The Five Commandments

The whole separation of church and state thing seems to be giving the Supreme Court a headache. So what do they do? Split the difference. God is ok here, but not there. Fine on our coin, our pledge of allegiance and our presidential oath of office, but not on our school or courthouse walls. The court ruled today that a statue that displays the Ten Commandments on state Capitol grounds is fine, but framed copies inside the courthouse are too much. The difference, according to the Justices, is the intent behind the display. This actually makes sense, since the statue was one among many, while the courthouse display contained just the commandments. But while today's rulings are justifiable in legal and ethical terms, they certainly don't provide any long term clarity. Is there a war brewing between the Christians and the non-believers? Justice Antonin Scalia seems to think so, reading his dissent from the bench: "Today decision ratchets up this courts hostility to religion," he said. However the Christian Science Monitor, applauded the Court's rulings as "wise and balanced." They quote the unexpectedly on-point conservative former Senator John Danforth who wrote in the New York Times: "efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith."

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