PLATFORM/Shall thou display?
American City & County recently asked readers of its e-mail newsletter if it is appropriate for local governments to display the Ten Commandments in their buildings. Overwhelmingly, readers said it is. Two responses, one in favor of such a display and the other opposed, are reprinted below.
“One of the principles on which this nation was founded was religious freedom. In recognition of this principle, the federal government should neither prohibit local governments from displaying the Ten Commandments nor force them to display them.
“The framers of the Constitution made many expressions of their faith in God and on many occasions stated that a democratic society can survive only if its people act in a moral and just manner. It is entirely appropriate for citizens to be reminded of the Ten Commandments, which contain instructions from God that lead people to live moral and just lives when they enter government buildings.”
— Joe Botinelly, sewer maintenance superintendent, Wichita, Kan.
“Why not have a plaque of the Ten Commandments alongside similar commandments from Jewish, Islamic, Bhuddist and any other major religions. I strongly support the idea of separation of church and state. I have no problem with ‘In God we trust’ as it isn’t specific to any one religion. But to install a plaque in a courthouse, or other public building, of the Ten Commandments and no other context to it, strongly suggests this is a court of Christians. Imagine how you might feel if you, as a defendant, walked into a court with a plaque quoting the Koran. As a Christian not familiar with [Islam], it might make you feel pretty uncomfortable, or disenfranchised from your government.”
— Randy Brackett, construction engineer, Island County, Wash., Public Works Department