Sunday, April 30, 2006

Do You Feel the Urge to Convert?

The ACLU is going to court.

The organization has brought a lawsuit on behalf of a resident of Haskell County, Oklahoma demanding that the large stone tablet setting forth the Ten Commandments which was placed in front of the County Courthouse be removed. As usual, the ACLU claims this display violates the 1st Amendment which prohibits Congress from making any "law respecting an establishment of religion...."

And if the past is any guide, the ACLU will likely win.

But why is that? What religion exactly does this display purport to establish? We all know that that the 10 Commandments were given to Moses following the Israelites exodus from Egypt. Does this mean that Haskell County is attempting to convert its populace to Judaism? I suspect not.

We also know that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who deferred to Jewish teachings, adding the Golden Rule to the 10 Commandments. Does the ACLU conclude that because Jesus was a Rabbi that somehow the display of 10 Commandments represents an effort to convert the citizens of Haskell County to Christianity since Jesus certainly approved of and taught the 10 Commandments to his disciples? Doubtful.

For that matter, because Muslims claim that Mohammed can claim kinship to Ismael, Abraham's second-born son, is this display some underhanded effort by the leaders of Haskell County to promote Islam in America's heartland? Hmmm...

In all seriousness, what religion is alleged to have been established by this monument to the 10 Commandments? As a Catholic, I certainly do not feel compelled to convert to Judaism after viewing a monument to the 10 Commandments, nor do I feel any strange urge to become a Baptist, a Methodist, or a Muslim. If the Constitution is going to be called upon to overturn an otherwise valid legislative enactment, shouldn't the constitutional harm that would otherwise result be detailed with particularity? Is it too much to ask for the ACLU to at least identify the religion that is supposedly being established by the good folks of Haskell County?

I suspect the ACLU is once again simply demonstrating its opposition to all things religious. That no reasonable person would perceive this display as an effort to establish a religion is apparently of no importance. Instead, the mere fact that these Commandments are rooted in religion is enough to prohibit them from public display. And of course, we must also conveniently forget the critical role that these Commandments had in the development of Western Civilization and the foundation of the very laws that the ACLU now seeks to use to remove them from the public discourse. Apparently, the ACLU is of the opinion that respect for individual rights first came to the fore with the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Who would guess that they owe their existence to the 10 Commandments that are now sought to be banned....

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