In 2005, on a single day, the Supreme Court issued two different rulings in two different Ten Commandments cases involving monuments on government property. In one case, they said the Commandments display was legal because it was surrounded by several secular monuments, downplaying the argument that this was about promoting one particular religion. In the other case, they said the display was illegal because it stood alone and was clearly an endorsement of Christianity.
Outside the Nueces County Courthouse in Corpus Christi, Texas, there’s a Ten Commandments monument that stands alone. It has no business being there, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent County Judge Loyd Neal a letter last month explaining why it’s illegal.
What’s strange is that the County is responding by saying legal precedent is on their side, which it clearly isn’t.
In a letter to Americans United, County Judge Loyd Neal cited a 2005 Supreme Court decision, ruling an essentially identical monument outside the Texas State Capitol is constitutional, since The Ten Commandments played a role in our nation’s history and correlate to our laws.
Neal doesn’t seem to get that the Texas monument was legal only because it wasn’t the only game in town. The longer he remains ignorant, the more money he’s going to waste fighting a losing battle.
The local media isn’t helping either. Instead of making clear why Neal is wrong, one reporter at KRIS 6 news asked random people what they thought of the monument. Surprise! They want it to stay in place.
A quick survey of residents this afternoon found no opposition to the monument.
“It’s not going to do any harm to anybody,” one man said.
“It hasn’t offended nobody here for how many years?” another man said.
“It is the rule of law, the initial rule of law. There’s no problem with what it’s saying. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not, these are reasons that people are walking into this court(house),” one woman said.
Besides the fact that none of their opinions matter, the last woman is just plain wrong. The Ten Commandments includes rules about worshiping false idols, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, taking the Lord’s name in vain, and coveting — and if you don’t follow the rules, our legal system is fine with it. Even adultery isn’t a criminal offense. Stealing and murder are crimes in our system, as they should be, but we sure as hell don’t need the Ten Commandments monument to remind us of that.
The faster this is resolved, the better it’ll be for the people in the community. But officials in Nueces County remain stubborn and ignorant. That’s an awful combination for people who are supposed to be experts in the law.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)