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In Focus Discuss For Educators Resources
God and Country - 1.27.04
DISCUSS: RELIGION AND THE LAW


God in America
Religion and the Law
The Politics of God



Comments are also viewable in our Featured Responses area. (This feature requires Flash 6.)

"A monument to the Ten Commandments should be allowed to stand in a state courthouse."
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Opinions
Total # of Responses: 642 - 2/7/04
51% 3% 1% 3% 41%

We have received feedback on this issue from people all across America. Review the graph to the left for a quick snapshot of the responses received to date, or read the responses below.

Marisa, CA Strongly Disagree

... not in the state ...


February 07,2004

any religious monuments belong in a religious building, not in the state courthouse

David Whit, TN Strongly Disagree

... government cannot promote ...


February 05,2004

This display clearly promoted a particular version of religion supported by the fact that the commandments is primarily a Christian document puportedly carved in stone by a reported supernatural creator. The government cannot promote or establish a religious brand of a belief system. Anyone who believes that this tablet was conceived by a mythical figure would have no problem believing in Mother Goose, tooth fairy, astrology and any other form of superstition. Our founders had the intelligence and forethought to prevent this inappropriate display of laws from "on high". I think that an ethical system based on whether the effects of inappropriate behaviors negatively impacts the person, others, or the planet is a more dynamic system of laws. For example, a German not sympathetic to the Nazis who is hiding a jew in his basement would be permitted to lie to protect the jew so that his life would be spared. My point is that since the commandments is static, it is insufficient to appropriately apply the 10 to present day culture. Personally, I would feel more safe and secure if reason were applied to specific situations. Is this what separates our nation from the dead, insensative laws based on the commandments. I also would refect to any taxs imposed on the local citizens to help pay for a public display promoting any brand of religion. This amounts to a religious tax imposed on citizens without proper representation. Would a Muslim, American Indian, Jew, Hindu, atheist, humanist that makes up better than 10% of the population feel comfortable entering this courhouse.

David Whit, TN Disagree

... the founders thoughts ...


February 05,2004

The following excerpts reflect the founders thoughts on the separation of church and state.
All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the
will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be
rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal
rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be
oppression. (Thomas Jefferson, "First Inaugural Address," March 4,
1801; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New
Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 364.)

Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of
oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority
of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be
apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of
its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere
instrument of the major number of the constituents. (James Madison to
Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788; from Michael Kammen, The Origins
of the American Constitution: A Documentary History, 1986, pp.
369-370. )

Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the
consciences of men from oppression, it is certainly the duty of
Rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but according to
their stations, to prevent it in others. (George Washington, letter
to the Religious Society called the Quakers, September 28, 1789. From
Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American
Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 500.)

When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when
it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it
so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil
Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. (Benjamin
Franklin, 1706-1790, American statesman, diplomat, scientist, and
printer, from a letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780)

As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government
to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no
other business government has to do therewith. (Thomas Paine, Common
Sense, 1776.)

It behoves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to
resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by
change of circumstances, become his own. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to
Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803. From Daniel B. Baker, ed., Political
Quotations, Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1990, p. 189.)

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention [in 1787] took ...
only two modest steps with respect to religion, both of these being
designed to avert problems, not raise them. First, the delegates
agreed that "no religious test" should ever be required of federal
officeholders, and, second, that one could "affirm" rather than
"swear" in taking the oath of office--a clear concession to the
tender consciences of Quakers. Other than that, however, the
Constitution was totally silent on the subject of religion: no
national church, of course, but no national affirmations of faith,
either, not even those of the most generalized sort. (Edwin S.
Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San
Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 43.)

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first
example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature;
and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of
artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider
this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the
formation of the American governments is at present little known or
regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an
object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons
employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any
degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon
ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will
forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely
by the use of reason and the senses.... (John Adams, "A Defence of
the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America"
[1787-1788]; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The
Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York:
George Braziller, 1965, p. 258.)

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish
Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with
the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all
other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to
contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one
establishment may force him to conform to any other establishme

Edward, NC Strongly Disagree

... government should not have the right ...


February 05,2004

Absolutely not.
The government should not have the right to preach religion.
I am as moral as anyone else in this country and I do not believe in any gods.
I am more moral than those who would force their religious on others or force people to finance a religious propaganda.

Barbara Bu, NC Disagree

... it is offensive to some ...


February 05,2004

Because it is offensive to some. Surely the judge can have the ten commandments displayed in his office for himself without needing to proclaim to all visitors that his is the "worthwhile" belief.

Kathryn, SC Strongly Agree

... the holy standard ...


February 05,2004

Our country was founded on the fact that God is creator and ruler ~ as well as gracious provider of all things ~ therefore, we should be consistently reminded of his holy laws, and encouraged to strive toward reaching those levels in our daily lives.
God is the holy standard ~ and the government is merely the appointed guardian of God's commandemnts i.e. 'thou shalt not steal' ~ 'thou shalt not commit murder'. A world without God's standards would be a world of total chaos! We need God's direction in our lives!

Sophia Man, MA Strongly Disagree

... not have to be marketed ...


February 03,2004

Separation of church and state should be both in word, acts and deeds. If you're a truly religious person, god should be inside you and not have to be marketed on the interior or exterior of every public space.

Chey, IL Strongly Agree

... Judge Moore has every right ...


February 02,2004

Judge Moore has every right within the Constitution to have the 10 Commandmants within his Court House and in His Court Room
We should also leave the "Under God" in our Pledge of Allegence
Same Sex marriages is completly wrong and is a Mockery of what the Bible which is an inspired Work from God says " It is an abomination unto the Lord"

C.w. Reeve, TX Strongly Agree

... HOW DID COURT DETERMINE THE RELIGION? ...


February 02,2004

QUESTIONS FOR ALL WHO DISAGREE TO PUBLIC DISPLAY OF SO-CALLED RELIGIOUS OBJECTS THAT MAY OFFEND THE CONSCIENCE.
DOES THE SUPREME COURT HAVE THE CONSTITUTIIONAL AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF TAXTION (PUBLIC FUNDS) AS A MEANS OF SUPPORT FOR ONE RELIGION AS OPPOSED TO OTHERS? IF COURT'S RULING SUPPORTS A SECULAR PURPOSE AND INTENT FOR PUBLIC FUNDS THE RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE OF NO GOD AND NO BIBLE, HOW CAN THIS BE A GOVERNMENTAL POSITON OF NEUTRALITY IN THE REALM OF EQUAL RELIGIOUS LIBERTY? IS NOT THAT FORM OF BELIEF NOT JUST THE FLIP SIDE OF THE COIN OF THE BELIEF IN GOD AND BIBLE? HOW DID THE COURT IDENTIFY THE PUBLIC FUNDS AS REPRESENTATIVE OF CITIZENS OF A CERTAIN RELIGIOUS NATURE. WHEN RULING THAT THOSE PUBLIC FUNDS SENT BY FEDERAL OR STATE POWER TO SUPPORT THE PUBLIC INSTITUTES WERE OF A CERTAIN RELIGIOUS NATURE TO EXTEND A CERTAIN RELIGION, HOW DID COURT DETERMINE THE RELIGION?

Paul, CA Strongly Disagree

... concepts primitive and offensive ...


February 02,2004

Displaying the 10 Commandments in a court of law is clearly religious favoritism toward Christians. How can a non Christian expect to get a fair trail by a judge who brings his religious preferences so overtly into the courtroom? How would ex Judge Moore feel about going into a trial where the Pillars of Islam were posted on the courtroom? This is an affront to the fairness of law, to the separation of church and state and to the intent of the founding fathers of our country. Ex Judge Moore was rightfully booted out of office by his disdainful refusal to remove the stones, especially after order by the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the 10 Commandments as currently written, are a whitewashed, sanitized version of the actual commandments presented in the Bible. Read Exodus 20 for the original commandments. Conveniently omitted are the parts like "for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me." Why aren't the original commandments posted in the courtroom? Because modern civilization finds these concepts primitive and offensive. It seems most Christians have a vague and shallow understanding of the orgins of the faith they profess.

Jay, CA Strongly Disagree

... Justice is supposed to be blind. ...


February 02,2004

The United States of America is a nation peopled predominantly by people of Christian faiths, but it is not a Christian nation. I could agree with the placement of the 10 Commandments if they were not a religious icon so strongly identified with Christianity. I believe that public buildings should remain free of icons. Similarly, I think that it would be inappropriate to place other religious icons such as a cross, a crescent, or a Buddha in any public building. This does not mean that we should leave our ethos behind when we enter these buildings to conduct whatever business we have therein. Our collective ethos must be respected, no matter what the source--Christian or non-Christian. To allow Christians to "mark" "their" territory with their icons runs afoul of decency and the Constitution. Justice is supposed to be blind.

Fred, GA Strongly Agree

... politicians have realized ...


February 01,2004

Whose Ten Commandments should we accept? The Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish versions, or mine?

Why is it that at the same time churches are emptying, the politicians are preaching? The corporate politicians have realized that religion is indeed the opium of the masses, and these corrupt drug lords are using it to maintain their power as they exploit our nation.

Religious people need to wake up, see through the pandering, and stop letting the least moral people manipulate them.

Dick, CT Strongly Disagree

... must be kept separate ...


February 01,2004

Church and state must be kept separate

Tom, MD Strongly Agree

... facts of freedom are denied ...


February 01,2004

There is an equal religious fervor presented today for and against this. Ignorance and hypocrisy fuel this as a contentious debate. The ignorant or malicious and hypocritical created it. God forgive us if the absence of christian love in expression continues it. The free expression of speech and practice of all religions not inflicting physical harm will no longer be possible when historical facts of freedom are denied. Our freedoms are based on the foundations of law others gave us. Our foundations are eroding by redefinition of words. What will Gumbel, you and I give to stand upon as foundations? Will it last 228 plus years?

Renee, GA Strongly Agree

... everything turns into chaos ...


February 01,2004

Where did our law come from? Our judicial system is based on very law God created thousands of years ago. It is a crime to...murder, lie (purgery), you can divorce if you find your spouse committing adultry, steal, etc. What is it that everyone is afraid of? We all agree that the 10 things listed on the ten commandments is wrong. Our laws are based on these commandments, our forefathers used these beliefs to create our great country. Everytime we try and succeed in taking out GOD of our schools, governments, etc everything turns into chaos. Has no one noticed this?

Leah, CA Strongly Agree

... commandments are just and good ...


February 01,2004

The minority that has access to the media says if I believe in God, I'm weak. If I believe in the ten commandments, I'm close minded. Well, now our society with this thinking, saves trees and kills human babies (what those progressive folk call "fetus")in the womb. I think I'll continue believing in God, whose commandments are just and good... for us ALL. It is His truths that protect us, not harm us. How can that be offensive?

Lauree, CA Strongly Agree

... a small faction of this society can remove the ten ...


February 01,2004

I am saddened that our society while claiming to be evolving is deteroriating to the point a small faction of this society can remove the ten commandments from public view, prayer from schools, etc. I'm offended by not having the ten commandments displayed or prayer in schools... where are my rights?

Jim, TX Strongly Disagree

... Government-supported monuments like this take us a ...


January 31,2004

Yes, people came here to worship how they wanted. But don't forget they left their homelands because religiously oppressive governments and societies weren't allowing freedom of worship. That's what our founders wanted to avoid in this country. Government-supported monuments like this take us a step closer to such oppression.

Laura, OK Strongly Agree

... The Ten Commandments are not about forcing ones re ...


January 31,2004

C.S. Lewis wrote a book, THE ABOLITION OF MAN, which has keen insights into this topic. The Ten Commandments are not about forcing ones religion on others, it is about helping create the best possible society for others.

Christina, CA Strongly Disagree

... No one pays attention ...


January 31,2004

Let's be reasonable. No one pays attention to the 10 commandments. Who goes around super-cautious on every action or word they speak that defies the 10 commandments?

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