by Bill Fancher and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) – The Supreme Court's decision this week to force an Indiana town to remove a Ten Commandments monument from city property is being roundly criticized.
In 1998, two residents of Elkhart, Indiana represented by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union sued the city over inclusion of the Ten Commandments as part of a civil display in front of City Hall. In the suit, the residents claimed they were offended by the monument and that their rights were being violated by having to view the Commandments every time they entered the building. The city appealed lower court decisions, arguing the Commandments monument did not violate church-state separation under the First Amendment because it was considered a historical artifact in part of the larger civil display that had been in place since 1958.
The case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme court where, on Tuesday, the justices voted 6-3 not to hear the city's appeal effectively stating that the display unconstitutionally endorsed religion and should be removed from a civil display in front of City Hall. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were the three justices who voted to hear Elkhart's appeal.
Christian activists have reacted with criticism to the court's decision, calling it “a terrible decision” and a misinterpretation of the law. Rob Schenck, director of the National Clergy Council, says he is disgusted with the court's decision.
“This is another terrible decision by the members of the [Supreme] Court who Justice Scalia calls 'the nine un-elected lawyers' that make so many of the major decisions about the life of this nation,” Schenck says. He also says the decision reveals an interesting fact about the court: “At least six of the justices still believe that we are accountable to no one but ourselves.”
Schenck expects the Elkhart decision to have repercussions. “Scores of these Ten Commandments monuments will now have to be literally broken up or dug out of the ground of so many places where they've stood for decades,” he says.
But according to Schenck, a new Ten Commandments monument will be going up very soon. He says he is erecting one across the street from the justices' private entrance to the court where they will see it every day.
The Family Research Council says the Court, by its decision, has “ducked the continuing controversy” over posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings. FRC says the Court's decision does not settle the issue, pointing out the Court’s refusal to hear the case means only that the ban stands in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals but allows a favorable ruling in the 10th Circuit to stand. Jan LaRue, FRC's director of legal policy, says “The High Court’s establishment jurisprudence is so convoluted even they can’t figure it out.”
Meanwhile, the “Ten Commandments Judge” says the U.S. Supreme Court has “misinterpreted the law.” According to Associated Press, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says “the separation of church and state was never meant to stop the acknowledgement of God.” Moore gained national attention for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his Alabama courtroom in Gadsden, Alabama, before he was elected the state's chief justice. He made his comments on the Elkhart case after visiting with a Kenyan official who noted that in his country the Bible is taught in school.
Pro-Family Activist Wants Internet Filter Mandate In Libraries
by Rusty Pugh
(AgapePress) – A Michigan pro-family activist says sexual harassment complaints may now force libraries to install Internet filters.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that a group of Minnesota librarians was exposed to a sexually hostile work environment because of pornography downloaded on library computers.
American Family Association of Michigan director Gary Glenn says the EEOC’s finding of probable cause, though not a final disposition of the matter, is a victory. He says the Minnesota case may force legislators and library boards in Michigan to require Internet filtering to avoid similar civil rights complaints.
“If the Michigan Legislature refuses to mandate Internet pornography filtering in public libraries to protect children from being forced to share the library with adult pornography users, we hope now that they may be forced to mandate filtering to protect taxpayers from financial liability from civil rights and sexual harassment lawsuits filed by librarians,” Glenn says.
Glenn says employees of public libraries are far more satisfied working in a porn-free environment. And he says the claims that Internet filters do not work are nonsense. Those who claim such, he says, are obviously not in touch with the latest technology.
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)