Joshua 1:8 (New Living Translation)
8 “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.”
The Supreme Court made two more important rulings today. The issue at hand in both cases was the Ten Commandments.
In the first, by a five to four vote, the justices ruled that McCreary County, Kentucky could not display the Ten Commandments because the display would, in their considered opinion, violate the establishment clause to the U.S. Constitution. The reasoning of the majority seemed to me to be extremely twisted to say the least. Read what they had to say and determine for yourself:
“However, the Biblical laws could be displayed in an historical context, as they are in a frieze in the Supreme Court building. Notably, the first four commandments, which have to do with honoring God and the Sabbath, were obscured by the artist who designed the frieze.”
“The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the ‘First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,’” Justice David H. Souter wrote in the majority opinion, citing previous court rulings.”
Curious, eh? I think what it means is that as long as they don’t attribute authorship to God and the first four are obscured from direct public view it would be alright. I spent the better part of this day searching the web for information of copyrights and attribution for images I’m going to be using on this blog. I believe it’s really important to credit others for the work they’ve done. The creative process is difficult enough without having someone who had little or nothing to do with the inspiration and perspiration necessary to the output of the creator steal the work or hide it from public view. I think that’s the essence of what the court has done today.
I think it also means that the Court’s interpretation of the establishment clause is to be interpreted that religion, in any form, is okay, as long as it doesn’t mean anything. The second ruling, which seems to be favorable to religion, says as much:
“Rehnquist also said that the statue's placement on the grounds among secular monuments was “passive,” rather than confrontational. Rehnquist was joined in his opinion by Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas.”
Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!
The justices may say they believe that religion has a vital role in American life, but the message they are sending is clear. It’s the same one that Pharaoh offered to Moses and the Children of Israel:
Exodus 8:28 (New Living Translation)
28 “All right, go ahead,” Pharaoh replied. “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the wilderness. But don't go too far away. Now hurry, and pray for me.”
Translated into Kansas “plains - speak” it means this – “Don’t get too carried away with this religion thing!” “Don’t go too far with it!” “Don’t let it impact the standards by which a society should live!”
The tragedy of these cases, and the Court’s adversarial relationship with religion, is that their grand strategy has succeeded. In the 2003 piece I cited in my introduction, syndicated by the Seattle Post Intelligence, David Horsey expressed visually what I’m seeing as I survey the American landscape today. We Americans are quickly becoming Biblically illiterate.
I guess that my question, like the question Antonin Scalia asked today in his dissent to the McCreary County decision is moot:
“Listing the various ways in which higher beings are invoked in public life — from “so help me God” in inaugural oaths to the prayer that opens the Supreme Court's sessions — Scalia asked, “With all of this reality (and much more) staring it in the face, how can the court possibly assert that ‘the First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality’ [on religion]?”
What the court in essence did today was to further degrade the viability of religion in America. Professing to protect everyone’s freedom, they continued a long torturous national march to nihilism and strip us of the most valuable possession we have – our faith!
What can I possibly say in response? Thanks for nothing!