THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
YEAR 2005 APPEALS TO THE SUPREME COURT
FROM KENTUCKY & TEXAS
The Ten Commandments monument at the Texas state capital:
The heading reads: "The Ten Commandments. I AM THE LORD THY GOD"
The capital building is in the background.
On 2005-MAR-02. the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two cases
involving the Ten Commandments (a.k.a. Decalogue).
||A case from Kentucky involves displays of the Protestant version of the
Ten Commandments along with many other documents referring to
Judeo-Christian beliefs, and a few secular documents. The displays were
erected in court houses and public schools. No documents referring to other
religions were included. Although some secular documents were included, the
emphasis is overwhelmingly religious.
||A case from Texas involves a six-foot tall monument containing the Ten
Commandments, and Judeo-Christian religious symbols. No secular material or documents
from other religious were included.
At question is not whether the displays are improper
in some way.
||One conflict is over the location of the displays:|
||The Ten Commandments can be freely displayed on private land. The
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech,
including freedom to display the Ten Commandments on one's own land.
||They can sometimes be displayed on public land -- in
courthouses, schools, government buildings, parks, etc. But in such
locations, both the purpose of the display and the context
of the display determines whether it is constitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on 2005-JUN-27 that:
||The Kentucky displays were unconstitutional because its purpose was
clearly the promotion of religion. They violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution, and the Separation of Church and State derived from that
||The Texas display was constitutional because its context was secular.
Both rulings were as a result of a 5:4 vote.
Topics covered in this section:
Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2005-MAR-02
Latest update: 2005-MAR-02
Author: B.A. Robinson