Magazine article The Humanist

Good News, Bad News. (Church and State)

Magazine article The Humanist

Good News, Bad News. (Church and State)

Article excerpt

Let's start with the good news. On November 18, 2002, U.S. district judge Myron Thompson ruled unconstitutional Alabama chief justice Roy Moore's placement of a 5,300 pound granite Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the state's judicial building. Moore was given thirty days to remove it.

Moore, a long-time promoter of religious right interests, had the nearly three-ton monument installed on July 31, 2002, in the dead of night without informing his judicial colleagues. He did, however, invite televangelist D. James Kennedy to send a crew to film the project. The monument, featuring the King James version of the Decalogue, was challenged in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs.

Judge Thompson found that Moore's purpose was to "acknowledge the Judeo-Christian God as the moral foundation of our laws," which clearly "crossed the line between the permissible and the impermissible." Thompson scored Moore's belief that "only Christianity meets the First Amendment definition of religion.... The First Amendment does not elevate one religion above all others, but rather places all religions on par with one another, and even recognizes the equality of religion and non-religion."

The bad news, of course, is that our selected president's party, which some refer to as "God's own party," has won back the Senate, giving George W. Bush effective control of two of the three branches of the federal government and a good shot at control of the third branch, if he doesn't already have it. …

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