The SC Senate is now acting in an effort to allow the use two traditional dishonest christian ploys, and both are mistakes.
PUBLIC PRAYER: The state Senate has approved a bill that would allow prayers before public meetings. The legislation says public bodies can adopt policies to let members take turns giving an invocation, elect a chaplain or create a pool of speakers from faith groups to offer the prayer. The bill also calls for the state attorney general to defend public bodies if they face constitutional challenges.
RELIGIOUS DISPLAYS: The Ten Commandments could be displayed in South Carolina schools and courthouses as long as they are posted with other historical documents like the Bill of Rights, under a proposal a Senate panel took up Thursday. No vote was taken. The legislation, approved by the House last year, would allow the Judeo-Christian cornerstone to be displayed as long as it is posted with a dozen documents that influenced U.S. law and government, including the Constitution and Pledge of Allegiance.
The proposal about public prayer is just foolish. The Federal courts have been consistent on this issue, it is not allowed. No law, passed by any state, has the power to override Federal standards. All this proposal will do is expose the state to the cost of defending foolish local governments, like Great falls, when they decide to be stupid.
The second one is most likely legal but still foolish. The argument goes that the 10 commandments are part of the bedrock standards that our nation was founded on. If you actually look at the 10 commandments, it is clear this is utter foolishness. Of the commandments, only 4 seem to have any historic legal standing in the US. These are Murder, Thief, Adultery and Lying. The trouble with trying to tie this into the history of law in the US is, these are basically universal concepts that are found in all societies no matter their faith construct. Two (or three) more of the commandments deal with personal behavior and thoughts, and have no relevance to our judicial history and no mention in our founding documents. These are honoring your parents and coveting your neighbors possessions (and spouse). The other ideals in the commandments are not found in our founding documents and in many respects run counter to these.
Lets start with the first (or first and second, depending on the version of the commandments you care to use); I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before me, You shall not make for yourself an idol. In many respects the constitution was implicitly putting a man made document ahead of God. Our founding fathers were creating a nation of law and those laws were the laws of man, not God. The other two are; You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God, Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. I don't think that either of these commandments can be found to be reflected in any of the documents that our nation was founded on.
So we have 4 commandments that apply, but these ideals are expressed in almost every society, and are commonly found in non christian societies. The argument that they had anything to with the establishment of law in the US is weak is best. 2 of the commandments deal with internal thoughts and behavior to relatives. It is difficult if not impossible to see any tie between them and the laws of our land. The last 4 deal with our relationship with God, and it can be argued that the founding of the US as a nation where law is supreme is in violation of the ten commandments.
To try to sneak the 10 commandments into governmental buildings on this basis is dishonest, silly, time wasting and indicates a lack of understanding of the history of our country. So, it is the perfect way for our elected officials to spend their time.
Maybe, one day, we will focus on education, or health, or infrastructure, or employment, but for now, we will keep trying to find way to force God down the throats of the people of the South Carolina.
Faith, South Carolina