church and state!" they cry. This ignores the fact that ALL laws are based on some set of values; for many people, those values come from their religion. Asking them to write law without reference to it is about as foolish as asking them to write law in a language that they don't understand. The left has its own set of values, and, though these aren't taught in a church on Sunday mornings, they carry just as much weight wigh a lefty as the Ten Commandments do to with conservative Christian or Jew. Sadly, perhaps even more.

Interesting contrast:

The left accuses the right of injecting religion into politics.

The right accuses the left of injecting politics into religion.

But considering the Jude... (Below threshold)
mantis:

But considering the Judeo-Christian background of these men, exactly what were the "laws...of Nature's God" to which these men were referring, if not the Decalogue? Do you really want to go down the road pursuing the framers' intent?

Sure, Jefferson did not believe in revealed truth, he believed in reason. His contemporary writings bear this out. The decalogue as given to Moses could only be described as revealed and not reasoned. Plus, if he or the other signers of the Declaration intended the "Creator" to be the god of Judaism or Christianity, why wouldn't they have written it that way?

Because they held these tr... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Because they held these truths to be self evident, it is clear to those who are of these beliefs what and who the author of these freedoms are, there was no aclu protesting every belief these people had and i imagine they only recognized one God as the only God and it was not muhammed.

I think that the writers an... (Below threshold)

I think that the writers and signers of the Declaration did assume the reality of God but it was *so* assumed that a great deal of the belief was a matter of course cultural observance rather than a stand that needed to be taken. Why didn't they define who the Creator was? Probably because they were deliberately keeping it vague. Not to keep God out of public discourse but to make a bit of a point of not favoring a particular interpretation. I think it showed a fair amount of insight considering that our country's religious make-up is far more diverse today than they could have imagined back then.

BTW... I hear rummor that the freize (sp.) on the US supreme court includes Muhammed among historical law-givers. We've got what amounts to a statue of the guy on our supreme court building! When was that constructed? Certainly long before any political need to display diversity. So what's with that, huh? Were the people who designed that ediface promoting Islam?

At some point common sense has to step in and cry a big BS when it comes to claims that public reminders of religion violate freedom of religion in this country. Why? Because it shows that the religion exists? Look at mak44 up there having a little drama about "theocrats." It would be funny if I didn't hear similar alarmism so often.

Life is too easy here, I swear. If it weren't too easy people wouldn't have to make up dire threats to liberty because they'd have real ones to worry about.

Nothing about *freedom* implies that we get to go through life without ever having to notice that we live in a diverse society with diverse people.

BTW... I hear rummor tha... (Below threshold)

BTW... I hear rummor that the freize (sp.) on the US supreme court includes Muhammed among historical law-givers.

I think you mean Hammurabi who wrote what is the oldest known recorded law in human history, which is why it is featured on the US Supreme Court along with other lawgivers of note including Moses.

If it weren't too easy people wouldn't have to make up dire threats to liberty because they'd have real ones to worry about.

Agreed like the non-exsistent "war on Christmas"

The U.S. system (capitalism... (Below threshold)
Robert:

The U.S. system (capitalism) is the opposite of the 1st Commandment.

Certainly, you've heard of the Almighty Dollar.

mak44:I know my an... (Below threshold)

mak44:

I know my answer to your screed doesn't interest you, but it struck me as nearly comical that you are willing to call me a hypocrite based upon your opinion about what should be the first commandment in a book that you dismiss as "mythical." I say "nearly" comical, because it's too tragic that you can't see the disconnect in that line of logic.

You make the following statement:

"You right wingnuts think that you can affirm the value of life by taking life. That stands Reason on its head."

The value of life is affirmed in the death penalty. As a society, we deem life valuable enough to demand the ultimate penalty for taking that life maliciously. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can follow the logic, even if they disagree with the conclusion. As to it's relevance to biblical law...the death penalty is commanded in the bible as punishment for murder as well as other crimes...regardless what you think the "mythical" book "should" say.




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