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by Don Costello
7/20/2008 / Bible Studies
"They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them."
a. "Ten Commandments Thrown Out Of School", Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/18/80, Washington: "Thou shalt not post the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms, the Supreme Court told states Monday. By a 5-4 vote, the justices invalidated a 1978 Kentucky law requiring that a 16 x 20 inch copy of the Ten Commandments, purchased at private expense, be placed on the wall of every public classroom in the state.
"The preeminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on school room walls is plainly religious in nature," the court majority concluded in an unsigned opinion issued without waiting for oral arguments and complete legal briefs. The state had argued that the statute did not violate the constitutional principle of church-state separation because no public funds were involved. Moreover, the state contended, the Ten Commandments brought down from Mt. Siaai by Moses in the Old Testament have become the foundation of American law. Those arguments were summarily rejected by the Court, which itself sits in a courtroom that includes Moses among its lawgivers. Above the justices' heads, in fact, is a marble panel depicting the Ten Commandments, flanked by the Majesty of the Law and the Power of Government."
b. Stone v. Graham was decided in 1980. It is the first Supreme Court case that dealt with the Ten Commandments and the second time it dealt with the Word of God in public schools. The posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools were declared unconstitutional because, the majority said, it failed the first prong of the Lemon test-a secular purpose.
c. Again I am reminded of the relationship of secular and profane. Paul warned Timothy [2 Timothy 2:16] that profane babbling will increase unto more ungodliness. This ruling was indeed a profane babbling and it increased unto more ungodliness.
1). In Adams County, Ohio, this ruling was used as authority to force the county to remove the monument of the Commandments away from the school.
2). It was used in Cobb County Georgia to force them to move its Ten Commandment plaque out of the courthouse.
3). And lastly it was appealed to when McCreary County Kentucky and all U.S. County Courthouses were forced to remove the Ten Commandments from inside the courthouse.
d. In Stone v. Graham the majority wrote: "If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause."
1). I am reminded of Hosea 4:6 that says, "because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." I am also reminded of Proverbs 1:30, 31 that declares that those who will have nothing to do with God's counsel or reproof shall eat the fruit of their own way and be filled with their own devices.
2). It was Martin Luther who wrote: "I am much afraid that schools will prove to be great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the word of God must become corrupt."
3). I have no information on school shootings before 1980 or even up to the mid nineteen nineties. On the website, www.infoplease.com in its Crime Data section it listed 40 people murdered and 108 wounded in school shootings from 1996 to 2005. In light of this quote from Stone v. Graham, and the fact that Stone V. Graham was sighted as a precedent in 2005 in McCreary County Kentucky v. ACLU, it appears the Court is willing to sacrifice the lives of school children to protect its perverted interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
4). I am not nave enough to think that simply posting the Ten Commandments would prevent these murders; I know there are many more factors to consider. But at the same time, the word of God, because it is the word of God is able to deter individuals by causing a conflict in the conscience of an individual meditating a crime and convince them not to commit the crime. See Romans 2:15.
f. When elements of Stone v. Graham are compared with Miller v. California it will be revealed that the Supreme Court is more lenient toward pornography than it is toward the Commandments. In Miller v. California, a 1972 obscenity case, the Justices defined obscenity in three parts. The first, "whether the average parson, applying contemporary community standards, would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest" The second part deals with state laws and doesn't concern us here. The third part is, "whether the work taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value" The phrase used twice in this definition, "the work taken as a whole" is the leniency shown toward pornography. [This is the constitutional principle that became precedent in Roth v. U.S. See above.] In any pornographic publication, all that the publishers have to do is throw in a few articles on sports, biographies, or short stories and Presto! It's protected free speech because the whole work is considered.
1). But when it comes to the Ten Commandments, no such leniency is shown. In Stone v. Graham, the majority wrote, "The pre-eminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one's parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. See Exodus 20:12-17; Deuteronomy 5:16-21. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers; worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord's name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day. See Exodus 20:1-11; Deuteronomy 5:6-15.
2). Pornographic magazines are protected because, the publication must, "be taken as a whole." But the Ten Commandments are not allowed because, "they do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters", but also, "concerns the religious duties of believers." This is such a twisted interpretation; its only source of inspiration could be wicked spirits whispering into the ears of judges.
g. Stone v. Graham makes it unconstitutional to post the Ten Commandments at public schools or Courthouses. Yet two prominent Founding Fathers didn't believe incorporating at least two of the Ten Commandments into law were unconstitutional.
1). Oliver Ellsworth, On a Religious Test for Holding Public Office. "If any test were to be made, perhaps the least exceptionable would be one requiring all persons appointed to office to declare, at the time of their admission, their belief in the being of God, and in the divine authority of the Scriptures. In favor of such a test, it may be said that one who believes these great truths will not be so likely to violate his obligations to his country as one who disbelieves them; we may have greater confidence in his integrity. But I answer: His making a declaration of such a belief is no security at all. For suppose him to be an unprincipled man who believes neither the Word no the being of God, and to be governed merely by selfish motives, how easy is it for him to dissemble!...But while I assert the rights of religious liberty, I would not deny that the civil power has a right, in some cases to interfere in matters of religion. It has a right to prohibit and punish gross immoralities and impieties; because the open practice of these is of evil example and detriment. For this reason, I heartily approve of our laws against drunkenness, profane swearing, blasphemy, and professed atheism."
* First printed in the Connecticut Courant and the American Mercury. Reprinted in The Annals of America, Vol. 3, 1784-1796, pp. 169-172, Published by Britannica.
* Oliver Ellsworth was a Connecticut delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, nominated by George Washington.
2). McGowan v. State of Maryland, 1961 Supreme Court case that upheld Sunday closing laws. Chief Justice Earl Warren authored the decision. "This Court has considered the happenings surrounding the Virginia General Assembly's enactment of "An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom", 12 Hening's Statutes of Virginia 84, written by Thomas Jefferson and sponsored by James Madison, as best reflecting the long and intensive struggle for religious freedom in America, as particularly relevant in search for the First Amendment's meaning. See the opinions in Everson v. Board of Education (US) supra. In 1776, nine years before the bill's passage, Madison co-authored Virginia's Declaration of Rights which provided, inter alia, that "all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience" 9 Hening's Statutes of Virginia 109, 11-112. Virginia had had Sunday legislation since early in the seventeenth century; in 1776, the laws penalizing "maintaining any opinions in matters of religion, forbearing to repair to church, or the exercising any mode of worship whatsoever" (emphasis added), were repealed, and all dissenters were freed from the taxes levied for the support of the established church. Id., at 164. The Sunday labor prohibitions remained; apparently, they were not believed to be inconsistent with the newly enacted Declaration of Rights. Madison sought also to have the Declaration expressly condemn the existing Virginia establishment. This hope was finally realized when "A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom" was passed in 1785. In this same year 1785, Madison presented to Virginia legislators "A Bill for PunishingSabbathbreakers" which provided, in part: "If any person on Sunday shall himself be found laboring at his own or any other trade or calling, or shall employ his apprentices, servants or slaves in labour, or other business, except it be in the ordinary household offices of daily necessity, or other work of necessity or charity, he shall forfeit the sum of ten shillings for every such offence, deeming every apprentice, servant, or slave so employed, and every day he shall be so employed as constituting a distinct offence." This became law the following year and remained during the time that Madison fought for the First Amendment in the Congress. It was the law in Virginia, and similar laws were in force in other States, when Madison stated at the Virginia ratification convention: "Happily for the states, they enjoy the utmost freedom of religionFortunately for this commonwealth, a majority of the people are decidedly against any exclusive establishment. I believe it to be so in the other statesI can appeal to my uniform conduct on this subject, that I have warmly supported religious freedom."
* In this quote from a Supreme Court case in 1961 we see that James Madison, in a nine year period from 1776 to 1785, not only successfully fought for religious freedom in Virginia and against the Established Church in Virginia; he also was successful in legislating elements of the Fourth Commandment in Virginia.
My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.
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