Ten Commandments (2)
Article Specs |
Article ID: 2060
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,958
Times Read: 8,997
Author: Amorgen [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: November 18th. 1997
Times Viewed: 8,997
One thing that has always been a source of consternation for me is the propensity of those with an unbending, extreme point of view to polarize every situation. To such persons there can be no middle ground, no alternative perception to the surrounding terrain on the field of human endeavor. To them things are either this way or that. Period. You are either right or wrong and everything is pass or fail. After years of observation, interaction, discussion and experience among their ranks I can say with certainty and accuracy that those persons who would be counted among the "Religious Right" are such a people.
Let me give you an example of what a clouding effect polarization of an issue has. Abortion is a volatile subject, to be sure. The Right (although NOT exclusively but predominantly) has made consistent efforts to cloud the issue through use of violence, harrassment and terror tactics, stalking and intimidation. This is done with the fervent belief that they know what is good for everyone. I have known women who were trying to visit their gynecologist for routine pap smear exams and were shouted at, encircled, and intimidated by picketers of the medical offices because of the presupposition that they were there to obtain an abortion. The polarization factor starts with the call signs of the two "camps" in the debate. "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice". The implication here is that if you are not a member of the "Pro-Life" movement and/or do not label yourself as such, you MUST be in favor of abortion. Perhaps even abortion as a method of birth control. While I have no data handy, I am willing to bet that the majority of people who consider themselves "Pro-Choice" are just that: Pro C-H-O-I-C-E. A great many women who receive the mandatory counseling prior to committing to the procedure elect to bring their pregnancy to term. My wife is adamantly Pro-Choice and would never opt to abort - that is HER choice. Although I would certainly be involved in such a decision, the choice and the decision is finally hers alone.
Pass and Fail thinkers don't want you to think that way.
They would rather you did things THEIR way or NOT AT ALL.
This is not a piece about the abortion issue however, but about the people in this country who are intolerant of opposing points of view. People who would sleep much better if their ideals were not challenged. People who see a departure from the comfort of their conformity as a threat to order and stability. People who dare not and want not to question - or allow others to question - long-held beliefs and traditions which they see as unalterable truths. People who hold that there is only one reality as they see it and that other views are aberrant, disruptive and dangerous...
People who hold up the Constitution of the United States of America in one hand and the Christian Bible in the other while proclaining loudly that without the Bible, the Constitution could not POSSIBLY have been written as effectively.
People who claim that the United States was founded on the precept that it is a CHRISTIAN NATION forsaking all other forms of worship and belief systems. That the citizens of this nation should believe in the God of Abraham and Jesus the Christ lest they burn in a lake of fire.
Alabama State Judge Roy Moore or Etowah County, Alabama is such a person as this. Although he has undoubtedly practiced law for a number of years and is sworn to protect those laws and the Constitution they serve, he has chosen to obey what he sees as a "Higher Law", to quote a phrase from the Hon. Justice Clarence Thomas. The Law of God. At least the only version of God that he can accept as valid. Perhaps Judge Moore's distain for secular law grew when he realised he was seated beneath a statue of the Goddess Justice, symbol of our legal system and member of the Greek pantheon of Pagan deities.
In Judge Moore's court room, hung conspicuously on the wall, is a hand-carved wooden rendering of the Ten Commandments as found in the Bible. Judge Moore reportedly created the display himself. Moore has taken the stance that this is a Christian nation and therefore the display is appropriate where it is. This despite the constitutional and legal system of checks and balances which prohibit this behavior. Moore is answering a "Higher Law" which evidently supercedes any oath he took regarding the secular laws. One wonders if this, by extension, implies that he would hear cases and impose sentences according to this "Higher Law."
There are those who semantically argue that there is nothing in the Constitution regarding the separation of Church and State. While a search of the original document might seem to bear this out, it must be remembered that the first ten amendments, or "Bill of Rights, " as well as all succeeding amendments, are duly ratified and are considered an effective part of the document as a whole.
Amendment One states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." Yet Judge Moore wants to create an amendment which will nullify the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
Amendment Fourteen, section one states "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the priveledges or immunities of citizens...nor shall [they] deprive any person of...liberty...[or]...equal protection under the laws". It is interesting to note that the State of Alabama ratified this amendment on July 13th, 1868. Surely Judge Moore can recognize that by enacting legislation and altering the Constitution to create an "Official State Religion", he cannot do so without laying waste the Fourteenth Amendment. Non-Christians in a Christian State cannot be guaranteed the same priveledges and immunities in the real world.
Judge Moore has made public statements regarding the minting of currency in this country and the practice of using the phrase "In God We Trust" on coins. He has stated that if this were not in fact a Christian nation, we would not have such a phrase on government property. In fairness, Moore has made a compelling point here, but it bears investigating HOW this practice came into being.
In the main body of the Constitution, Article One, section eight, clause five it states, "The Congress shall have the Power to coin money, [and] regulate the value thereof..." This is the only reference in this document of minting authority and practice. While it is currently the law that all US coins bear the phrase, "In God We Trust", it was not always so, and the impetus for such an adoption is dubious.
On November 13th, 1861, the Reverend M.R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel, a resident of Ridleyville, PA wrote to then Secretary of the Treasury, Hon. S.P. Chase of the need to recognize, "...the Almighty God in some form in our coins". Rev. Watkinson was assuming the Secretary was a Christian and penned his concern that in the event our civilization was destroyed, future discoverers of our ruins would perceive us as heathens unless suitably Christian evidence were available to set the record straight.
Watkinson was opposed to the use of the "Goddess of Liberty" and professed that he, "...felt our national shame in disowning God...". He likened this to a national disaster.
Secretary Chase was evidently moved and tried to implement this, but found that legislative action was needed. It was not until April 22nd, 1864 that the motto first appeared on a US coin. The Coinage Act of Feb. 12th, 1873 provided that the Secretary of the Treasury MAY authorize the use of the motto. Finally, an Act approved July 11th, 1955 makes the use of the motto MANDATORY upon all US coins.
In other words, this country was eighty-five years old before a citizen suggested the use of "In God We Trust" on US coins and it took another ninety-four years before it became law. Hardly an indication of Christian solidarity nationwide.
In summation, let me bring up one more thing Judge Moore has said. [It is my] "...duty under the Constitution to acknowledge the Judeo-Christian God, not the Gods of other faiths. We are not a nation founded upon the Hindu god or Buddha".
In response to that I must point to that very same Constitution, Article Six, clause three which states, "...all the executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; (emphasis added here) BUT NO RELIGIOUS TEST SHALL EVER BE REQUIRED AS A QUALIFICATION TO ANY OFFICE OR PUBLIC TRUST UNDER THE UNITED STATES".
In other words, Judge Moore, you are breaking the laws which you are sworn to uphold and defend. You are endangering the liberties of countless american citizens and your actions are, in the final analysis, categorically un-american.
Judge Moore, and any who would stand and march with you:
WE WILL NOT BE MOVED
Stephen J. McManus
Location: Conway, Florida
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