The incessant march to totally secularize the American culture led by the ACLU and other Leftist organizations received another boost this week from the United States Supreme Court split decision over the Ten Commandments. In two twisted, schizophrenic rulings that would make the most professional pretzel maker proud, the court insured more rather than less national tension over public displays of religion by ruling against a Ten Commandments display in two Kentucky courthouses and then for a 6-foot replica of the same decalogue on the state capitol grounds in Texas. The courts two decisions, released just over an apart reminds me of John Kerry's campaign assertion that he voted in favor of a Senate appropriation of money to the troops in Iraq before he voted against it. What is it with leftists and schizophrenia? It must be in their genes.
In McCreary v. ACLU, the ruling from Kentucky, the court found that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was violated because the display appeared to be promoting one religion over another. Writing for the majority in a classic 5-4 decision, Justice David H. Souter wrote, "When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates that central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality."
Writing for the minority, Justice Antonin Scalia disputed the high courts interpretation of the motives of those who displayed the commandments saying. "In the courts' view, the impermissible motive was apparent from the initial displays of the Ten Commandments all by themselves. When that occurs, the court says, a religious object is unmistakable. Surely that cannot be."
In other words, the majoirty decided the very presence of the Ten Commandments is enough to violate the Establishment clause because the only possible motivation for their display was to promote Christianity over all other religions. Apparently, the Leftists on the Supreme Court have now added omniscience to their long list of wise attributes. The majority read the minds of the people of Kentucky and discovered the nefarious motive of the inculcation of religion.
Justice Scalia was correct to point out that it "surely cannot be" that the court can determine motive merely from a religious display. The Establishment clause, which was never intended to prohibit the public display of religion, but rather protect the people from a public pronunciation of exclusive religious devotion has now been perverted by the majority to include any religious displays as having behind them the motivation of establishing a particular religion.
In the Texas case (Van Orden v. Perry) the court seemed to reverse itself by allowing a Ten Commandments statue to remain on the grounds of the state capitol. The vote againn was 5-4 with Justice Stephen Breyer providing the surprise swing vote that allowed the display to remain. Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote for the majority, "Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establisment clause."
The bottom line for the court seems to be that if the religious display in question can somehow be considered by some to be non-religious because it is surrounded by non-religious monuments is does to violate the Establishment clause. But, if the display can be itnerpreted as being religious simply for religious reasons it has to go. This is schizophrenic legal nonsense that does nothing to clarify the debate over the issue. It is also blasphemous because it approves of religious symbols only after those symbols are stripped of their meaning. The court should be astounded and ashamed of its convoluted reasoning which seems to be based more on personal opinion and clairvoyance than jurisprudence.
In another mind blowing and freedom inhibitinig 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the Fifth Amendment, which establishes the govenments' power of emminent domain, can now be interpreted to mean private property can be seized for just about any contrived reason as long as it is considered "public use." The decision cleared the way for the city of New London, Connecticut to proceed with a large-scale plan to replace a faded residential neighborhood with office space for research and development. The homeowners, who will now have to sell their property to the city, argued that the "public use" portion of the Fifth Amendment should be interpreted as "transfers of property that give acutal ownership or use to the public, such as taking the property for a highway or a public utility."
But the majority of the court disagreed preferring to interpret "public use" as a excuse to expand the local tax base and thereby generate public revenue through increased taxes. Justice Stevens wrote, "Clearly, there is no basis for exempting economic development from our traditionally broad understanding of public purpose." Justice Sandra Day O'Conner disagreed saying, "Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded."
Both of these decisions are ludicrous. The first concerning the Ten Commandments is ludicrous because it twists the establishment clause beyond recognition and turns ordinary citizens into mind readers. The second decision is just plain scary because it effectively removes private property rights from everyone who doesn't have the power of the state or the bankroll of a real estate developer. If ever there were poster decisions for our need to reign in our completely out of control judicial system, here they are in plain sight.
The Bible speaks clearly from Genesis to Revelation about God's judgment coming to a people who allow the exploitation of the poor and the weak by the rich and powerful. It also speaks clearly about the primacy of Scripture to call a sinful world into accountability before God. In one week, the Supreme Court has managed to violate both of these clear teachings from God and leave us a nation floundering in a sea of moral relativism.