The Supreme Court is neither touting nor mandating the use of the 10 Commandments, but rather tipping its hat to the roots of the judicial system in America.
There were two separate cases with two separate rulings. One said the display was constitutional one said it was not.
Leaving the 10 Commandments in the Supreme Court is more showing defrance than endorsing any specific "God".
The debate is not about the display of the 10 commandments in the Supreme Court but the ones in Kentucky and Texas. Even so I think it is important that you are aware that the display in the USSC..I have seen it with my own eyes..it is an image of moses with confucius and solon.
There are other depictions or displays of historic developments of law..The trial from the Illiad, a Roman practor at work, the publishing of Corpus Juris, King John signing the Magna Carta. Need me to go on?...there are more
Obviously the Supreme Court..unlike yourself..acknowledges that our nation had the foresight and the advantage to pull our laws and our ideals from many sources..not just Christian.
Then again this is the essence of pluralism...not something you appear too keen on...I am. I think this is where you an I begin our disagreements.
Bucket-- intent is not the issue. The first amendment and what it says is the issue. Intent may play a role in the interpretation of the first amendment, but not in the way that Court is applying it.
And I think it absolutely is about intent or purpose..the Lemon test is just that a test for intention.
1. The government's action must have a legitimate secular purpose;
2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive entanglement" of the government and religion.
If the intention of a entanglement of state and church is not acceptable under the Establishment Clause then it is not constitutional. What passes for acceptable or unacceptable is decided on by the justices themselves. The constitution gives no guidance on this issue or on what an establishment of religion is.
The test for what amounts to an "establishment of religion" (the Lemon test) is what I question here. This particular test has only been used since the mid-20th century and it has produced incoherent and inconsistent results.
This portrayal of the Lemon Test as some new fangled thing..worrisome to the more traditional methods is deceptive. The USSC hasn't really been actively ruling on cases involving the establishment clause until the mid-20th century. Also the lemon test is only one method used to help the Judges interpret what this clause's intention is. They have used what they call coercion, endorsement and neutrality tests along with historical writings and past writings or comments of the courts. Do you question these tools of deduction or interpretation too?
No such prohibition is found in the actual text of the first amendment. It says simply that that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. This clause was originally understood (at least until a few decades ago) to mean that no one denomination could be preferred over another. It makes no mention whatsoever of any wall between church and state. More importantly, it says nothing of the need to prohibit government from acknowledging religion generally over non religion. In short, the test that the Court sets forth in this opinion is a radical departure from the language of the Constitution.
And what changed the application or the court's involvement regarding state entanglement with religion? The 14th amend perhaps? I mean if you want to fully follow your argument through based on what the constitution says or doesn't say it also did not recognize a central or federal government with as much power or control over these kinds of issues in Kentucky or Texas. And before you tell me this too has little to do with the Kentucky case look to Thomas' dissent. I think it is a much more powerful argument then all this whinging about the lemon law.
I think neutrality is important. I don't feel this is a misinterpretation but rather an application of the establishment clause. The whole purpose or need for the court to rule on matters such as these is to help prevent mob rule or the demise of the practice of pluralism. I know it is difficult but I think it is something worthwhile..I wish for the government to remain as neutral as possible in regards to religion and I feel the importance of this neutrality in public realms like, courthouses and schools is vital to our society's progress.
Common practices in government do not support such a prohibition. Our money states: In God we Trust; the Military has a chaplain; Court sessions often times begin with a prayer; the President's oath of office includes the phrase "so help me God". etc, etc etc. Surely if our first amendment requires government neutrality neutrality between ... religion and nonreligion ... all of these practices would be violative of the first amendment.
Yes but many of these common practices do have support for prohibition. Perhaps one day some or many or all will be found unconstitutional.
Finally, the Court itself has not consistently applied such a prohibition, even post Lemon. Since this prohibition was first articulated the Court has held:
- that government may relieve churches from the obligation to pay property taxes;
Wouldn't requiring churches to pay property tax basically amount to an application or establishment of law (tax law) on religious institutions? Wouldn't this requirement to pay taxes, and disclose financial records, receive or pay tax returns etc. also result in an entanglement of church and state? Perhaps even it could be said that church was subsidizing the state and as a result neutrality was impossible.
that students may absent themselves from public school to take religious classes;
Wouldn't the state punishing or disallowing this be against the free exercise clause of the 1st amend? or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
that religious organizations may be exempt from generally applicable prohibitions of religious discrimination.
Again by having the state enforce discrimination laws we would be asking for the state to enforce or establish laws on religion and we would not be allowing freedom of exercise of one's religion.
So I guess you and I do agree on something. I don't feel neutrality to religion is entirely cross the board at all times possible...I am not one for absolutism. I think at some times we have to give special considerations or privileges to religious bodies or views in order to appear more neutral. Perception is everything
It is my belief that the law is or should attempt to uphold all people as equals and often times that means it must give added protection or less consideration.
I have to dismantle my computer...new flooring going in down in my office. I might not be around until next weekend. My apologies. I am sure others would enjoy your dismantling of my argument with or without me.