Ten Commandments Redux
Posted on 06.29.05 by Danny Glover @ 4:57 pm

There is a lot of material out there to read for folks who want the scoop on the Supreme Court’s split decision on the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays on government property.

The Captain’s Quarters blog offers this analysis: The court’s “decision to split the baby follows the recent precedents based on personal whim and lazy thought on which previous courts have relied.” I love how Ed Morrisey, whom I will be joining in a Heritage Foundation roundtable on blogging come July 8, inserts a subtle and powerful biblical reference (about the baby King Solomon did not split) into a story about a “Bible-related” Supreme Court ruling. Very clever.

Here are more links for your reading pleasure:

Religious Leaders Respong to Rulings (Crosswalk.com)
James Dobson “sees very little in the seemingly contradictory decisions to be encouraged about.” D. James Kennedy says the court has amended the Constitution “to make it mean and say something at odds with the text of the Constitution and with American history.” Gary Bauer: The Constitution’s Establishment Clause aims “to keep the state out of the church so that faith might thrive.” Alabama Judge Roy Moore, who lost his job over a fight involving a Ten Commandments display, said the justices created a headache for themselves. Now “they have to judge every case by looking at each factual situation,” he said.

Thou Shalt Split Hairs (The Washington Post)
Columnist George Will examines the ruling in the context of the American judicial system’s efforts to dilute religious content or actions in the public sphere, be it Ten Commandments displays, Christmas creches, school prayer or chaplains in legislatures.

The ‘Thou Shalt’ Knot (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The newspaper’s editorial page takes the view that “the Supreme Court correctly discerned the difference between neutral displays aimed at honoring the rule of law and those that are placed in public places to promote a religious message.”

Rule of Thumb: Thou Shalt Aim for Clarity (Chicago Tribune)
Columnist Clarence Page blasts the court’s “hair-splitting decisions” from the perspective of a purist on the separation-of-church-and-state philosophy. He also says the rulings resolved nothing. “A new justice can tip this delicate balance either way, a possibility that only fuels the passions of the all-or-nothing extremists on both sides.”

Supreme Shalt Not Be So Inconsistent (Boston Herald)
The newspaper’s editorial staff says to the justices, “So guys (and gals), can you fill us in on why the display in the Kentucky courthouses is any different than the nice wall carving of Moses holding the tablets containing the Ten Commandments on the wall of the Supreme Court?”

The rulings sparked debate about existing or potential Ten Commandments displays in Georgia, San Francisco and Washington state. It also prompted some religious groups to announce plans for more monuments. And a day after the decisions, the Supreme Court declined to accept appeals of two Ohio rulings on Ten Commandments displays, thus leaving in place prohibitions in those cases.


Filed under: Culture and Government and Religion
Comments: None

The Court’s Command On Ten Commandments
Posted on 06.27.05 by Danny Glover @ 4:53 pm

It is illegal for U.S. courts to display the Ten Commandments inside their courthouses. So said the U.S. Supreme Court today in a 5-4 decision on two exhibits in Kentucky. With Justice Sandra Day O’Connor providing the swing vote, the high court said such displays violate the separation between church and state by promoting a religious message.

While the justices concluded that the two specific displays are illegal, they also held that such displays could be constitutional if they are neutral about the Ten Commandments themselves and if their purpose is to address the role of the biblical commandments in legal history.

You can read the decision at the Supreme Court’s website. Here is an AP story.

UPDATE: A second ruling upheld the legality of Ten Commandments displays on government land. That decision, also decided on a 5-4 vote, involves a stone monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol.


Filed under: Culture and Government and News & Politics and Religion
Comments: 1 Comment

The Problem With Nostalgic Worship
Posted on 06.11.05 by Danny Glover @ 4:49 pm

The lengths that churches will go to in order to attract attention never cease to amaze me. The latest example I’ve found is a church of Christ in Alabama that is holding a gospel meeting in a tent to celebrate the congregation’s 80th anniversary.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with worshiping in a tent. People used to do it all the time — and no doubt still do in some parts of the world, if not the United States. But there is something wrong with the motives behind the tent meeting in Alabama.

First of all, it’s a gimmick. The tent, as well as the ice cream supper after Sunday evening service and the invitation for people to dress in vintage clothing, is designed not to help people focus on the gospel (the obvious aim of a “gospel” meeting) but to reflect upon the ways of the past. “We just want them to have this experience,” one church member said. Second, the whole service is a self-congratulatory pat on the back to the congregation because it has existed for 80 years. That is a prideful reason to hold a gospel meeting.

Worshiping “in spirit and in truth” has nothing to do with nostalgia or satisfying the stomach with sweets; it has everything to do with setting our minds on spiritual matters and feeding our souls with the bread of life and living water. The brethren in Alabama would be better served by meeting where they always do and taking a good, close look at how far they have strayed from that type of service over the past 80 years.


Filed under: Religion
Comments: None

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