The Ten CommandmentsQUESTION: Why are the ten commandments an issue in US courts?ANSWER:
There has been an increase in court actions to remove the Ten Commandments from public displays across the country. The First Amendment has also been the focus of many debates and legal suits, particularly in this past half-century or so.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
This amendment is the basis for Ten Commandment issues to be taken into the courts. Its originators wrote our Constitution and its amendments because they demanded a guarantee of basic freedoms. Coming from tyranny, taxation, and religious persecution to this new nation, the framers debated and decided the Bill of Rights were a necessary addition. James Madison articulated this first article of freedom that has come to be known as the establishment clause.
Some feel the display of the Ten Commandments is establishing a particular religion; but many religions adhere to the guidelines of those commandments. It is unacceptable to steal, murder, commit adultery, etc. in many societies and cultures. The second point of the First Amendment concerns the government prohibiting the exercise of religion. This line is meant to provide freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. America is the most free and tolerant nation on earth but will not remain so if our Constitution is not upheld.
To display the Ten Commandments proclaims no specific god. America's people are free to look to anything they choose as their god. Twelve step programs declare their "higher power," Muslims declare "Allah," cults declare "Satan," and Judaism and Christianity declare the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as Humanists declare themselves to be gods. And under the U.S. Constitution, all are guaranteed the freedom to do so.
The laws of this nation set boundaries by which we might successfully behave, function, and produce with mutual respect and liberty. It is perhaps summarized best in a quote I once read: "The absence of absolute boundaries leads to social chaos…" And in Huxley's Brave New World he states that as some [good] freedoms diminish, other [undesirable] freedoms tend to increase. "And the dictator…will do well to encourage that freedom…it will help to reconcile his subjects to servitude." Without the example of the Ten Commandments upon which U.S. laws are based, its citizens are open to social chaos and inevitable dictatorship.
Thomas Jefferson feared something called oligarchy - this being that the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the laws already laid out, they would begin making laws. This is now illegally being done as renegade judges are changing laws to fit their personal rendition of the U.S. Constitution. However, when U.S. laws are challenged in this manner, we the people still have the right [and obligation] to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances."