Third Party & Independents Archives

In God We, ahh... Well, Most of us... Trust

There’s a First Amendment battle brewing, and it involves Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, The U.S. Supreme court, and a granite monument depicting the Ten Commandments, in front of a courthouse. The scene is reminiscent of a movie in which Charlton Heston, in a dingy robe and sandals and sporting a white beard, screamed that those monkey people should keep their damn dirty hands off his stone tablets, or something to that effect (in my version Heston then busts out an Uzi and goes all NRA on the primates). In the world of Justice Moore, he too is yelling at the monkeys, and waving his Bible high above himself in order to smite down the unbelievers who would dare ask him to remove his precious rock.

America's roots can be traced back a through a history and culture that has been predominantly Christian. And while some of that history now seems exceptionally foul (the Salem witch trials and small-scale persecutions), for the most part religion has been beneficial to the order and civility of this country. My own religious abdication aside, I think the rest of you should be free to worship however you want. You're free to walk down the sidewalk with Jesus on a crucifix or put His face on a box of Wheaties, it honestly would not offend me or lead me to convert.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", that's the exact wording our founding fathers used. It was meant to keep one religion from dominating the government over the others, such as the Church of England (the official church). The pilgrims, mostly Protestants, fled from the religious persecution of England in order to practise their religious beliefs more freely (which I've heard did not involve stone monuments). Fast forward a bit, and that was the basis for that first line of the First Amendment. Those document crafters were also highly religious men (except Jefferson, who was a fraudulent Christian, but don't mind him).

In the spirit of the First Amendment, any religious groups who stepped forward should have equal space on the courthouse lawn. Instead of ordering Justice Roy Moore to remove the monument, they should have asked the community to contribute more monuments, and displayed them, without prejudice. Be as it may, the prevailing theme of freedom of religion in these times is that we have a freedom from religion. As a firm believer of the Constitution and all that contains, we should allow the Honorable Moore to keep his silly monument; And perhaps someone will put a golden calf beside it.

Now what is wrong, and rather annoying, is the circumstances under which the monument was placed: Justice Moore had the bohemoth surreptitiously plopped down in the middle of one night, as though a seed of religion had sprouted from the ground on its own. It would have been more palatable if the state legislature had voted to allow religious artifacts to be displayed on its property rather than to see it circumscribed in such a manner. For this, the Justice should be punished.

Posted by Stephen VanDyke at August 22, 2003 1:42 AM