April 3, 2007

Let's take a look at that 10 Commandments monument.

Strolling around the grounds of the Texas Capitol, I looked for the Ten Commandments monument, the one that was the subject of the Supreme Court case -- Van Orden -- two years ago. Here it is:

Ten Commandments monument

Here's how Chief Justice Rehnquist, joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy, described the setting:
The 22 acres surrounding the Texas State Capitol contain 17 monuments and 21 historical markers commemorating the “people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity.” Tex. H. Con. Res. 38, 77th Leg. (2001). [FOOTNOTE TEXT, with links to my photos]: The monuments are: Heroes of the Alamo, Hood’s Brigade, Confederate Soldiers, Volunteer Fireman, Terry’s Texas Rangers, Texas Cowboy, Spanish-American War, Texas National Guard, Ten Commandments, Tribute to Texas School Children, Texas Pioneer Woman, The Boy Scouts’ Statue of Liberty Replica, Pearl Harbor Veterans, Korean War Veterans, Soldiers of World War I, Disabled Veterans, and Texas Peace Officers.]...

Texas has treated her Capitol grounds monuments as representing the several strands in the State’s political and legal history. The inclusion of the Ten Commandments monument in this group has a dual significance, partaking of both religion and government.
Justice Breyer cast the deciding vote in Van Orden. Here's his description of the setting:
Here the tablets have been used as part of a display that communicates not simply a religious message, but a secular message as well. The circumstances surrounding the display’s placement on the capitol grounds and its physical setting suggest that the State itself intended the latter, nonreligious aspects of the tablets’ message to predominate....

The physical setting of the monument, moreover, suggests little or nothing of the sacred.... The monument sits in a large park containing 17 monuments and 21 historical markers, all designed to illustrate the “ideals” of those who settled in Texas and of those who have lived there since that time.... The setting does not readily lend itself to meditation or any other religious activity. But it does provide a context of history and moral ideals. It (together with the display’s inscription about its origin) communicates to visitors that the State sought to reflect moral principles, illustrating a relation between ethics and law that the State’s citizens, historically speaking, have endorsed. That is to say, the context suggests that the State intended the display’s moral message–an illustrative message reflecting the historical “ideals” of Texans–to predominate.
So it's just one monument in a group of monuments. What's your mental picture from that description? Like this?

Ten Commandments monument

See the other monuments?

Perhaps a longer view will reveal the context that matters so much in Establishment Clause cases:

Ten Commandments monument

83 comments:

AlphaLiberal said...

I like to point out to modern conservatives the ninth, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

This is a commandment they frequently ignore.

Meade said...

Well, first of all, you've got those little pyramid thingies in the foreground which reek of New Ageism.

hdhouse said...

Yes Meade and the streetlights also illustrate enlightenment and shinning a light on truth.

I gather that the Supreme Court didn't allow pictures and took no field trips.

In for a penny, in for a dollar. I don't get why the constant testing by this means. Alabama should have taught something. Maybe it did. But I wouldn't take that walkway even if it is the direct route.

AllenS said...

"The 22 acres surrounding the Texas State Capitol contain 17 monuments and 21 historical markers commemorating the “people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity.”

Your photo does not even come close to showing 22 acres. What's on the other side of that hedge?

I own 40 acres. It is 1/4 of a mile on each side.

Are you implying that there isn't 17 monuments and 21 historical markers at that site?

Labels: photography, confusion

Der Hahn said...

See the other monuments?

I'm having trouble seeing a State Capitol in those pictures.

Joan said...

I would, in fact, like to see similar "long views" of the other monuments, to see whether or not they are similarly perched close to walkways and sidewalks. It's quite impossible to tell if the Ten Commandments monument is being given a place of honor or emphasis from this one photo. I would prefer to judge it in context of how all the other monuments are placed. Anyone have a (link to a) map that shows the entire grounds and where each monument is placed?

Gary Carson said...

That looks like it was taken from the back of the Capitol building. Most of the monuments on the grounds are on the front, visible from 11th street.

Jan said...

Perhaps this will provide some more meaningful context.

http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/spb/Gallery/MonuList/MonuList.htm

Fitz said...

More nonsense from SCOTUS. This case was decided in tandem with the other 10 commandments case involving the court house. Taken together they represent a impossible to apply set of principles insuring endless litigation and unprincipled principles.

Joe said...

Acknowledgment of a Judeo-Christian heritage is hardly an establishment of religion as the Founders contemplated. No matter what SCOTUS says.

Ann Althouse said...

The capitol building is at my back as I'm taking the picture.

It's not a place of honor. I think it was stuck back there to be out of the way. The monuments in front of the building are obviously the good ones: The Alamo, the Confederate Soldiers, the Cowboy, the Volunteer Fireman. Click on the links to my photos of them.

The stuff in back seems more like accommodating various groups who are giving some things that aren't all that good. The Statue of Liberty back there is quite bad. The school children thing is also really bad. The 10 Commandments monument is also bad. Quite apart from religion, it's just aesthetically substandard. Putting it by the back road there was actually pretty disrespectful. I'm surprised religious people don't complain about it. Breyer is definitely right that the setting "suggests little or nothing of the sacred." To me, that's a problem. One reason to oppose the government's use of religion is that it tends to desecrate.

Meade said...

"Yes Meade and the streetlights also illustrate enlightenment and shinning a light on truth."

Goodness! Such flattery!
Thank you, hdhouse!

MadisonMan said...

It's nice of them to have a monument for all the non-Texans who died at the Alamo right on the Capitol Grounds.

Those monuments certainly look better than the monument up on the Square for dead police officers that looks like a place to sit (except for the signs that say Don't Sit Here.)

Simon said...

It's a nice swansong opinion by the late Chief, but listening to the bench announcement of that case is almost unbearably sad, almost painfully so. It's like watching a grand old ocean liner slip into port for the very last time.

Fen said...

AlphaLiberal: I like to point out to modern conservatives the ninth, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Heh. Don't make the mistake of assuming I'm a Christian.

Fen said...

In God We Trust.

[cough]

D.A. Ridgely said...

From the shape of the monument and the perspective of the photos, I'd say it looks mostly like they buried the Commandments as far away from the courthouse as possible.

Richard Dolan said...

Sitting back there all in its lonesome, the 10 Commandments monument hardly seems like an effort by Texas to establish a state religion, or to communicate an message of endorsement on the subject.

Ann says that "[o]ne reason to oppose the government's use of religion is that it tends to desecrate." Oddly, the SCOTUS cases on this subject do the same thing, twice over -- both religion and the constitution come off being trivialized. Surely it was not the Court's best moment when it concluded that a Christmas creche in the public square was rendered acceptable in part because it was surrounded by a blinking (and musical!) wishing well, giant candy canes, reindeer and similar treacle. Astonishing, really, that the SCOTUS ends up dealing with such trivial concerns, and that it does so from its temple announcing "in God we trust." Among the stranger twists here is that bad taste seems to have been elevated into a constitutional plus factor.

PatCA said...

You mean that since the 10 C's are not surrounded by other monuments in close proximity they are violating the establishment clause? So far, Texas has not enforced a state religion, and I imagine that will continue, regardless of the existence of this plaque or not.

Our justice system was based in part on the 10 C's, weren't they? To suppress this or deny this fact seems nuts. But so much of 'modern' thinking does to me so take that FWIW, so I'm going to go back to work now.

Fen said...

Our justice system was based in part on the 10 C's, weren't they?

Just don't say codification of morality. The cultural polluters will pull their hair out if you do.

TMink said...

States are perfectly free to establish a religion. Only Congress is so prohibited. States were admitted to the union with established religions after the Bill of Rights was ratified.

When the historical context is taken into consideration, this is a non-issue. The ACLU and radical atheists must leave the Constitution altogether to drum up any legal angst. The general public has been had on this matter.

Trey

TMink said...
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TMink said...

I appologize for the errant multiple posts.
Trey

JohnAnnArbor said...

I like to point out to modern conservatives the ninth, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." This is a commandment they frequently ignore.

Yes, because we all know that this does not happen on the left with any frequency, like, say, intentionally misquoting a blogger and using the misquote against them.

Or making up fake 1970s National Guard memos just before an election.

For instance.

Pogo said...

This little tussle about "establishment of religion" will seem pretty funny in about 15 years when Canada, France, and England are operating under de facto sharia law.

SCOTUS cases about stone tablets will seem pretty quaint in retrospect.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

hdhouse said But I wouldn't take that walkway even if it is the direct route.

Why not? That's just silly.

Is the long arm or God going to reach out and grab you from behind the marble monument and suck you into his vortex. Do you think God is going to trip you on the walkway. Does it have cooties? Do you think you will be struck blind by looking at the Ten Commandments?

MadisonMan said...

Why not?

Look at the destination! Some bland 1970s architecture State Office Building.

The buildings that surround the State Capitol in Austin -- at least those in Ann's pictures -- are really very ugly.

Daryl Herbert said...

How long before photos pop up on the web of homosexuals making various degrees of hanky-panky in front of the monument?

Revenant said...

States are perfectly free to establish a religion.

Not since July 9, 1868.

Too Many Jims said...

Rev,

I was going to say something along those same lines (complete with a helpful link to the Wiki entry on "Incorporation") but before I did, I did I a bit of reading. If you look at Thomas' opinion in Newdow you will see that he rejects "incorporation" as it applies to the establishment clause. So there is at least someone out there who would say that states are free to establish religions.

Cedarford said...

10 commandments and pioneer women are welcome counterpoints to the preponderance of monuments to the small part of Texas culture that is derived from the very small number of Texans who were soldiers or were uniformed government employees (cops and firefighters) deemed objects of glorification. Alamo, Broods, Confederate, San Jacinto...yes, they are unique to Texas. Not the other warriors or "hero government employees".

[Other selections? Maybe the noted "Texas way" of manners. The cowboy culture. Or Texas as the native soil of where modern ranching, agribiz, oil & nat gas energy biz really started. Texas cuisine. Etc.]

Ann Althouse - The Statue of Liberty back there is quite bad. The school children thing is also really bad. The 10 Commandments monument is also bad. Quite apart from religion, it's just aesthetically substandard..... To me, that's a problem. One reason to oppose the government's use of religion is that it tends to desecrate.

That's an argument for the US to also not celebrate Liberty or schooling, in monuments. Unless Texas or the US has the French build the monuments. Then they would be aesthetically pleasing and we could celebrate the 10 Commandments like we do French-built cathedrals and monuments like the one at Ellis Island.

TMink said...

Hey Rev, the establishment clause applies to Congress. Not the states. Interesting reading. The 14th ammendment, concerning Incorporation, does not mention religion at all.

Trey

Revenant said...

If you look at Thomas' opinion in Newdow you will see that he rejects "incorporation" as it applies to the establishment clause. So there is at least someone out there who would say that states are free to establish religions.

Well I already knew that -- after all, I was responding to one such person. :)

hdhouse said...

Dust Bunny Queen said..."Is the long arm or God going to reach out and grab you from behind the marble monument and suck you into his vortex. Do you think God is going to trip you on the walkway. Does it have cooties? Do you think you will be struck blind by looking at the Ten Commandments?"

Obviously dust bunny fell off her broom. None of the above is the answer.

I just wonder why a certain group or group of groups feel that it is right, proper and simply o'k to stick religious artifacts in everyone's face? Why is that?

Are you so insecure in your religious beliefs that you have to go on the offensive? Is that it?

You probably decry right to life and the government intruding with laws and regulations on the most private of all interpersonal endeavors yet in the matter of the most personal spiritual connection - emphasis on "the most" - you feel it is alright to plunk one of these things down in the midst, put it on state land, make it alright because it is in some out of the way place?

And while we are at it...aren't you all pissed and in a hissy because it is in an out of the way place? Why let's just put it front and center like that butthead judge did in alabama. It isn't enough that anyone would have to enter a courthouse with the fear of the law looking him in the face when we can double that with the fear of God.

We have churches and they are left alone. We have prayer whenever we choose to think it or speak it. We have complete religious freedom. I am just amused that some boneheads think that it is fine to just keep pushing. Why? Did Pat Robertson get an email from God and suggest these things to everyone?

Now I know, I just KNOW, you are thinking ...that liberal atheist from the northeast....I can hear those little wheels just rolling and spinning...sweetie, take a deep breath...i had the born again 30 years ago, i've been a loyal and faithful servant of God and the church for 50 years, I have a theology minor, I work at my church and for the betterment of those around it and in it.

Monuments like this cheapen religion. They cheapen the church. they make billboards out of sacred text. What next? ads on 7-11 cups of coffee? Starbucks lids?

Where do you get off thinking this is o'k and not a slap at religion which needs no help of this sort and no help whatsoever in this country.

My advice is to stop listening to Bill OReally and his "attacks on Christianity". Geeze you people drive me nuts.

LutherM said...

Austin, Texas. A town with a University where the heroes of the Confederacy are honored !!! A monument to Hood's Brigade.!!! Definitely not politically correct. And Heroes of the Alamo - how insensitive !!! A major part of the University of Texas faculty must be in a state of high dudgeon.
Not the sort of thing that would be acceptable in the People's Republic of Madison.

AlphaLiberal said...

"Acknowledgment of a Judeo-Christian heritage is hardly an establishment of religion as the Founders contemplated."
Putting these religious artifacts in a public space is not "acknowledgement," it is promotion. There are religious words therein inscribed.

Besides, the US was born of many cultures, including the Native American cultures (Irquois influenced our Constitution, for example, as Europe was not exactly the land of the free.)

JohnAnnArbor, the 1970 Guard memo a) reflected the view of the purported author, that Bush was a shirker and b) was not done by a politician or activist but by a reporter.

But the left is not running around trying to cram the Ten Commandments down everyone else'e throat. The left is not demagoguing religiou to win votes. There's one political element doing that today, and they are base hypocrites in the ways they lie incessantly about other people.

I've raised this issue with conservatives for years and they just can't grasp it. Con's these days are so deeply bought into their own flawed set of "facts," really a fantasy world, that many have gone beyond reason.

Examples of right wing lies:
- Nancy Pelosi is wrong to visit Syria (even while Repubs are simultaneously in that same country).
- Bill Clinton smuggled cocaine through Arkansas. (The very un-Rev Jerry Falwell pushed that lie).
- It is unpatriotic and morally wrong to criticize the President during war time. (except during WWII, Bosnian conflict and numerous other examples where it was okay for the Repubs to lie)
- Plan B is abortion. Nope and that's not a question of opinion.
- Valerie Plame was not a covert agent.
- Liberals hate America.
- Abe Lincoln said those who criticize the President should be "arrested, exiled or hanged."
- George Bush never met Jack Abramoff.
- George Bush didn't even know Ken Lay.
- George Bush fulfilled his National Guard duty, except no-one provided the evidence to claim the $10,000 prize.

Oh, I could go on all day but you guys will just deny, deny, deny.

Daryl Herbert said...

If Texas can say "God wants you to follow these rules" why can't the California legislature erect a monument with the message "God approves of gay marriage"?

I don't think religious conservatives who favor this statue have really thought it through.

MadisonMan said...

Not the sort of thing that would be acceptable in the People's Republic of Madison.

In Madison you can find the farthest north confederate cemetery. It used to have the stars 'n' bars flying above it, but now that flag only shows up on Memorial Day.

hdhouse said...

Let's cut the Judeo-Christian heritage crap off at the knees ok?

Look the term up. Our founding fathers were not Jews nor were they Judeo-Christian and this country has NO SUCH HERITAGE.

Much was made of the term during the eubonics movement in the 20s and much more to show solidarity for the plight of the Jews in the 30s and 40s but before the decade or so before the turn of the century the term didn't exist.

Get stuff straight ok.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oh, I could go on all day but you guys will just deny, deny, deny

Of course you can go on all day, especially with something that is off topic.

And to hdhouse. I just found it funny and somewhat silly that you would go out of your way to sneak around an inanimate piece of marble. I have a vision of you..."OMG!!! Oh wait, I can't say that. Holy Cow...oh wait..... Gee wiz.... the Ten Commandments, let me belly crawl through the bushes (doing a liberal Rambo dodge and run and duck and cover) so the words don't strike my eyes and force me to have that old time religion on my way to the County Clerk's office. I'm doomed doomed I tell you (ala the Fed Ex commercial histrionic guy)"

Cough cough ptooey.... spitting out that dust bunny.

Richard said...

Nearly identical to the one dated 1964 on the grounds of the Arizona Capital. The one in Arizona is surrounded by many other monuments, including the very controversial 911 monument.

Daryl Herbert said...

You're such a goof, AlphaLib. You get a kick out of being an obnoxious, bothersome troll. The only reason to respond to you is to kick your dumb arguments when they're down.

Examples of right wing lies:

- Nancy Pelosi is wrong to visit Syria (even while Repubs are simultaneously in that same country).

What facts are we lying about? This is a matter of opinion, dummy.

The Republicans there have been criticized as well, and for the same reasons.

- Valerie Plame was not a covert agent.

No one denies that at one point in time she was a NOC. But not at the time she was "outed" by Novak/Armitage (who found out because Joe Wilson was telling everyone).

If Valerie Plame was a NOC, then Joe Wilson is the one who violated the law against revealing NOC agents' identities.

Valerie Plame went to work on a daily basis at a government building to do a desk job. She wasn't a secret agent, covert agent, whatever you want to call it.

If you don't have anything to say that's on topic to the thread, then scram. Your preening need for attention can be met elsewhere.

Oligonicella said...

As an athiest I can't find anything wrong with it being there as it is.

RogerA said...

HD House: the "Eubonics movement of the 1920s?" Do you mean "Eugenics?" since as near as I can find, eubonics as a term doesnt enter the language until 1970 or so.

boston70 said...

Nothing to do with the 10 commandments monument but I do have to say the area around that capital building is really quite ugly.

I used to be obsessed with state capitols and ventured out to try and see as many as I could.

I have been to Austin and their capitol building is really quite ugly. The surrounding area around their capital is equally ugly.

Living in Boston ours isn't much better than Austin. No ten commandments though, this being Boston (thank god).

I tend to go off on Madison quite a bit as I am originally from there but the one thing that Madison does have is one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the country. I think the Madison capitol building is reviewed as one of the best capitol buildings in the country.

Daryl Hebert regarding your comment about the gays and hanky panky on this site I think we can be rest assured that this particular location would not make for a good tea room. There needs to be quite a bit more flora and fauna in order for the gays to do hanky panky there. You need to think more gardens, tall grasses, big trees, saunas etc. Monuments are not condusive to tea room trading. Interesting where your mind goes though when looking at this monument.

JohnAnnArbor said...

and that's not a question of opinion.

It's pretty clear you're the kind of person that feels that way about every word you speak. Every one of your listed "facts" is a one-sided opinion with possible counterpoints, some strong, others not. But you won't even lower yourself to listen. You're the arbiter! These are FACTS!

Typical. That's what campus leftists are like.

JohnAnnArbor said...

As to the monument, I wonder how long it's been there.

No matter the answer to that; it could be moved to a private part or building, I suppose (although it would take some effort).

Establishing new monuments seems very odd to me. Some people are just wildly insistent upon doing so. Why? Are people likely to forget the commandments if they're not posted everywhere?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmZRDUO1wGQ

Doomed Doomed!!!

Daryl Herbert said...

Rule #57 of Politics on the Internet: when an "athiest" says some religious thing is no big deal, be suspicious.

Too Many Jims said...

Trey,

You should try to realize that the notion that "the establishment clause applies to Congress and not to the states" is markedly a minority position. It is not just ACLU freaks and the sort that would argue that the establishment clause is applicable to the states via incorporation. Thomas' argument was (as far as I know) a very novel one.

Hazy Dave said...

That eyeball in the radiant triangle above the eagle would be a perfect place to hide a camera... connected directly to the Department of Homeland Security!

Dave TN said...

Daryl Herbert said...
Rule #57 of Politics on the Internet: when an "athiest" says some religious thing is no big deal, be suspicious.


Curious rule. I'll back up Oligonicella's comment. I'm also an athiest and have no problem with that monument. I wouldn't have a problem with monuments featuring the Koran, Torah, or whatever other religious text anyone wanted to put up.

Now if the government made me tithe to a church, or attend religious ceremonies or classes, that would be a big problem.

Cedarford said...

Henhouse - Much was made of the term during the eubonics movement in the 20s and much more to show solidarity for the plight of the Jews in the 30s and 40s but before the decade or so before the turn of the century the term didn't exist.

Naw, I done think you be right no how, 'bout dat.
Dem breeding theories been goin' on whole handfuls of Benjamin's worth of de ages. Weren't no how started for'e us Bro's and Homies got us some semi-auto firepower in 1911 Colt .45 era.

***************
Henhouse - Monuments like this cheapen religion. They cheapen the church. they make billboards out of sacred text.

Yeah, such a touching argument those that launch lawsuits to intimidate Christians and eradicate any teaching or manifestation of it from the public sphere make. That they love Christianity soooooooooooo much, are so goshdarn sensitive about something so sacred being allowed outside a church or home, that they seek to criminalize it, fire people that mention it, and fine the rest of the people.

If they were so ummmm sensitive to the beauty of multiculti, the Religion of Peace, diversity, 1st Negro to do ________(add feat to the blank), the cultural pinnacle philosophies of pacifism, feminism, critical theory.......
well why shouldn't they too be banned from being in the schools or celebrated in the public square on grounds they too will be cheapened??

Hazy Dave said...

I enjoy the Fugs' version of "The Ten Commandments" in the key of E minor.

Thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's ass...


Those with even stranger tastes may enjoy all 23 minutes of "Charlie The Hamster Sings The Ten Commandments". I completely support keeping this artifact out of our nation's public schools and the temples of government.

tjl said...

Boston 70 correctly notes, "I have been to Austin and ... the surrounding area around their capital is equally ugly."

State office buildings are mostly uninspired even at best; those shown in Ann's photo are among the worst examples, dating as they do from the 70s, the all-time nadir of architecture.

But why does Boston 70 also dismiss the elegant Bulfinch dome of MA's statehouse?

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
Thanks for the pictures. They really do help to put things in context.

I blogged on the Ten Commandments marker flap, from one Christian's perspective:

Here.

(I also linked to a post of yours analyzing the ruling there.)

Mark Daniels

Revenant said...

Look the term up. Our founding fathers were not Jews nor were they Judeo-Christian and this country has NO SUCH HERITAGE.

Er, that argument only makes sense if you equate "our heritage" with "the guys who drafted our government documents'. And even then it doesn't make very much sense, since most of them WERE Christians -- just not many of the big names.

hdhouse said...

Roger A. certainly you are right. i was so worked up. apologies. eugenics. duhhhhh. somehow i escaped buti wonder how some days.

thank you

Internet Ronin said...
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RogerA said...

hd--it is absolutely possible to be in error and I knew what you meant--this really isnt a gotcha thing, OK? I really do appreciate alternative views. The ONLY thing I would ask is that you tone down the snark just a little--K?

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

What better place to start then all those public entities and places advocating Catholicism with their very name? To whit, the cities of California:

You devoted a lot of effort to listing every "San" and "Santa" city in California. Unfortunately you didn't devote any effort at all to explaining why naming a city after a saint advocates Catholicism. So I give you a 7/10 for effort, but a 0/10 for your actual argument.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boston70 said...

Internet Robin I am not sure if you were referring to me. I said I didn't care one way or other about the 10 commandments monument in Austin.

My comments were on my opinion of the physical beauty of the capitol buliding and grounds around it in Austin. I just mentioned that I didn't think it was very appealing. Not necessarily based of Ann's pictures but based of being there and not finding it very attractive. I am really not worked up in lather about it. I could really care one way or the other how or what a city does with their monuments. I just don't think it is very "pretty".
My point was one of physcial attractiveness not the actual content.
If a state or city wants a 10 commandment monument go for it.

Interesting that you then go into how I need to start some campaign to eradicate "church" from state.

No, really I don't have that type of interest or passion.

I am ok with church, I am ok with 10 commandment monuments, just don't think the grounds of the Austin capitol are all that great.

I also mentioned that I didn't care for the Gold Dome capitol building in Boston.
My post was more on the architecture rather than the meaning of specific monuments.
I also stated that I thought the capitol building in Madison is one of the most attractive I have seen.

This is just one person's humble opinion on what appeals to me. No lather though, really.

Internet Ronin said...

No, it was not directed at you. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elais said...

As an agnostic, I suppose I will be okay with the Ten Commandments as long as they stick A few lines of the Koran, Torah, maybe toss in a few Confucious sayings.

The attempt to make the Ten Commandments 'non-Catholic' just to get it on public grounds is stupid. It's absurd the lengths religous folks will go these days to shove the word down everyones throat.

hdhouse said...

Ok. I've got a thought (astoundingly enough):

If it really doesn't matter - as if there is no reason or motivation FOR putting the commandments where they are - why not just put them up in a field 10 miles outside of town.

It is a subtle question. It goes to the intent created by mounting the sculpture/monument where it is or anywhere. Isn't that the agenda and isn't that the issue?

TMink said...

Too many Jims wrote: "You should try to realize that the notion that "the establishment clause applies to Congress and not to the states" is markedly a minority position."

It is cool, I DO realize that! But the words are the words, no? And the folks who wrote and voted on those words voted on those words. Right? I mean, once it was a minority position that slavery was wrong. That position grew.

For the record, I am not interested in State sponsored religion(s). And also, while over 92% of Americans claim they believe in God, I will protect the atheist's right to follow their own conscience. This is still America after all.

But I will fight and die if need be to protect my freedom of religion.

Trey

PatCA said...

Just when you think an online community has hit an irretrievable rock bottom, you read, "HD House: the "Eubonics movement of the 1920s?" Do you mean "Eugenics?"

"Naw, I done think you be right no how, 'bout dat."

LOL!

hd and company, your arguments are so pro forma and ridiculous, you even throw in the anti-Bush laundry list when you run out of blather!

And to heck with constitutional arguments: hd feels cheap when he walks by religious iconography. Don't worry, honey, anyone who respects you now will still respect you in the morning.

Joan said...

Elais, the Ten Commandments are Jewish, not Catholic. In fact, the Catholic Church uses a different numbering system than every other religion/sect, for reasons which I doubt I will ever understand. But it's silly to peg the Commandments as Catholic only, when they are basically the basis of western civilization.

Daryl Herbert said...

If "gnostic" is pronounced "NOS-tic" . . .

Why is "agnostic" pronounced "ag-NOS-tic"?

Why not "ah-NOS-tic" or "ae-NOS-tic"?

Revenant said...

But it's silly to peg the Commandments as Catholic only, when they are basically the basis of western civilization.

Er... what? The ten commandments are in no way "the basis of western civilization". The commandments fall into two categories -- those which have been ubiquitous to human civilizations throughout the world throughout recorded history (the prohibitions on murder, theft, adultery, false witness, etc) and those which have been rejected by our nation from the day of its founding (the commandments banning incorrect forms of worship, covetousness, and honoring of parents).

Meade said...

hdhouse said...
"... Geeze you people drive me nuts."

High five

hdhouse said...

patCA or whatever...i acknowledged the error and the mistyping earlier... yes i know it was eugenics. yes i have been following and researching the issue since it was first brought to light in the early 70s in a series of New Yorker articles..yes yes yes.

typo ok...

now to the meat (sic!) of your claptrap. please inform me of the "pro forma" arguments. I would love to know what you think (sic!) and what you know (sic!)and how you come to your conclusions (sic!).

Too Many Jims said...

Trey said . . . I DO realize that! But the words are the words, no? And the folks who wrote and voted on those words voted on those words. Right?

And the words "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited" are the words, no?

TMink said...

Hey Too Many, my last post seemed snippy, that was neither my mood in responding to your nor my intent. Sorry. Bad writing, not bad vibes on my part.

Sure, those words to the 18th ammendment are important too. It should have never have been written as it was bad law, but the words are important, just more important to change and repeal.

But was there rampant misundertanding of the purpose and scope of the flawed 18th? I think people stayed close to the understanding of the meaning and intent till they repealed it. I still maintain that the content of the establishment clause is widely misunderstood, and the "separation" clause is a myth.

Once again, sorry about the snippy tone, it was inadvertent. I appologize. Look forward to reading your continued thoughts.

Trey

Revenant said...

It is interesting that the only readable part of the ten commandments on that monument is "I am the Lord thy God" -- which is presented in a much larger font, as a header, with all the "lesser" commandments listed after it.

I wonder which part of the "secular message" of this monument inspired them to do that.

TMink said...

Excellent question Rev! The secular excuse is just that, an excuse. Those momuments are standing in various places across the country because they represented the majority view at the time they were erected. And it was a straightforward, religious viewpoint. Calling it anything else is avoiding reality as far as I am concerned.

For some of us, well me, they are still important and a central organizing principle of our (my) lives. But how does that hurt or injur anyone? I don't think it does.

Trey

Too Many Jims said...

Tmink said . . . For some of us, well me, they are still important and a central organizing principle of our (my) lives. But how does that hurt or injur anyone? I don't think it does.

Just curious, but would it harm or injure you if the state took your money and used it to erect a monument that said: "There is none worthy of worship except Allah (Arabic for God) and that Muhammad is his messenger." (To use only the most alarming example, one could probably come up with a better example using atheism, catholocism, certain protestant denominations, or mormonism.) This is, after all, the central organizing principle for some people.

Would you feel better about it if your representatives said: "This is decidedly not a secular statement. We are erecting a monument because of the religious beliefs of the majority of the community."

Just as a follow-up to my points about incorporation as it relates to the religious clauses of the first ammendment. I wanted to point out that if one believes that the first amendment is not applicable to the states via incorporation then there is no right of the free expression of religion in the U.S. Constitution except that Congress is restricted from intruding on that right. That is to say, if the first ammendment does not apply to the states, not only can states establish religions but also they can limit your ability to practice your religion.

TMink said...

Too many Jims wrote: "Just curious, but would it harm or injure you if the state took your money and used it to erect a monument that said: "There is none worthy of worship except Allah (Arabic for God) and that Muhammad is his messenger.""

No harm or injury there. In fact, on a secular note, there is a godawful statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest with lots of rebel flags surrounding it right outside of my hometown. It strikes me as racist and I do not like it. But I believe it injures no one. (Private money paid for it, but I am using it for the injury portion of our discussion.)

The history of the statue in question, is different I believe. While Roy Moore's statue was made at taxpayer's expense, the Texas monument looks very similar to monuments that were given to many states in the 50s and created using private funds. Not sure about this info, but I could not find the facts.

Now I wish that the govment would stop spending my money on LOTS of things, religious monuments included whether or not I am sympathetic to their message.

And later: "That is to say, if the first ammendment does not apply to the states, not only can states establish religions but also they can limit your ability to practice your religion."

I think you are correct. That is why Jefferson penned the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.

Now the problem, as I see it, is certainly not being forced to support or participate in a religion that I would not choose freely. I have vague and mild worries that some states will become anti-religious. Here in Tennessee, that is not a looming problem in my lifetime, and as I said, it is only a vague worry of mine.

Trey