Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Ten Commandments

Fox ran an AP story and CNN its own story on the issue going before the Supreme Court of whether or not the Ten Commandments can be displayed on government property in Texas and Kentucky. CNN seems more for the opposition to the displays and Fox is more supportive of displaying the Ten Commandments.

* CNN notes more views against the displays than for it. The converse is true for Fox.

* CNN notes that there is silence on the part of many church organizations but does note that, in a poll, Americans were vastly in favor of the displays.

* Fox spends about half of its article on Thomas Van Orden, the homeless lawyer (with a suspended law license) that brought suit against the display in Texas. CNN mentions him but does not give any background on Van Orden including the negative facts found in Fox’s article.

* Fox notes this that is not found in CNN’s article: “Many conservatives warn that if the states lose, the ruling would force the removal of similar objects from memorials and public spaces across America. Dozens of demonstrators are expected for rallies and prayers outside the courthouse in Washington while the case is argued inside”

* Here are some people quoted in both:

Pro (allowing the displays):


* "The First Amendment was never intended to remove all religious expression from the public square," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. "There is no doubt the Ten Commandments are a sacred religious text, but neither can we deny their significant impact on the history, culture and laws of Texas and the rest of the country."


* America can't scrub the role of religion from its history, said Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Legal Institute, which defends religious freedoms and First Amendment rights and filed briefs in support of keeping the monument.

"What they're really advocating on the other side is a religious cleansing from our history," Shackelford said. "It should be treated with respect as our part of history, not some new form of pornography that has to be banned from our public arena."

* "I hope and believe the United States Supreme Court is not going to force agnosticism upon the people of this state and this country," Abbott said. "The First Amendment was never intended to remove all religious expression from the public square."

Con (not allowing the displays):


* Van Orden says that, in allowing the monument, Texas crossed the line separating church and state by promoting "personal religious beliefs." "Even among religions that accept the Ten Commandments, there are significant differences in content of each religion's version of the Ten Commandments, said Van Orden. "The Texas Ten Commandments is virtually identical to the Protestant version."

* "Thou shalt not merge religion and government," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "Promoting religion is the job of houses of worship, not government. Our legal system especially must avoid even the appearance of bias on the basis of religion."

The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting the Establishment of Religion."


"I have nothing against the Ten Commandments. I grew up with the Ten Commandments," he [Van Orden] said. "I didn't sue Christianity or Judaism. I sued the government. It was filed to uphold the principles of the First Amendment."

Links to the articles:

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