Monday, June 27, 2005

Thank God

Split rulings on Ten Commandments displays... Supreme Court: Courthouse exhibits crossed line, but outdoor tablet OK

Bottom line: There is no single agreed-upon version of the Ten Commandments, which means that any government-sponsored Commandments display amounts to government preference of some faiths over others.

TNR continues: "The first three Commandments are: (I.) I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me. (II.) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. (III.) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. How do these words fit the establishment clause? Almost half of the world's population, including some Americans (yes, an admittedly small minority), do not believe in "God" or celebrate Sabbath. They are Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians, Taoists, Shintoists, agnostics, atheists, and adherents of a variety of animistic faiths.

Here's a thought experiment. Pretend that instead of the Ten Commandments, we were talking about the public display of Buddhism's Four Noble Truths (all is suffering, suffering is caused by desire, suffering can cease with elimination of desire, ending desire requires following the Eightfold Path) or Islam's Five Pillars of Faith (beginning with "There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet")? "

Still in favor of putting religious words on courthouse walls?