The Ten Commandments v. The Seven Aphorisms

Public display of the former is the cause celebre of demagogues everywhere. Public display of the latter is, I think, a stunt to prove the hypocrisy of the demagogues: That as soon as the issue changes from the power of the state to put Ten Commandments monuments in schools or courthouses to the power of the state to put other religions’ symbols in those places, their tune would change, too. The stunt worked.

Some podunk town in Utah let some God and Country group put a Ten Commandments monument in a park. Some God and America Hatin’ group sued, saying it was a violation of the establishment clause. The town, defended by, inter alia, Jay Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice, won the case and the monument stayed put.

Enter some crackpot religious group with their own goofy list, called the Seven Aphorisms. They said, “hey, if the town can have a monument to one religion on its land, it has to treat them all equally, and we want our monument up there, too. If the establishment clause means anything, it means the government can’t favor one religion over another.” The town said no. Guess who is helping them defend the power to endorse one religion and not others, to make a completely content based decision over what kind of religious monuments to approve? Yep, Jay Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice, always ready to ignore the establishment clause and defend religious freedom, so long as “religious” is defined as “Christian” and “freedom” is defined as “government power.”

Round one, in the District Court, went to the town. Round two, in the Circuit Court went to the crackpots. Yesterday, the two squared off in the Supreme Court, and it looks like it could go either way.

(BTW, I posted about this case after the Circuit Court decision. That post is a bit more serious, and has all the relevant links.)

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