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Headlines Supreme Court Considers Ten Commandments Displays

voiceofreason

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court questioned on Wednesday whether a Ten Commandments display on public property represented an unconstitutional endorsement of religion or an acceptable historical symbol of law.


Stepping into a politically charged U.S. debate over religion and government, the high court considered two cases involving the Ten Commandments and focused on whether the context of the displays could make them allowable.

The court questioned whether a huge Ten Commandments monument can be displayed on a state Capitol grounds, or whether a framed copy can be put up in courthouses, and if other historical documents must be included to establish a secular message.

The Supreme Court's own courtroom contains a depiction of Moses with a tablet representing the Ten Commandments.

An attorney who opposed the displays at issue drew a challenge from Justice Anthony Kennedy, who suggested there may be an "obsessive concern" over any mention of religion. People could simply look away, Kennedy said.

Justice David Souter, however, seemed skeptical of the argument that including other historical documents would sufficiently mask the religious nature of the Ten Commandments.

"It would be crazy law from this court that said you can engage in religious endorsement ... so long as you hide the ball well enough," he said.

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Take 'em down or leave 'em up?
 

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dolor ex fides
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The law in this country are based on the 10 commandments anyway. I'm not saying they should be, but they are. Leave them up, take them down - it doesn't matter.
 
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I remember seeing something on the news once that made me say "Yup, this is my stance."

"This country was founded on the principles of freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion."

As an atheist, I say all this "take down the commandments" stuff is going too far.
 

Descent

Hella Constipated
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Actually, I am Atheist and I don't want them to be seen. I don't like the idea, it makes the Neo-Cons and Born Agains think they have more power than they do.

It essentially endorses their shit-ass beliefs, and in the end may make them even more crazy.

(I don't hate any religion, just Born Again Christian culture, and not as a whole. I have a buddy who is one.)
 

Dave666

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They should take them down because some law says there's a speration of church and state
 

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dolor ex fides
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Separation of church and state is a myth in this country. If it wasn't, the liquor store would be open on Sunday.
 
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Dave666 said:
They should take them down because some law says there's a speration of church and state
Just because there's a seperation of church and state doesn't mean that people aren't free to believe in whatever religion they want.
 

voiceofreason

Seeker of Truth
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TheLampIncident said:
Just because there's a seperation of church and state doesn't mean that people aren't free to believe in whatever religion they want.
What does the state buying and displaying religious symbols have to do with people being free to believe in whatever religion they want?

Ya see, that would NOT be a separation of ...oh never mind...
 

UberSkippy

a.k.a. FuckTheBullShit
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switch_scribe said:
The law in this country are based on the 10 commandments anyway. I'm not saying they should be, but they are. Leave them up, take them down - it doesn't matter.
Not really no the laws aren't.

Take a look at other cultures. Is there a modern culture where let's say... um... killing someone is legal? No. How about theft? Pretty much ruled out by all societies.

Idolatry? That's not even illegal here so that one doesn't count. Adultery? Some places it's a crime others it's not but it's not limited one way or the other to Christian societies.

The basic laws of this country are founded mainly on equality and common sense. Many of the 10 commandments are basic common sense so it's easy for people to try and draw some sort of coralation that's not actually there.

Take the fuckers down... we've got enough laws we don't listen too... why add 10 more that some lunatic carved into granite while smoking a bowl on a mountain?
 

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dolor ex fides
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UberSkippy said:
Not really no the laws aren't. ...

Idolatry? That's not even illegal here so that one doesn't count. Adultery? Some places it's a crime others it's not but it's not limited one way or the other to Christian societies.
Idolatry and adultery are no longer illegal in this country. They once were, back when the country was founded. Now in most areas those laws have been retracted. But in some those laws are still on the books.

I will however retract my prior statement. The laws in this country are not based on the 10 commandments. They are based on the King James version of the Bible. That's why sodomy is still a crime in many states. And in some cases, they still enforce that one.

(and for those of you that don't know - legal definition of sodomy is anything other than a penis making contact with anything other than a vagina.)
 

DanGeo23

Resident Conservative
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They should take them down because some law says there's a speration of church and state
no really there isn't...

preface: I am a Practical Atheist but a Philosophical Agnostic...

I believe that this country was founded mainly by Christian people... they used the 10 commandments as a basis for thier laws... which makes the 10 commandments part of our history... and a display would be a historical display not an endorsement of religion... kinda like how the Liberty Bell has an inscription from the Old Testament on it... yet is viewed as historical not religious...
I suppose we should rid ourselves of the religous holidays... and the day off work...
Christmas
Easter
Thanksgiving...
I believe I read that 90 something % of our founders writings have references to a creator...
the building (supreme court) where this is being debated has a depiction of Moses holding the 10 commandments on the outside of it with at least one sculpture of big M and his 10 commandments.... the door leading into the SC has the ten commandments depicted on them...
The each session of the court closes with the words,"God save the United States and the Honorable Court."
the house of Reps has a depiction of Moses across from the Speaker...
the HR, Senate and SC all still have prayers before sessions...
I say all this just to show.. that they should be viewed as historical not as an endorsement of religion...
 
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voiceofreason said:
What does the state buying and displaying religious symbols have to do with people being free to believe in whatever religion they want?
Because...wait a minute, this is the STATE buying these symbols? *spit take*

Oh, I thought it was just individual churches. In that case, never mind, I agree with you.
 

Jung

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#13
switch_scribe said:
The law in this country are based on the 10 commandments anyway. I'm not saying they should be, but they are. Leave them up, take them down - it doesn't matter.
No, it wasn't and yes it does. America isn't a Christian nation, values of only one faith shouldn't be adopted and displayed by our government. America was founded upon freedom of religion; if that's the case, we shouldn't be displaying only one faith's teachings. If we don't display bits from the Torah, Koran etc, then we shouldn't do it at all. And I'll be willing to be MANY people would have problems with displaying teachings of Muslim faith in a federal building.
switch_scribe said:
Separation of church and state is a myth in this country. If it wasn't, the liquor store would be open on Sunday.
I don't know if I'd consider it a myth; it does exist in some aspects, but it's been bastardized by religious zealots, and allowed by negligent authorities. Also, liquor stores are open on Sunday in certain states, but that was a weak argument anyway.
switch_scribe said:
Idolatry and adultery are no longer illegal in this country. They once were, back when the country was founded. Now in most areas those laws have been retracted. But in some those laws are still on the books.
You're correct, but I'd like to think we've learned from our past, stagnating on past rulings does nothing for civil progression. Also, there are plenty of dated, and silly, laws still on the books. For example, in New Orleans it's illegal to own or wear trousers with front pockets. This is from the days of prohibition, when large front pockets could be used to conceal moonshine. Does this law have any bearing today? Certainly not. Is it a valid argument for any other old laws? Of course not; it's a very weak and silly argument... at best.
The laws in this country are not based on the 10 commandments. They are based on the King James version of the Bible. That's why sodomy is still a crime in many states. And in some cases, they still enforce that one.
While many who colonized this land from Europe in the 1500s were of some Christian faith, the United States was not founded as, nor ever intended to be a Christian nation. The founders did understand and respect the role that 'god' played in some of the average citizen's life. However, they never wanted Christian doctrine to be the basis for US law. People want to cry about the constitution and our fore fathers when they feel they've lost something, but conveniently ignore their words when it benefits them.

Again, the sodomy law isn't something that's enforced. You say it's still enforced in some places? Where?
DanGeo23 said:
I believe that this country was founded mainly by Christian people... they used the 10 commandments as a basis for thier laws... which makes the 10 commandments part of our history...
Do you seriously beLIEve that? Jesus. (no pun intended) A freshman western civ course would've taught you differently.

and a display would be a historical display not an endorsement of religion...
How do you display religious teachings without implying an endorsement? Also, I think the influence the 10 commandments had on our country's history is open to much dispute, and interpretation. Like I said previously, this country was never founded to be a Christian nation, driven by Christian beliefs; it was founded on religious freedom.

kinda like how the Liberty Bell has an inscription from the Old Testament on it... yet is viewed as historical not religious...
I think the historical significance is in the bell itself, not the inscription. Perhaps, I'm way off base with that though. :rolleyes:
I suppose we should rid ourselves of the religious holidays... and the day off work...
Christmas
Easter
Thanksgiving...
Christmas has become more of a consumer holiday than anything else. How many people actually acknowledge, much less care about the reason behind it? For most, myself included, it's just a time off work, to spend with family and give and receive presents. Nothing more.

Easter, sure, I could care less; I don't practice it anyway. I don't expect to receive time off for Muslim holidays, because I'm not Muslim. Again though, it's a highly commercialized holiday, which has lost it's roots. Again, it's another weak argument.

Thanksgiving has very little religious significance. It's supposed to commemoratee the pilgrims giving thanks for a good year, religious freedom, harvest and new found friends. See the paradox there?

I believe I read that 90 something % of our founders writings have references to a creator...
I think you're incorrect. Madison, just to name one example, has a well-known, and documented, advocacy of a healthy distance between religion and government.

the building (supreme court) where this is being debated has a depiction of Moses holding the 10 commandments on the outside of it with at least one sculpture of big M and his 10 commandments.... the door leading into the SC has the ten commandments depicted on them...
The two representations of Moses which adorn the Supreme Court building, both present him in a context in which he is depicted as merely one of several historical examples of lawgivers, not as a religious figure.

This is why, for example, the Supreme Court rejected appeals to overturn a decision ordering the removal of a monument to the Ten Commandments from an Alabama courthouse. The monument did not present the Ten Commandments in a context other than as quotations of Biblical verse, and was therefore deemed an unconstitutional state endorsement of religion.
 

UberSkippy

a.k.a. FuckTheBullShit
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switch_scribe said:
That's why sodomy is still a crime in many states. And in some cases, they still enforce that one.

(and for those of you that don't know - legal definition of sodomy is anything other than a penis making contact with anything other than a vagina.)
Shit, in Idaho anything but missionary style with the guy on top is illegal. Sex outside of marriage can STILL get you thrown into jail in this dispshit potato fucking state.
 

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dolor ex fides
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junglizm said:
Again, the sodomy law isn't something that's enforced. You say it's still enforced in some places? Where?
http://www.dunndailyrecord.com/Main.asp?ArticleID=48265&SectionID=1

This is one instance of many. Mostly the sodomy law is used as an excuse to haul someone in on more damaging charges that can't be proven yet.

The country has progressed a lot since its founding. But the U.S. was not formed on religious freedom. Some people fought because they wanted religious freedom. Now, calling yourself a witch will not get you hanged by the neck. But the laws against witchcraft were not taken off the books in this country until the 1950's.

I do want to make something clear. From these posts it could be tough to tell my position on these issues. I am not in favor of having the ten commandments in a courtroom. If people say that they have historical meaning, then put them in a museum. And it pisses me off to no end that everyone gets Christmas and Easter off, but I have to work on Yom Kippur. There's a big difference between religious freedom and religious tolerance. Guess which one we have in this country?
 

Jung

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#16
switch_scribe said:
But the U.S. was not formed on religious freedom. Some people fought because they wanted religious freedom.
I don't see where you're getting that from. That was the whole reason the pilgrims fled religious persecution in England.

...

Later, even Ben Franklin talks about a "wall" between church and state. Like I said before, the religious beliefs of others was noted, but not the reason for laws. This country was never intended to be governed by christian doctrine. It was, in fact, founded upon religious freedom, it's just been bastardized since then.
But the laws against witchcraft were not taken off the books in this country until the 1950's.
I've never heard that before. I do think that the opposition against witches was more of fear of demons and evil, than an actual religious feud though.
If people say that they have historical meaning, then put them in a museum.
Exactly, I think it's a cop out; and excuse for religious groups to weasel their beliefs into places of authority.
And it pisses me off to no end that everyone gets Christmas and Easter off, but I have to work on Yom Kippur.
I do think it's extremely bias, and discriminatory, to only allow certain faiths to be recognized as holidays. That's why I said I wouldn't mind if I didn't receive Easter off; I'm not catholic, so I don't really expect to receive that time off to observe a ritual I don't partake in.
There's a big difference between religious freedom and religious tolerance.
Again I don't see where you're coming from. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't seem to be the case. In this country a person can choose to be of any faith they wish, thus we are allowed religious freedom. The tolerance part is more of a social trend, or what tends to be more widely accepted.
 

DanGeo23

Resident Conservative
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Do you seriously beLIEve that? Jesus. (no pun intended) A freshman western civ course would've taught you differently.
well I guess that frosh western civ class should stop rewriting history solely to support thier own anti-religion stances...
How do you display religious teachings without implying an endorsement? Also, I think the influence the 10 commandments had on our country's history is open to much dispute, and interpretation.
well this is where are disagreement is... I feel that the 10 commandments were a great influence on our history.. therefore I see the display of them as a historical referance... you don't feel that the commandments had an influence so it is purley religious in your mind...
Like I said previously, this country was never founded to be a Christian nation, driven by Christian beliefs; it was founded on religious freedom.
this country was founded almost entirely by Christians... that recognized that the US needed religious freedom.. freedom to worship whatever god one wishes... it wasn't founded "To Be" a Christian nation. but denying that Christians founded the country would make it easier to say that a 10 commandments display was an attempt to establish a national religion... and not a historical referance to the founding of law in this country...
I think the historical significance is in the bell itself, not the inscription. Perhaps, I'm way off base with that though.
and the historical significance of the 10 commandments (in these displays) is the message of the commandments... and thier use in establishing our laws... not an endorsement of the Bible or Christianity...
Christmas has become more of a consumer holiday than anything else
yet it (like our country) has its roots in Christianity... so it shouldn't be a day off... and recognized by the federal govt...
Easter, sure, .... Again, it's another weak argument.
roots in Christianity... its only a weak argument because its not a fed holiday.. yet the White House has Easter celebrations... and that is federal money going to endorse religion...
Thanksgiving has very little religious significance
Whom do you think they were giving thanks to.. ohhh yeah.. most people think they were giving thanx to the Indians... they were thanking God...
I think you're incorrect. Madison, just to name one example, has a well-known, and documented, advocacy of a healthy distance between religion and government.
Madison was definantly afraid of religion spreading too far... he was afraid that the US would become like the England they left... still most of our founding historical documents have referances to a creator...
merely one of several historical examples of lawgivers, not as a religious figure.
then why aren't his 10 commandments viewed merely as a historical example of law... not as a religious indoctrination..
There's a big difference between religious freedom and religious tolerance. Guess which one we have in this country?
we have religious freedom and selective religious INtolerance....