JWR publishes literally hundreds of right-thinking pundits and cartoonists. Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update? It's free. Just click here.
Jewish World Review June 29, 2005/ 22 Sivan 5765

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The Constitution and the Commandments

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | "You shall have no other gods before me."

— The First Commandment

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

— The First Amendment'

In its latest ruling on church and state, the Supreme Court has once again tortured itself and the public (not to mention G-d, which the court increasingly wishes the public wouldn't mention).

In one opinion, the court seemed to invoke a doctrine more suitable to good wine than good law.

A display of the Ten Commandments at the Texas Capitol building in Austin was found to be constitutional, because the six-foot-tall monument had been there since 1961 and no one had complained about it, but framed copies of the Ten Commandments at two rural Kentucky courthouses were said by the slim majority to be unconstitutional because they were of more recent vintage and were displayed for the express purpose of advancing a particular religion.

While both votes were 5-4, one in favor of such displays and the other opposed, the court continues to refuse to offer any standard for its rulings on religion. As Justice Antonin Scalia noted, "What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle."

The reason the Supreme Court has issued so many conflicting and confusing rulings on this and other subjects is that it has abandoned the Constitution as its only standard in favor of making law to suit its own purposes.

In this, the justices resemble violators of one or more of the Ten Commandments (and that includes us all): turning away from things that are designed to preserve, protect and defend us and ruling only as they see fit (see Judges 21:25).

The court ignores the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress, not the states, from "establishing" religion. By restricting what may be displayed on public property, the Court also damages the "free exercise" clause. It erects a "no trespassing" sign for people who believe in G-d and wish to say so on public property, which is paid for by citizens of many and no religious persuasions.

In these increasingly G-d-free zones, one is prohibited from speaking well of the deity, but under the "free speech" clause of the same First Amendment, one may speak ill of G-d without fear the authorities will cart you away.

Donate to JWR

While critics of these mostly anti-religious rulings are right in scolding the court for its misinterpretation of the Constitution, are such persons also in violation of the will of the very G-d they claim to represent? Why, in fact, do such people feel the need for public displays representing what they believe? Isn't this a kind of false security, similar to airport security screeners?

Religious activists fool themselves if they believe public displays of the Ten Commandments reflect a more moral and less corrupt nation. One needs only to watch television to discern the level of our depravity.

G-d dismissed the visible sacrifices of the ancient Israelites when those sacrifices became rituals. In their hearts and behavior, they worshipped false gods. Their actions did not match their doctrines. Do those advocating for more public displays of religion privately practice what they publicly preach? If they did, the influence of their proclaimed righteousness might reach all the way to the Supreme Court. Whether it did, or not, it would reach all the way to their G-d.

In his teaching about prayer, Jesus said something instructive for those who advocate public religiosity: "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:5)

Are there expectations in the Bible that G-d needs the state to promote himself and that such promotion should be visible? That's not the teaching of the Scriptures that advocates of public religion claim to believe.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is the author of, among others, The Wit and Wisdom of Cal Thomas Comment by clicking here.

Cal Thomas Archives


© 2002, TMS