For decades, the Ten Commandments – the so-called foundation of America’s legal system – were displayed without complaint in public facilities across America.
But when the United States Supreme Court, for the first time, ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments plaque from a public school wall in Kentucky in 1980, these displays began to face regular court challenges.
On Monday, The Supreme Court rejected appeals from suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had installed a 2 1/2-ton granite Ten Commandments monument in an Alabama courthouse and who also has argued that the Ten Commandments acknowledge “God as the source of the community morality so essential to a self-governing society.”
For many, the Ten Commandments have become a symbol of the ongoing struggle in America. Those Americans who are offended by the Ten Commandments have claimed that government officials may not display them regardless of their historical relevance to American law. And so it should be.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, has been interpreted by the courts as guaranteeing that individuals have freedom of religious expression, and the government and its agencies will not recognize one religious faith as more valid than any other or even recognize religion or secularism. However these principles are continuously in a state of creative tension.
Courts at various levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have ruled that the posting of isolated religious texts and symbols in any public buildings is unconstitutional. The reason given by the courts is that governments and public schools must remain neutral on religion. This is a good reason and it should be validated as such.
The wall of separation must be maintained between religion and the government. There should be no religious displays in public buildings because freedom of religion also includes freedom from the belief that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.