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June 27, 2005

Comments

Michael

Two nits: First, the Court split on the question of the Decalogue. It's OK on government property as long as there's secular stuff around, but not OK in courthouses.

Second, the case you want to cite is Lemon v. Kurtzman, and there were two of them. If memory serves, the one with the three-pronged Establishment Clause test is the second one, and that's from 1972.

Cheryl

Actually it was not the presence of secular displays so much as it was the intention behind the display. If the display is historical in context and deals with religion from a neutral perspective, that is allowable. If the display was installed with the intention of promoting religion, it is forbidden. The context is more about why the display was put up than what it is surrounded by. In the case that was shot down, the people responsible for the display made it clear that their intention was to promote christianity and that was enough to taint the display regardless of any secular window dressing that might have been applied rectroactively.

dmeyers

"Actually it was not the presence of secular displays so much as it was the intention behind the display"

HUH? So according to Cheryl, the SCOTUS not only rules on the Constitutionality of laws it is ruling on peoples intent... WOW, now that is scary. So according to Cheryl, the Texas State Courthouse exhibit did not have the intent of promoting religion, but if the state legislature of Utah errected the EXACT SAME DISPLAY AS TEXAS but indicated they were promoting religion the Ten Commandments would have been banned. Again, HUH?

So answer me this. What Religion is the Ten Commandments establishing? Christianity? Judism? Islam?

So is there a difference between acknowledging religion as opposed to acknowledging A religion?

Michael

So is there a difference between acknowledging religion as opposed to acknowledging A religion?

Yes, there is. And both are unconstitutional. The state may not establish any particular religion (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Wicca, Santeria, you name it). But neither may it privilege religion as a whole over non-religion.

To quote the three-pronged Lemon test from the 1971 Lemon I case that Michael referenced in abstract form above:

"First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion" (403 U.S. 602, 612-613, internal quotation marks and citations omitted, my emphasis).

Scott

Look, just because you say you're just acknowledging religion and not having the state endorse it doesn't make it true. For example - remember the "under God" controversy? Historically ignorant conservatives countered with, "Well, if you hate the word God so much, why don't you give me all your money with 'In God We Trust' on it." This proves 3 things. 1) Conservatives are all about money. 2) people now assume that money has to say "In God We Trust", even though when it was put on all paper money in 1956, it was the wimpy liberals that allowed it, scared that the McCarthyites would rout them all. 3) This is only a small battle in the long-standing, pervasive, hateful war the religiots are waging against a diverse America.
And dmeyers, when you ask what religion the 10 Commandments represents, it is Christianity. Islam does not have 10 commandments. Judaism has 613. And even when you're referring to the 10 Christian commandments, Judaism refers to these as the "ten statements, made up of 14 or 15 distinct commandments. I hope that answered your question. But of course, you knew that already, since you've studied the issue for more than the 5 seconds it took for you to read the headline.

Cheryl

HUH? So according to Cheryl, the SCOTUS not only rules on the Constitutionality of laws it is ruling on peoples intent... WOW, now that is scary.

No, that was according to an NPR commentator. You know, NPR is the news organization at the bottom of the list on those embarassing charts in that long PDF I linked to on the Rove posting. The charts show how people like you who focus on right-wing media are much more likely to have misconceptions (demonstrable, proven mistaken beliefs) about world events. In other words, cognitive distortions.

The key to understanding the taint is not in what is in the people's minds, though it is understandable how you would read 'thought police' into everything you disagree with. The point rather was that when a person goes before a judge in a court of law where the judge has pasted his religion all over the wall and publicly, vocifereously expressed his unflinching intention to inflict religion on the people who find themselves pleading cases or standing trial in his court room, he is breaking the law.

From that point forward, no amount of retraction will remove the stigma. He can beg forgiveness until he is blue in the face, but until he takes his religion off his public sleeve and off his goddamned courtroom wall no one is ever going to feel like they are being judged impartially. Rather they will feel judged and condemned on the basis of their infidelity to Christ rather than on the basis of their actual guilt.

Really, dmeyers, your shallowness is quite disgusting.

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