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Thou Shalt Not Trample On The Constitution

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Thou Shalt not Trample on the Constitution.

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 right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This is the first amendment to the Constitution. In essence this states that the government will not become involved or sponsor any religion. There is a reason our founding fathers added this amendment to the Constitution. Any time a government becomes involved with religion or visa versa, Disaster happens. If you want evidence of this look at the history of Europe for the past 700 years and see what chaos has arisen when religion and the state intertwine. Yet we do not seem to be learning from the past.

Congress on June 17, 1999, passed a law that slaps the First Amendment in the face. That law allowed for the states to choose to post the Ten Commandments in public schools and other government buildings. The law that was proposed by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), Rep. Robert Alderholt (R-Al), and Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). The bill was created in response to the Columbine shootings that took place April 20, 1999. The bill was swept through the house at a time when the country was in shock over the shootings. There were several reasons why the house felt the need to pass such a bill. Rep. Alderhold believed that it is an important step to promote morality, and an end of children killing children. (Leavitt) Rep. Hyde believes that the amendment should "slow the flood of toxic waste into the minds of our children." (Webster) Rep. Barr went as far to say that if "Columbine had the Ten Commandments posted that the massacre of April 20th would not have occurred."(Webster) These are the arguments for the Ten Commandments to be posted in public schools. These are the best reasons our elected representatives could come up with to slap the First Amendment in the face. Is it really as Rep. Alderholt said "We have the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion"? (Leavitt) According to the Supreme Court The honorable Alderholt is wrong. In 1980 the Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law, which required all classrooms to post a copy of the Decalogue, was unconstitutional.

The oppositions' arguments against this law are enormous. One major argument is which set of commandments do you use? Do you use the Catholic, Jewish, or Protestant versions? Is there one version better than the others? Is it thou shalt not kill or is that thou shalt not murder? (Boston) Does that include self defense? What constitutes a graven image? These are just some of the questions brought up by those opposed to the bill. If the government puts up the Ten Commandments will they also post the Five Pillars of Islam, The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the Wiccan Rede and the Affirmation of Humanism? (Boston) The government should not play favorites with religion. Religion does not need the governments help to promote the Ten Commandments. For a few thousand years, the leaders of Judaism and Christianity have been doing a pretty good job of getting the word out to the people. Four of the Ten Commandments are religious in nature. People have fought and died because they disagreed over what constitutes a "false god" or over the meaning of the ban on worshipping a "graven image." Does this mean that believers of Islam and Hinduism should be punished because they worship a different god then what is on a piece of paper? What day is the Sabbath Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? Religious leaders differ on these questions. They not government bureaucrats are best suited to interpret the Commandments. No matter which way one looks at it, posting a version of the Ten Commandments would exclude millions of Americans who follow different religions, or none at all, and many of them would be upset to stare at someone else's beliefs every day in a public school.

Other arguments against posting the Ten Commandments are the moral implications of forcing ones religion on another? America is religiously diverse. For starters there are 2,000 different religions, traditions, denominations, and sects in the United States. Spreading the word of God is one thing. If you want to show others how great you love is for god, you have the right to pass out as many pamphlets on the street corner as you wish and give speeches and sermons until your hoarse. However you aren't allowed to do so on public school grounds.(Leavitt) It is wrong to force your religion on others. Our fore fathers knew this from experience which is why the first amendment was added to the constitution.

A third argument is raised. After the Stone v. Graham decision when the Supreme Court struck down the Kentucky law that required schools to post the Ten Commandments. Lower federal courts have struck down the display of the Decalogue at government buildings as well as schools. Public schools who post the Decalogue are begging for a lawsuit that they are almost certain to lose.(Boston) Who will ultimately pay for that lawsuit. The tax payers will with time and money. The end result will be the Decalogue will be removed and we will be back at square one only we will have wasted our time and money.

There are very few arguments for posting the Ten Commandments. Most of the arguments are like the ones the honorable representatives have stated. Others believe this will bring back to society what it has been missing. The posting of the Ten Commandments will be the key to having a peaceful society.(Associated Press) The "first step" toward instilling moral values in children.(Associated Press) as Rep. Alderholt (R-Al) "I understand that simply posting the Ten Commandments will not instantly change the moral character of our nation, however it is an important step to promote morality, and an end of children killing children."(Associated Press) This is all the argument there is for the posting of the Ten Commandments. A public school is not a place of religion. But religion has a constitutional place in the public schools. This is an argument by the state Attorney General of South



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