Opening Insights: Separating Church and State
Associated Press writer Russell Contreras contributed to a report from Albuquerque, New Mexico about the new wave of legislation coming down the pipeline. Legislatures continue pushing to remove Judeo-Christian values from the lives of Americans under the guise of separating church and state.
Informational Insights: Censoring History
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a lower court that ordered a New Mexico city to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn outside City Hall.
Civil liberties advocates behind the case called the decision involving the city of Bloomfield a victory for the separation of church and state.
ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson said it sends a "strong message that the government should not be in the business of picking and choosing which sets of religious beliefs enjoy special favor in the community."
However, David Cortman, a senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom, said the outcome did nothing to resolve confusion in lower courts involving such monuments.
"Americans shouldn't be forced to censor religion's role in history simply to appease someone who is offended by it or who has a political agenda to remove all traces of religion from the public square," said Cortman, whose group represented the city of Bloomfield.
The decision came after attorneys for the city argued that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ignored previous rulings by the Supreme Court that simply being offended by such a monument did not give someone a legal basis to challenge the monument.
In other cases, a Ten Commandments poster in a Kentucky courthouse was found constitutional and a monument on the grounds of a public building in Arkansas was determined to be unconstitutional.
In Bloomfield, a concrete block that displays the Ten Commandments sits alongside other monuments related to the Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address and Bill of Rights.
The city claims it avoided endorsing a particular religion by placing disclaimers on the lawn stating the area was a public forum for citizens and that the privately funded monuments did not necessarily reflect the opinions of the city.
The Ten Commandments monument was erected in 2011 and challenged a year later by the ACLU. Lower courts concluded it violated the Constitution's ban on the government endorsing a religion.
Justice Neil Gorsuch did not take part in the court's action because he was on the federal appeals court in Denver when it considered the matter.
Possibilities for Consideration: Constitution vs. 10 Commandments
- Was The Constitution written with the intention of creating a free society composed of ethical and moral citizens grounded in Judeo-Christian values?
- Was the intention of our founding fathers to remove the influence of religious authorities as well as religious principles and values?
- Are the 10 Commandments a religious doctrine or common universal values of moral decency?
- You shall have no other gods before Me: i.e. the great "I" is not the center of the universe.
- You shall not make idols: i.e. seek comfort and pleasure in external habits and addictions.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain: i.e. have respect for the spiritual presence.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
Add Your Insight: What Do You Think?
The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate
their own understanding of their history.