Atheists, Agnostics File Suit to Challenge Ten Commandments Monument at Arkansas State Capitol

Photo Credit: Jason Rapert

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, representing four female atheist and agnostic complainants, and the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, along with the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, have filed lawsuits challenging the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state capitol building.

“The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, but also govern the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord’s name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day,” one of the lawsuits states.

“The State of Arkansas may not, consistent with the Constitutions of the United States and Arkansas, instruct its citizens which God to worship, forbid its citizens to use a particular deity’s name in vain, or require sabbath observances for religious purposes,” it asserts.

Included as plaintiffs in one of the complaints are a Jewish rabbi, who asserts that the monument leaves out a number of other commandments in Scripture and trivializes sacred text, and a United Methodist clergyman, who believes that states shouldn’t endorse any specific religion, even if it is the one he professes.

The other complaint was filed on behalf of several atheist and agnostic residents who take issue with having to look at the monument as part of their walking and bicycling group.

“So long as the Ten Commandments monument remains in place, [they] will be forced to have unavoidable and unwelcome exposure to the Ten Commandments monument in the future each time [they] follows [their] path across the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol during [their] regular recreational activities unless [they] alters [their] route solely to avoid coming into unwanted contact with the government-endorsed monument containing the words of the Decalogue,” it states.

The lawsuits ask for the Ten Commandments display to be declared unconstitutional and for its removal to be ordered.

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Read the lawsuits here and here.

Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert and president of the American Heritage & History Foundation, who introduced the legislation that led the to monolith’s installation, said in a statement that the heritage and history of the monument must be defended.

“The sole reason we donated this monument to the State of Arkansas is because the Ten Commandments are an important component to the foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Arkansas,” he outlined. “Passive acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America and the Supreme Court ruled in Van Orden v. Perry in 2005 that such monuments are constitutional.”

“If the Ten Commandments are good enough to be displayed in the United States Supreme Court Chamber and other state capitol grounds in Texas and around our nation, then they are good enough to be displayed in Arkansas,” Rapert remarked. “I look forward to a vigorous defense of the law in Arkansas.”

As previously reported, a new Decalogue display was just installed last month after a man with mental illness destroyed the original monument. A Christian film production company, a number of churches, and supporters from across the country all donated funds to help pay for the monument.

1 John 5:3 states, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous.”

Romans 13:8-10 also notes, “Owe no man anything but to love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law. For this: thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

In his message entitled “God’s Holiness and Man’s Depravity,” missionary Paul Washer also explained, “Men hate God because God is good. Why do men hate God’s Law? Because it’s good. Well, why would anyone hate a good law from a good God? They would do so only if they are inherently evil.”

“I will sometimes mention the Law, not just in a secular university but even in a Christian setting, and oftentimes, even among those who claim to be Christians, I see their face twist up and they get angry and they start talking about legalism. They start telling me, ‘You’re not going to impose that Law upon us; we’re free!’ And so, I’ll always ask them this question: So, you’re telling me that the Law is oppressive to you and your actions. ‘Yes,’ they say. And then I’ll say this: Which one? Which law?”

“Is it the one that says ‘You shall not lie, bear false witness’? Does that oppress you? If it oppresses you, it’s because, well, you’re a liar and you love your lies. Is it oppressive to you and evil to you that God says, ‘You shall not commit adultery’? Is that oppressive to you? If it is, it’s because you’re an adulterer. I always ask people, which law is it that you hate? And if you do hate these kind of laws, then what does that say about you?”


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  • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

    All the bible quotes would seem to undercut Rapert’s assertion that this ten commandments monument has nothing to do with promoting religion.

  • Croquet_Player

    I understand that many people take the “Ten Commandments” very seriously as a matter of faith, as is their absolute, inviolable constitutional right. However as Americans, we may not permit new religious monuments on public property. Of course we have some older monuments “grandfathered” in since they have been there so long and have become a matter of American architectural and built environment history. But we are a country comprised of citizens of many different faiths, and no faith. We all pay taxes and have equal rights. Religious monuments may be erected anywhere and everywhere on private property. It is a mistake to try to put them up on city hall lawns and public parks.

    • Ben Welliver

      If you can tolerate the old monuments, you can tolerate the new ones. Your entire post is just childish nitpicking.

      A piece of stone does not establish a national religion. Get a life.

      • Croquet_Player

        Well, thanks very much for your kind wishes, I have a nice life. There’s a lovely old Celtic style cross in a nearby park. It’s up on a hill, quite hidden from view, and it’s a memorial, erected at the time, to some of the local World War I soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their, and now my country. (My father’s ancestors came over in 1629 on the Higgson fleet, so let’s not quibble about paperwork, no one asked for theirs.) I find it extraordinarily moving, and I visit it often. I have no argument with it. For one thing, it was erected at the time by local people, and for another it’s in a beautiful, almost ethereal spot, and you really have to seek it out to find it. I go there and read the names, again and again. Such very young men, slain in battle, but never forgotten.

        I believe that it would be a travesty to their extraordinary, and profound ultimate sacrifice to erect new monuments which favor one faith or another, or decry all faiths. Isn’t that exactly what they died for? The freedom to think or believe exactly as we choose? That is a fundamental aspect of what makes us all Americans. Not one faith or another, or no faith, but a drawing together of people who wish to be free to believe as they wish, yet still be together as one, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That idea, that profound principle, is a guiding light for me as I go through my daily life. And I think most Americans, at their core, think the same.

  • Last time I checked, the Arkansas State Capitol is not a Christian church and the United States of America is not a Christian nation – it is a nation of many creeds and of none, and all must be served equally by the state. Also, Jesus had something to say about this issue, and the early church considered it so important that they put it in three of the four Gospels:

    Matthew 22:21 Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

    Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

    Luke 20:25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.

  • james blue

    I would like to see ten commandment monuments put on church grounds. There are far more churches than government buildings, yet I cannot recall seeing a ten commandment monument on church grounds facing the road.

    The “ten” monument I would like to see on government ground (courts and legislature) is the bill of rights.

  • Guzzman

    Senator Rapert is hoodwinking his constituents when he claims “the Supreme Court ruled in Van Orden v. Perry in 2005 that such monuments are constitutional.” He failed to mention why the Supreme Court upheld the display of the Ten Commandments in that one case. In Van Orden v. Perry, the Court considered a Ten Commandments monument on the Texas capitol grounds permissible, but only because the display was one of 17 monuments and 21 historical markers on a broad, museum-like plaza.

    In virtually all other cases considering government posting of the Ten Commandments, Federal courts have prohibited stand-alone religious displays based on the long-held constitutional principle that government may not take a position on questions of religious belief. So the context and location of the displays are important. The stand-alone Arkansas display will more than likely be found unconstitutional.

  • B1jetmech

    Look at the top of the Supreme court building…it’s…it’s Moses holding the ten commandments!

    Well atheists, better get your judges in the bull pen warmed up…time to sue the Supreme Court!

    • Guzzman

      You wrote, “Look at the top of the Supreme court building…it’s…it’s Moses holding the ten commandments!”

      A sculpture of Moses does sit atop the Supreme Court Building, but then those bearing false witness conveniently fail to include the fact that DOZENS of other historical lawmakers (some of whom happen to also be religious figures) were also depicted atop that same building. Using that “reasoning”, I suppose we are to assume the U.S. legal system is based on Sharia law because Mohammed is also depicted holding the Koran, the sacred text of Islam.

      • B1jetmech

        So basically, the supreme court has it’s version of a “COEXIST” at the top of it’s building and you are taking the occasion that our legal system could well have been based off of Sharia law when for fact that our nation was founded by Godly principles(that would be the Christian God that the majority of the founders worshiped).

        Also, bearing false witness includes an intent to deceive, no intent done here.

        BTW, know how backwards Sharia law with a Constitutional republic? Your assertion doesn’t hold up. I do understand your underlining meaning, though.

        • SFBruce

          Actually, his assertion holds up very well. It’s very easy to find teachings in the Quran entirely consistent with US laws (the Golden Rule, for example), and it’s also easy to find passages in the Old Testament which would be completely illegal: stoning for adultery, forcing rape victims to marry their attackers and more. It’s certainly true that a large majority of Americans identify as Christian, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have a secular government which recognizes freedom of conscience for all. Monuments like this on state property favor one religion others and that’s a violation of the First Amendment.

          • Croquet_Player

            Bingo! Sorry, I’m in a fanciful mood. You’re quite right. And as was claimed by (someone I’m sure is a very nice person indeed) named “Ben Welliver”,

            “If you can tolerate the old monuments, you can tolerate the new ones. Your entire post is just childish nitpicking.

            A piece of stone does not establish a national religion. Get a life.”

            O.k., well let’s see how we all feel about the new monuments to this or that god or goddess on our courthouse steps.

            My own argument isn’t really that religious people can’t put up whatever monuments they like on public property. What the heck do I care? But I know that pubic lawns in front of city halls or courthouses are limited. And the fervor of some folks is unlimited. And before too long, there will be no place to have a nice picnic on the grass with your family and friends, because the joint is too occupied by various monuments. As well meant as they may be. So as you see, I’m simply an ordinary citizen, wanting to eat a sandwich on a nice expanse of public lawn.

    • Croquet_Player

      I love the baseball reference. The national pastime! I love baseball! (Go Giants!) I’m sure you understand that by your own argument you are inviting not only Moses, but Confucius and Solon into the mix, to say nothing of Menes, Hammurabi, Solomon, Lycurgus, Draco, Octavian, Justinian, Mohammed, Charlemagne, King John, Louis IX, Hugo Grotius, Sir William Blackstone, John Marshall and Napoleon. All of these individuals are represented on the friezes of the Supreme Court building of the United States, built in 1935. They are all represented as “famous lawgivers”. Not “The one and only lawgiver unto himself and his deity.” Now, if you’re like me, you’ll be more than happy to let the Supreme Court building stand as it is, as a beautiful architectural monument of its time. Or perhaps you would prefer to tear it down as it depicts faiths or views you do not favor? You’re entitled to your opinion, of course. I’m in favor of preserving old American buildings.

      • B1jetmech

        Now, you if you’re understanding me…I am mocking the atheists and their crusade to remove all Christian symbols from the public view.

        I don’t care what’s at he top of the supreme court building but like You, I’m for preserving not only american buildings and monuments but our traditions and heritage that made this a great nation.

        • Croquet_Player

          Well, I understand you’re trying to mock some people and that’s perfectly fine. I love a good joke! (We seem awfully short on good humor these days. I bet you’re the fun relative to hang out with on Thanksgiving! I hope I get seated near you!) But you’re making a mistake about who you’re mocking, and why. As has been said over and over again, by people of many faiths, or no faith, religious symbols belong on private property.

          I live around the corner from a truly lovely old church. It’s of a faith I was raised in, as a matter of fact, by devout, intelligent American citizens. If anyone at all came to attack it, I would be on the front line to defend it. Not because I still ascribe to their doctrine, but because I am an American citizen, and so are they. And they may believe whatever they like, and they own that corner, and that’s that. They are my dearly beloved neighbors. Isn’t that the entire point of being an American? I may believe, or not believe, exactly what I like, and you may do the same and we’re all in here together swinging for each other. That’s how I feel, anyway. That’s why public property must remain strictly neutral. It’s not about you, or me, or the other guy. But we may do exactly as we wish, and erect whatever monuments we like, on our own private property.

        • Croquet_Player

          Well, I understand you’re trying to mock some people and that’s perfectly fine. I love a good joke! (We seem awfully short on good humor these days. I bet you’re the fun relative to hang out with on Thanksgiving! I hope I get seated near you!) But you’re making a mistake about who you’re
          mocking, and why. As has been said over and over again, by people of many faiths, or no faith, religious symbols belong on private property.

          I live around the corner from a truly lovely old church. It’s of a faith I was raised in, as a matter of fact, by devout, intelligent American citizens. If anyone at all came to attack it, I would be on the front line to defend it. Not because I still ascribe to their doctrine, but because I am an American citizen, and so are they. And they may believe whatever they like, and they own that corner, and that’s that. They are my dearly beloved neighbors. Isn’t that the entire point of being an American? I may believe, or not believe, exactly what I like, and you
          may do the same and we’re all in here together swinging for each other? That’s how I feel, anyway.

          That’s why public property must remain strictly neutral. It’s not about you, or me, or the other guy. But we may do exactly as we wish, and erect whatever monuments we like, on our
          own private property.

          • B1jetmech

            I bet you’re the fun relative to hang out with on Thanksgiving! I hope I get seated near you!)

            I am fun but you wouldn’t want me at an thanksgiving dinner for I would eat everything!

            But you’re making a mistake about who you’re
            mocking, and why.

            Well, we just had a recent post here by an atheist who wrote out a prayer to Satan…basically mocking believers.

            You know something? it wasn’t funny. It’s not funny because there are people out there who actually worship satan and kill people and animals in sacrifices in secret ceremonies. It’s really no laughing matter but this atheist doesn’t care. Satanists like new born babies the most because they consider their souls the most pure.

            So if I come off sounding a little hostile is because of people like that.

            That’s why public property must remain strictly neutral.

            The problem is that is not in the Constitution. There are supreme court rulings yes, but the supreme court has been wrong before when it came to former slaves having standing to sue in court(Dredd Scott) upholding segregation(Plessy vs. Ferguson) and japanese interment camps during WWII(Kormatsu).

            Preventing displays like 10 commandments goes against “free exercise of” in the first amendment.

            So, I understand where you are coming from but I with the upmost respect..disagree but glad to extend an olive branch to you…

          • Croquet_Player

            We’d be good people at Thanksgiving, because you eat everything, and I cook everything! (Seriously, it’s terrible. I cook food for an army every year, but there’s maybe ten of us. We see it off to good homes, but I’m ridiculous.) I have to go to work now, but I hope to talk with you later! You seem like a really nice, interesting person, and I’m so sorry I have to jet off right now! Very best wishes to you and yours! – CP

          • B1jetmech

            I got to get ready for work soon myself but look forward to more fun and sarcastic conversation my friend!

            “Jet off” lol…don’t overheat those turbines…LOL!

          • Lily Of The Valley

            “…there are people out there who actually worship satan and kill people and animals in sacrifices in secret ceremonies.”

            I thought that that “Satanic Panic” stuff went out of style in the ’80s when they found out it was a bunch of sensationalist nonsense. Do you really believe that? And if these ceremonies are so “secret,” how do you know about them?

          • B1jetmech

            I think it did in one sense but only because it took on a re-invention to attract more wealthier and influential people.

            I go their blogs and read up on what they’re talking and notice they have wrapped themselves in intellectualism probably to attract “elites”.

            I heard of the ceremonies from a acquaintance back in school. What I noticed about him as he was explaining me the details, he was very serious and rigid which wasn’t himself, because he’s was usually the class clown and hipster. I never saw him that serious before.

            What he explained went along what i heard from misc testimony of participants and victims alike.

            Hollywood is BIG into the cult, watch their backdrops, symbolisms and so forth.

            I don’t get to much into it because I just don’t have the time to follow but I do know the cult is alive and well in our pop culture.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            So, basically, the “evidence” you’ve got is one “acquaintance back in school” however many years ago (maybe back in the time of that original “Satanic Panic” nonsense I mentioned?), some undefined “miscellaneous testimony,” and some supposed symbolism which you could probably read anything into that you were really determined to?

            Nah, I ain’t buying it. There might be a few wackos out there doing such things as you described and saying it’s in the “name of Satan” or something like that, but I suspect it’s probably no more than the amount of people who murder and say God told them to do it. The vast majority of people calling themselves Satanists these days are people like that publicity-seeking Satanic Temple bunch that this site likes to run a story about once in a while, and what I guess you could call the “originals,” the Church Of Satan founded by Anton LaVey in the ’60s. They’re agnostics and atheists who don’t believe in or worship a literal Satan the way theists believe in and worship a god. And they actually do advocate that their members follow all laws, including the ones against murder, believe it or not.

          • B1jetmech

            So, basically, the “evidence” you’ve got is one “acquaintance back in school” however many years ago

            What kind of evidence am I suppose to have from back in the 80’s? We didn’t have smartphones, flip phones with cameras. VHS camcorders were bulky and expensive.

            These rituals or whatever were held in secret, not open to the public except through a few.

            So how am I suppose to gather this physical evidence? If I was to gather this physical evidence would it be misinterpreted? Think you would actually believe it?

            Nah, I ain’t buying it.

            You don’t have to and it’s not my problem that you don’t want to believe…live out your free will.

            There might be a few wackos out there doing such things as you described and saying it’s in the “name of Satan” or something like that

            There probably are but how would you know?

            but I suspect it’s probably no more than the amount of people who murder and say God told them to do it.

            ..and what kind of people who murder in the name of God? Muslims? Christians? Well I wouldn’t believe that because we are called to lay our lives to down for someone else. However, just throw it out there and lump them in with cultist.

            what I guess you could call the “originals,” the Church Of Satan founded by Anton LaVey in the ’60s.

            Not even close. Wanna talk “originals” then we would ave to go back to around 4,200 years ago during the construction of the “Tower of Babel” that event is what started the cults and occults that plague our world today.

            They’re agnostics and atheists who don’t believe in or worship a literal Satan the way theists believe in and worship a god.

            Then why are they mixed up in it? Must be a vacuum in their lives like a void with no purpose so they fill it with something like satanic worship.

            I always find it ironic when someone says they don’t believe in God, they get into the most awkward cult or whatever, that it baffles me to no end.

            And they actually do advocate that their members follow all laws, including the ones against murder, believe it or not.

            If they did, I wouldn’t believe them for a second.

            Satan or Lucifer, was God’s greatest creation, one of the most beautiful beings imagined has a great ability to deceive. How good? Good enough to trick one third of the angelic realm to follow him and turn against God…IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD HIMSELF.

            Can you imagine being that crafty…now imagine what he can do on Earth.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            I’m not even asking for “physical evidence”….it’s just that I’ve heard all those stories, mostly from the ’80s like you just said the stuff you were talking about was, so I’d need something a little more credible that what you said. I’ve heard the stories of William Schnoebelen (who claimed to have been a Catholic Satanic vampire at one point!) and others which all just don’t hold water. I guess I tend to go with “Occam’s razor” when it comes to stuff like that. Or maybe a better way to say it would be to say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

          • B1jetmech

            …and like i say, you can take it or leave it.

        • Croquet_Player

          I seem to be being reported for “spam”. You seem like a very nice fellow, please ping me elsewhere, and I’ll look for you too.

        • Guzzman

          You wrote, “I am mocking the atheists and their crusade to remove all Christian symbols from the public view.” Again, you omit critical information in your false assertions. A coalition of religious individuals is also suing, including: Joan Dietz, an active member of the Episcopal Church; Gale Stewart, a practicing New Testament Christian; Teresa Grider, a practicing solitary Wiccan, Pagan and Buddhist; Rabbi Eugene Levy; and the Reverend Vic Nixon, a Methodist minister.

          All of these individuals joined together to defend our religious freedom, which is based on the constitutional separation of religion and government.

          • Croquet_Player

            I’m afraid he’s quite right, B1jetmech. But I like you anyway. So, let’s get down to brass tacks. Stuffing is inside or outside of the bird? Or is it called dressing, and in which case? Also, replay in baseball. Yea or Nay? What say you? Finally, and this is important to me personally, how long does a pitcher have to go from no movement to balk? It seems to me a sliding scale, and I think we should either pick a set time, or go with various umps interpretations. We can’t do both. This is baseball we’re talking about. Very serious matters.

          • B1jetmech

            Do tell how their religious freedom is threatened?

          • Guzzman

            Religious freedom is always at risk when government uses the force of law to take a position on religious beliefs. From the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty website:

            “The separation of church and state, or the ‘wall of separation’ talked about by Colonial Baptist Roger Williams, early American leader Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. Supreme Court, is simply a shorthand metaphor for expressing a deeper truth: religious liberty is best protected when church and state are institutionally separated and neither tries to perform or interfere with the essential mission and work of the other. Separation has been good for both church and state.”

            – Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, “Mission and History”

          • B1jetmech

            Back then, they knew what tyranny is under the King of England who was in charge of the church of England which became a corrupt institution.

            The founders, knowing first hand of that set up to where government could not influence our religious institutions.

            On top of that, the states back then had official denominational endorsements. Did they go away? yes, on their oversation with wn as the American melting pot became more and more influential.

            But as you following my conversation with Brian over at PJmedia, the “wall of separation” phrase was added in SCOTUS’s ruling in 1947. Which may not be in the Constitution, the supreme court set the precedent.

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “the ‘wall of separation’ phrase was added in SCOTUS’s ruling in 1947. Which may not be in the Constitution, the supreme court set the precedent.” No, you’ve got it backwards. The Founders created a Constitution that separated religion and government used such language as “wall of separation between church and state”, “total separation of the church from the State”, “separation between religion & Gov’t in the Constitution”, “perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters”, “the line of separation between the rights of religion and the civil authority”, and so forth, to describe what they had achieved. The Founders set the precedent for separating religion and government, not the Supreme Court.

            The Supreme Court followed suit as early as Reynolds v. United States (1879) by arguing that Jefferson’s writings concerning a wall of separation between church and state “may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.” Notice that 1879 comes before 1947.

          • B1jetmech

            No, you’ve got it backwards. The Founders created a Constitution that separated religion and government and used such language as “wall of separation between church and state”

            Actually, it was the Framers wrote the Constitution…if I’m not mistaken, non of the founders were a part in drafting and ratifying of the Constitution except for lobbying support. Jefferson was in France and Franklin was too old, yet he did attend that convention.

            The Constitution was ratified in 1787…ten years after the founding of the nation and it replaced the original articles of confederation.

            As far as courts injecting their rulings onto the Constitution let’s read some of Jefferson’s responses:

            “The question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches.”

            —Thomas Jefferson to W. H. Torrance, 1815. ME 14:303

            “But the Chief Justice says, ‘There must be an ultimate arbiter somewhere.’ True, there must; but does that prove it is either party? The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress or of two-thirds of the States. Let them decide to which they mean to give an authority claimed by two of their organs. And it has been the peculiar wisdom and felicity of our Constitution, to have provided this peaceable appeal, where that of other nations is at once to force.”

            —Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823. ME 15:451

            “The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”

            —Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804. ME 11:51

            Here’s a good on

            “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”

            —Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:277

            Judging by these few writings of Jefferson in regards to the courts, he feared they could rule as an oligarch and usurp power unto themselves.

            The three branches are defined and use of their power is explained in the Constitution.

            The judicial branch is the one that should be the weakest of the three and yet it is using power it does not have to begin with and creating precedents that are not written in the Constitution.

            So, the ocurt may say in Reynolds v. US(1879) that Jefferson’s writings can be included , well that is up to Congress since they hold the power to legislate.

          • Guzzman

            Jefferson’s letter regarding a wall of separation between church and state is one of the most important constitutional law documents in existence. It documents a Founding Father stating that the First Amendment creates a wall of separation between religion and government.

            The letter was written in President Jefferson’s official capacity as Chief Executive of the United States, was reviewed by Attorney General Levi Lincoln and other government officials, and reflected Jefferson’s official interpretation of the First Amendment as a Founding Father. The letter was published in local newspapers of the time. This was not a personal, private letter like the other ones you quoted regarding judicial review.

            In Reynolds v. United States (1879) the Supreme Court argued that Jefferson’s interpretation as expressed in this letter “may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.”. To argue that the Supreme Court invented wall of separation principle in 1947 is a lie. James Madison also wrote many times that the Constitution and the religious clauses of the First Amendment have the effect of creating a separation between religion and government.

            Much later, Jefferson did write as a private citizen about the issue of judicial review. The Constitution grants judicial power to the Supreme Court in Article III: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court.” The specifics of what that “judicial power” entailed was resolved in Marbury v. Madison (1803). The Supreme Court decided that it was the legislature’s role to make the laws and the court’s role to decide and declare what the law is in actual cases. The Court further held that in deciding what the law is with respect to the Constitution, the Court necessarily must decide whether a particular statute enacted by Congress conforms to the Constitution.

            The Congress or the President (Jefferson at the time), co-equal branches of the government (consisting largely of Founders as of 1803), or the states or We the People could have challenged the Court’s authority to decide it had the power it said it had, but they did not and instead accepted and ratified the Court’s decision. And their collective consent has been part of the foundation of U.S. Constitutional law and history for well over two centuries now.

            If you are opposed to an independent judiciary and judicial review, what possible alternative would you propose? It is the very basis for constitutional law. The United States has never known any other approach in all of its history.

          • Guzzman

            I’m not sure what your problem is with Everson v. Board of Education. All nine Supreme Court justices in Everson read the Constitution to call for separation of church and state, and indeed all parties in the case and all “friends of the court” briefs did so (including briefs from various religious groups representing Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, and Baptists). No one disputed the separation principle, only how it should be applied to the specific details of the case. The majority opinion provided a detailed history of the separation principle and cited Reynolds v. U.S. (1879) which stated that Jefferson’s metaphorical description of the separation principle was “an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.” It also cited Madison’s legislative efforts in Virginia to apply the separation principle in rejecting a bill that would use taxpayer money to support churches.

            Get over it, you lost the separation of religion and government debate. It was hardly invented in 1947, as Everson so abundantly demonstrated. If you don’t like Jefferson’s metaphor, try out some of Madison”s phrases. Madison also wrote many times that the Constitution and the religious clauses of the First Amendment have the effect of creating a separation between religion and government, and used such phrases as “total separation of the church from the State”, “separation between religion & Gov’t in the Constitution”, “perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters”, and “the line of separation between the rights of religion and the civil authority.”

            And yes, Jefferson did write as a private citizen about the issue of judicial review. The Constitution grants judicial power to the Supreme Court in Article III: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court.” The specifics of what that “judicial power” entailed was resolved in Marbury v. Madison (1803). The Supreme Court decided that it was the legislature’s role to make the laws and the court’s role to decide and declare what the law is in actual cases. The Court further held that in deciding what the law is with respect to the Constitution, the Court necessarily must decide whether a particular statute enacted by Congress conforms to the Constitution.

            The Congress or the President (Jefferson at the time), co-equal branches of the government (consisting largely of Founders as of 1803), or the states or We the People could have challenged the Court’s authority to decide it had the power it said it had, but they did not and instead accepted and ratified the Court’s decision. And their collective consent has been part of the foundation of U.S. constitutional law and history for well over two centuries now.

            If you are opposed to an independent judiciary and judicial review, what possible alternative would you propose? It is the very basis for constitutional law. The United States has never known any other approach in all of its history.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            “the “wall of separation” phrase was added in SCOTUS’s ruling in 1947.”

            That phrase was first used by Thomas Jefferson himself. It was what he said the First Amendment created, a “wall of separation between church and state.”

          • B1jetmech

            That phrase was first used by Thomas Jefferson himself. It was what he said the First Amendment created, a “wall of separation between church and state.”

            “Separation of Church and state” phrase was originally in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist church in 1801 was an assurance that the government would not interfere with church like it the king of England did. It had no bearing on law until Justice Hugo Black used it in the majority writing in the Everson decision that set a precedent in future court rulings.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            Sure, it’s “an assurance that the government would not interfere with the church”…but it works both ways, doesn’t it? If you try to keep government out of the church without keeping the church out of the government….well, good luck with that. A “wall of separation” separates things one both sides from the other.

          • B1jetmech

            but it works both ways, doesn’t it?
            Because it was a check on government to prevent their influence into freedom of religion.

            How can a church run the government when we already have a Constitution that defines how the federal government works? It can’t and is virtually impossible.

            That “wall of separation” phrase is NOT in the Constitution.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            I’m not talking about a church running the government necessarily, but the possibility of one having undue influence over the government. If that were to happen, what do you think might happen to that freedom of religion we’re talking about?

            “That “wall of separation” phrase is NOT in the Constitution.”

            No, it is not….BUT, no less than Jefferson himself thought that that was what the First Amendment gave us. Or, maybe this is a better example, from James Madison (the guy who WROTE the thing!):

            “Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and &
            Gov’t in the Constitution of the United States the danger of
            encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by
            precedents already furnished in their short history (Detached Memoranda, circa 1820).”

            Hmm, sounds a lot like what I was talking about just now….he wasn’t even talking about government ‘encroaching’ into religion there.

          • B1jetmech

            If that were to happen, what do you think might happen to that freedom of religion we’re talking about?

            Nothing. Because historically, it never happened at the federal levels so how cold it happen now?

            It is paranoid assumption on the part of atheists/agnostics to assume the church would be a “V for vendetta” type on our government. Nothing could be further from the truth.

            No, it is not….BUT, no less than Jefferson himself thought that that was what the First Amendment gave us. Or, maybe this is a better example, from James Madison (the guy who WROTE the thing!):

            Jefferson wasn’t at the constitution convention, he was in France. He took no part in drafting the constitution or the Bill of rights.

            Hmm, sounds a lot like what I was talking about just now….he wasn’t even talking about government ‘encroaching’ into religion there.

            Except Madison was speaking at a federal level which I agree with him, HOWEVER, Madison along with Jefferson ever intended for their letters to used as law in future supreme court cases that set a precedent.

            According to them, the Establishment clause was never intended to ban the invocation of God in a public forum or voluntary participation in ceremonies of rites that recognized God”.

            Once again, the supreme court inserted the “wall of separation phrase” in it’s majority ruling..creating the precedent of secularizing our schools which we are paying the price today.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            “Once again, the supreme court inserted the “wall of separation phrase”
            in it’s majority ruling..creating the precedent of secularizing our
            schools which we are paying the price today.”

            Of course, that is the Supreme Court’s job, after all; to interpret the Constitution and how it applies to things. They used the phrase which Jefferson used and which Madison pretty much said the same thing in doing that. They might have never intended for their letters to be used as a precedent, but I think they’re a pretty good way to illustrate what they thought. Especially that Madison quote, it practically spells it out.

          • B1jetmech

            Of course, that is the Supreme Court’s job, after all; to interpret the Constitution and how it applies to things.

            Their job is not rewrite law and use back door methods to amend the Constitution.

            We have constitutional procedures for that through congress as well as amendments. The Constitution is clear in Article 1 Section 1 that legislative power is only on Congress…not the courts, the bloated departments and agencies.

            Article 3 section II clause 2 is clear as far as the supreme courts powers extend:

            In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, [both as to law and fact,]amd with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

            The Supreme court is subjected only to the laws passed by congress, it cannot usurp legislative powers from congress and congress cannot give up those constitutional powers.

            Does the constitutional state how many justices can be seated on the supreme court? No, that is up to congress. Does the Constitution define the inferior court structure of the nation? No, that is up to Congress.

            Congress wields power that is defined in the Constitution, hence why the framers entrusted them with the legislative processes. It was the fist Congress that set up the federal judiciary as well as the supreme court.

            They used the phrase which Jefferson used and which Madison pretty much said the same thing in doing that. They might have never intended for their letters to be used as a precedent, but I think they’re a pretty good way to illustrate what they thought. Especially that Madison quote, it practically spells it out.

            Again, Jefferson and Madison would strongly object to the censoring of religious expression on public grounds…especially Madison for her was a pastor himself.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            I think “jurisdiction as to both law and fact” is the key phrase right there. That means they have the power to interpret the laws. AKA judicial review. Personally I think that’s a good thing.

          • Guzzman

            Lily Of The Valley – I have been following your thread with B1jetmech, and I am very impressed with your arguments. B1jetmech acts as if the Supreme Court invented the whole separation of religion and government concept in the Everson case (1947). That is bogus, of course. As you pointed out, Madison provided an abundance of plain language describing the separation principle. Here is one of my favorite Madison quotes:

            “The settled opinion here [in the United States] is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both.” (Letter to Edward Everett, Montpellier, March 18, 1823).

            Madison wrote many times that the Constitution and the religious clauses of the First Amendment have the effect of creating a separation between religion and government, and used such phrases as “total separation of the church from the State”, “separation between religion & Gov’t in the Constitution”, “perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters”, and “the line of separation between the rights of religion and the civil authority.”

            You are also correct about judicial review. The Constitution grants judicial power to the Supreme Court in Article III: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court.” The specifics of what that “judicial power” entailed was resolved in Marbury v. Madison (1803). The Supreme Court decided that it was the legislature’s role to make the laws and the court’s role to decide and declare what the law is in actual cases. The Court further held that in deciding what the law is with respect to the Constitution, the Court necessarily must decide whether a particular statute enacted by Congress conforms to the Constitution.

            The Congress or the President (Jefferson at the time), co-equal branches of the government (consisting largely of Founders as of 1803), or the states or “We the People” could have challenged the Court’s authority to decide it had the power it said it had, but they did not and instead accepted and ratified the Court’s decision. And their collective consent has been part of the foundation of U.S. constitutional law and history for well over two centuries now.

          • B1jetmech

            I don’t see your comment appearing here so I will paste it.

            I’m
            not sure what your problem is with Everson v. Board of Education. All
            nine Supreme Court justices in Everson read the Constitution to call for
            separation of church and state, .

            Actually, it was only Hugo Black who inserted that phrase into the majority ruling. and the decision was split 5-4 not 9…so it wasn’t a unanimous decision.

            Hugo Black was a great admirer of Jefferson but he doesn’t mention Madison’s…only Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist church.

            No one disputed the separation principle, only how it should
            be applied to the specific details of the case.

            Actually, both Jefferson and Madison would never support a court that rules religious expression cannot be allowed on public setting. Yeah, they supported separation of church and state but only as a check on government.

            The majority opinion
            provided a detailed history of the separation principle and cited
            Reynolds v. U.S. (1879) which stated that Jefferson’s metaphorical
            description of the separation principle was “an authoritative
            declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.” It also
            cited Madison’s leg
            islative efforts in Virginia to apply the separation principle in
            rejecting a bill that would use taxpayer money to support churches.

            The court can rule on it but it will be non binding for Congress has the power to legislate per Article 1 Section 1 of the constitution.

            Get
            over it, you lost the separation of religion and government debate.

            Oh no…in fact, i am doing my part in enlightening others to think for themselves on constitutional issues. Cone are the days of just accepting it without question. This whole dilemma with the runaway courts has gotten the American people angry because they are tired of seeing their vote thrown out in favor of some judge’s opinion wrapped up as a constitutional.

            It took decades to get, it will take decades to get back.

            It
            was hardly invented in 1947, as Everson so abundantly demonstrated.

            No, the phrase “separation of church and state” was inserted into a supreme court ruling that was binding…because it was binding, it created a precedent.

            Whether in Jefferson’s letter or Madison’s, it is non binding. In order to facilitate the phrase as part of constitutional law, it is inserted into a supreme court ruling and goes unchallenged by congress…because congress is lazy.

            If
            you don’t like Jefferson’s metaphor, try out some of Madison”s phrases.
            Madison also wrote many times that the Constitution and the religious
            clauses of the First Amendment have the effect of creating a separation
            between religion and government,

            The issue is about Jefferson or Madison…the issue is misusing their phrases, adding it to a supreme court ruling to create a precedent that would eventually secularize American public education institutions with no room for debate.

            So, now we have an issue with the first amendment. Congress cannot establish a religion, okay. So no religious expression is permitted n our public schools because of the establishment clause. Well, the establishment clause was created with precedent along with the “wall of separation” in the Everson decision.

            The establish clause REALLY MEANS can’t have religious expression on public property even though it doesn’t say that because the supreme court said so.

            I never hear of Jefferson an Madison stating as such. In fact, they didn’t want the government telling the church what to do more then any thing regarding the first amendment. Madison duked it out at a state level in Virginia and was jailed for not agreeing to laws that favored a certain denomination. He didn’t want that a federal level.

            then we have the “free exercise of” clause which means people be free with their religious expression in their own homes or churches…because the supreme court said so…not the first amendment.

            So, are peoples freedoms being violated for not being able to express their religious beliefs on public property? The answer is yes if we were to take the 1st amendment as organic.

            And
            yes, Jefferson did write as a private citizen about the issue of
            judicial review. The Constitution grants judicial power to the Supreme
            Court in Article III: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be
            vested in one Supreme Court.” The specifics of what that “judicial
            power” entailed was resolved in Marbury v. Madison (1803). The Supreme
            Court decided that it was the legislature’s role to make the laws and
            the court’s role to decide and declare what the law is in actual cases.
            The Court further held that in deciding what the law is with respect to
            the Constitution, the Court necessarily must decide whether a particular
            statute enacted by Congress conforms to the Constitution.

            Those quotes I left of Jefferson’s disgust over the supreme courts ruling in Marbury vs. Madison did that register at all???

            You like to quote Jefferson’s non binding letter to the Danbury Baptist Church but his criticism of the courts and their potential harm they do to our balance of power and legislative process seem to fall on deaf ears, now why is that?

            The ones who are thankful for marbury vs. Madison are the courts and the progressives, because it was their back door into bypassing the legislative process.

            M vs.M was the first time SCOTUS usurp power for themselves.

            If you read Article 3 Section 2 clause 2 it states:

            In all the other
            Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and
            under such Regulations as the Congress shall make
            .

            So, what we have here is the supreme court’s jurisdiction defined…and that is in the realms of Congress.

            After all does the Constitution state how many justices should be on the supreme court? No, that is left to congress. In fact, FDR threatened to pack the court because they were ruling against his new deal policies.

            Does the Constitution define the structure of the federal courts? No, that to, is left to Congress.

            The powers of Congress are defined as well as the executive branch but Judaical are as well and they don’t include the power to legislate (through fake interpretation). Because, we all know interpretation is just a nomenclature as to what the courts really do in some when they abuse their power.

            If
            you are opposed to an independent judiciary and judicial review, what
            possible alternative would you propose? It is the very basis for
            constitutional law.

            But we don’t have an independent judicatory, not if they steal power from Congress…or steal power from the executive branch.

            When the court rules on everything from immigration to social issues, rather let federalism reign from state to state, then they are not independent but an oligarch.

          • Guzzman

            My replies to you, and only you, keep getting zapped so I will keep this short. I notice you make a lot of factual errors. For example, you wrote ” Actually, it was only Hugo Black who inserted that phrase into the majority ruling. and the decision was split 5-4 not 9…so it wasn’t a unanimous decision. ” The truth is, all nine Supreme Court justices in Everson read the Constitution to call for separation of church and state, and indeed all parties in the case and all “friends of the court” briefs did so (including briefs from various religious groups representing Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, and Baptists). No one disputed the separation principle, only how it should be applied to the specific details of the case. The decision whether providing transportation for parochial school students violated the Establishment Clause was split, but all nine justices agreed that the Establishment Clause does indeed provide a constitutional separation of religion and government.

            You falsely try to characterize the majority opinion in Everson as some sort of misappropriation of Jefferson’s letter regarding the constitutional separation of religion and government. It was hardly the basis for the Everson decision. As I already mentioned, the majority opinion provided the historical and legislative context in which the Constitution and First Amendment were drafted, explaining the Madison’s interpretation much more so than Jefferson’s, and only after summarizing its analysis and writing its conclusion did the Court refer to Jefferson’s letter, and that was merely to reference his wall of separation metaphor as a way to brand the opinion’s summary and conclusion. The claim that the majority opinion based its decision entirely or even mostly on that letter is bogus.

          • B1jetmech

            For example, you wrote ” Actually, it was only Hugo Black who inserted that phrase into the majority ruling.

            Which he did and not the other justices, though, the majority opinion did agree to having that phrase in the opinion.

            The truth is, all nine Supreme Court justices in Everson read the
            Constitution to call for separation of church and state, and indeed all
            parties in the case and all “friends of the court” briefs did so
            (including briefs from various religious groups representing Catholics,
            Seventh Day Adventists, and Baptists)

            This is where you lose me because I just cannot understand for the life of me what point you are driving home.

            It’s not the outcome of the case we’re disputing, it’s a phrase put into a decision that effected future court outcomes against religious expression.

            If the framers wanted to have no religious expression on public property, then it would have been put into the Constitution. However, the Constitution isn’t a check on religion but on government.

            As I already mentioned, the majority opinion provided the historical and
            legislative context in which the Constitution and First Amendment were
            drafted,

            Madison would have never agreed to to prohibiting religious expression in schools and public property because he as a very devout Christian and pastor.

            His writings stem from his personal experienced at a state level where they had official denominations, mandatory church attendance, ect. He saw how it can be abused and rightly so..wanted the federal government to not take part in that kind of endorsed sectarianism which I completely agree. But I will stress again that Madison would never endorse muzzling religious expression in public property.

            BTW, there were other signers of the Constitution as well who played roles. So, I wouldn’t limit it to Madison.

            Just as I wouldn’t limit the founding to just Jefferson.

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “Madison would have never agreed to to prohibiting religious expression in schools and public property because he as a very devout Christian and pastor.” I seriously doubt Madison was a “devout Christian” in any conventional sense. A pastor? Seriously? Madison kept a low profile when it came to religion. His religious opinions were closer to deism. Regardless, his personal religious beliefs were irrelevant. What we do know is that he strongly adhered to the belief that religion and government should be separate, and he left abundant documentation saying so.

            You seem to not understand the meaning of the religious clauses (drafted by Madison). The Establishment Clause prohibits government from promoting religion. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits government from interfering in the religious beliefs of private citizens. Students can read the Bible and pray at school as long as it does not interfere with instructional time or create a disruption.

            What is prohibited is the government imposing religion on students or sponsoring a permanent, stand-alone religious display on government property. The government cannot give the appearance of taking a position on religious matters. The government can’t give preferential treatment to one religious viewpoint over another, unless it creates an open forum to accommodate all viewpoints. The state of Arkansas has not declared its Capitol grounds an open forum for religious expression. It has installed a religious display on its property that conveys the message that non-Christians and non-believers are outsiders in their own community – that is blatantly unconstitutional.

          • Guzzman

            I will try once again to explain what SCOTUS had to say about the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment in Everson v. Board of Education. The 9 Justices were split over the question of whether a NJ policy reimbursing private school students for bus fare was constitutional. The Justices had to decide whether the policy gave support to religion, with the majority (5 out of 9) concluding the payments were “separate and so indisputably marked off from the religious function” that they did not violate the Constitution.

            Even the dissenting Justices were UNANIMOUS that the Constitution requires a separation between government and religion. As I wrote earlier – all 9 Justices in Everson read the Constitution to call for a separation of religion and government, and all parties and amicus briefs from various religious groups did so. No one disputed the Establishment Clause interpretation, only how it should be applied to that particular case.

            It’s misleading to claim that only Hugo Black interpreted the Establishment Clause to mandate a separation between religion and government. All 9 Justices decisively came to that conclusion. And no, Black was not the only Justice to use Jefferson’s metaphor. Justice Rutledge also used the term “separation between Church and State” to describe the effect of the Establishment Clause, though he did not specifically credit Jefferson. And never mind that the Supreme Court back in 1879 already pronounced that Jefferson’s metaphor was “an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.”

          • B1jetmech

            I will try once again to explain what SCOTUS had to say about the Establishment Clause

            I am not arguing the case and it’s outcome, what I am emphasizing is Hugo Black’s using his position of supreme court justice, inserted in to the majority ruling “wall of separation” phrase that set a precedent.

            What Black did was militarize the phrase where the 1879 court did no such thing but used Jefferson’s letter as a referral.

            If the other justices saw how their ruling would effect future court outcomes, I think they would have ruled in a different manner except for Hugo Black.

            No one disputed the Establishment Clause interpretation, only how it should be applied to that particular case.

            Sounds like a job left to Congress to rewrite and amend the first amendment, because this does not belong to the courts…even hiding behind “interpretation.

            We do have a process for amending, it’s in article 5 of the Constitution. Congress and the states are mentioned but NO reference to the supreme court. This is the problem we have, our legislative process has been corrupted because of the “independent” courts are usurping power from the legislative and executive bodies.

            It’s misleading to claim that only Hugo Black interpreted the
            Establishment Clause to mandate a separation between religion and
            government

            Let’s look at the key part of the ruling by Hugo Black:

            The “establishment of religion” clause of
            the First Amendment means at least this: neither a state nor the
            Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid
            one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.
            Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from
            church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief
            in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining

            or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or
            non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to
            support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be
            called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.
            Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly,
            participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups, and
            vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against
            establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of
            separation between church and State.” Reynolds v. United States, supra, at 98 U. S. 164.
            Page 330 U. S. 16

            This is by the hand of Hugo Black…looks like once again they rewrote the first amendment, further defining the federal government of what they can do and ignoring the tenth amendment basically watering down state sovereignty.

            Did Justice Rutledge have the same ideal as Black did? I doubt it, in fact, Justice Black shared his ideal with Rutledge and Rutledge thought “what a great ideal!” and went along…

            And never mind that the Supreme Court back in 1879 already pronounced
            that Jefferson’s metaphor was “an authoritative declaration of the scope
            and effect of the [First] Amendment.”

            Let’s take a look at that after what Jefferson’s letter:

            it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was de-prived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to
            reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of
            good order.

            It may be accepted almost as authoritative declaration of the scope and amendment secured?

            They are not using the Jefferson phrase as binding but for reference and if Congress wanted to integrate the phrase into the first amendment then they can…but they didn’t. So, this was just for reference only in reciting the Framers claims to how much involvement the government into religious practice. And, how far certain religions with certain practices can go before th government steps in. like polygamy in this case of Reynolds decision of 1879.

            Comparing the Reynolds decision to the Everson is like apples to oranges. Everson was used to rewrite the first amendment through the guise of “interpretation” where as Reynolds did no such thing except be the one of the first as such to limit practices of a certain religions’ beliefs in the case of polygamy. Reynolds did not militarize the first amendment and create an establishment clause.

            You wrote, “Madison would have never agreed to prohibiting religious
            expression in schools and public property because he as a very devout
            Christian and pastor

            I will retract my statement of him being a pastor, I got him mistaken for some other framer.

            Madison kept a low profile when it came to religion. His religious opinions were closer to deism. I doubt Madison was a deist, especially if he was reclusive. Never the less he was a proponent of religious liberty from Government and other denominations. He didn’t want the federal government to influence religion and didn’t

            want denominations forcing others to attend church and taxation at a state level. His State of Virginia had this problem, but the other states not to much even though these states had official recognition of denominations.

            Madison was no secularist, so let’s get that out of the way.

            What is prohibited is the government imposing religion on students or
            sponsoring a permanent, stand-alone religious display on government
            property.

            What’s ridiculous is atheists redefining everything that a mention of Christmas during the holidays is consider government endorsement.

            Heck, we sang Christmas songs back in school, it cause no harm to anyone…amazing!

            The government cannot give the appearance of taking a position on
            religious matters. The government can’t give preferential treatment to
            one religious viewpoint over another, unless it creates an open forum to
            accommodate all viewpoints.

            I know the first amendment states the federal government cannot endorse a certain religion but when states lose their sovereignty over the issue, I don’t find that in the first amendment. You find it in supreme court decisions…are you understanding where I am coming from???

            The state of Arkansas has not declared its Capitol grounds an open forum
            for religious expression. It has installed a religious display on its
            property that conveys the message that non-Christians and non-believers
            are outsiders in their own community – that is blatantly
            unconstitutional.

            Honestly, I don’t read anything of a sort in the constitution. Supreme court decisions, yes but nothing in the 1st amendment…I’m just trying to get you think here…

          • Guzzman

            Your interpretation of the Constitution is of no consequence. In very plain terms, Madison (long-honored as Father of the Constitution) wrote:

            “The settled opinion here [in the United States] is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both.” (Letter to Edward Everett, Montpellier, March 18, 1823).

            Madison helped frame an entirely secular Constitution – government authority is based on “we the people”, not some almighty deity.

            Your notion that the states somehow have the authority to establish religion is false. The 14th Amendment and later court precedent extended the Bill of Rights to state governments, and that would include the 1st Amendment prohibiting government from taking a position on religious beliefs.

            Justice Black did not amend the Constitution in Everson v. Board of Education. To claim that Jefferson’s metaphor was the basis for setting a precedent in Everson is outlandish. Anyone reading the case can easily see that Jefferson’s metaphor was simply used as a colorful catchprase to summarize legislative history and nothing more. All 9 justices in that case, not just Black, said the Constitution requires a “separation between Church and State” (to quote Justice Rutledge). And even if Everson or the 14th Amendment didn’t exist, you’d still have the problem that all state constitutions have some form of separation of religion and government embedded in them.

          • Guzzman

            I prefer Madison’s interpretation of the Constitution over yours. In very plain terms, Madison (long-honored as Father of the Constitution) wrote:

            “The settled opinion here [in the United States] is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both.” (Letter to Edward Everett, Montpellier, March 18, 1823).

            Madison helped frame an entirely secular Constitution separate from religion – government authority is based on “we the people”, not some almighty deity. Your notion that the states somehow have the authority to establish religion is false. The 14th Amendment and later court precedent extended the Bill of Rights to state governments, and that included the 1st Amendment prohibiting government from taking a position on religious beliefs.

            Justice Black did not “amend” the Constitution in Everson v. Board of Education. To claim Jefferson’s metaphor was the basis for setting a precedent in Everson is outlandish. Anyone reading the case can easily see that Jefferson’s metaphor was simply used as a colorful catchprase to summarize legislative history and nothing more. All 9 justices in that case, not just Black, said the Constitution requires a “separation between Church and State” (to quote Justice Rutledge). And even if Everson or the 14th Amendment didn’t exist, you’d still have the problem that all state constitutions have some form of separation of religion and government embedded in them.

          • B1jetmech

            I prefer Madison’s interpretation of the Constitution over yours.

            That’s fine, but since the ratification of the Constitution and Madison’s presidency, we have had constitutional events occurring that Madison himself would NOT agree to let alone the states.

            Now, we can just focus on one of the Framers such as Madison however, there were dozens of others who were in involved in the writing of the Constitution and then onto the Bill of Rights.

            In very plain terms, Madison (long-honored as Father of the Constitution) wrote

            Now if Madison had came up with the ideals of Communism later on life and put them on paper years after the ratification of the constitution of 1787. Should those ideals hold any bearing on the Constitution even though they are not in it?

            Madison helped frame an entirely secular Constitution where government
            authority is based on “we the people”, not some almighty deity.

            Our constitution is neither secular or religious.

            Your
            notion that the states somehow have the authority to establish religion
            is false.

            The states already had official denominations at the founding of the nation and through the ratification of the constitution in 1787…there was absolutely nothing in writing that prohibited them form doing so.

            Whatever happened to these official state endorsed denominations? they went away on their own because of the “melting pot” that bestows this nation like nowhere else.

            The 14th Amendment and later court precedent extended the Bill of Rights
            to state governments, and that included the 1st Amendment prohibiting
            government from taking a position on religious beliefs.</I.

            The 14th amendment had nothing to do with religious expression. The whole reason in the first place for the existence of the 14th amendment was Dredd Scott decision that denied former slaves standing to sue in court.

            After fighting a bloody civil war and uniting the nation the congress and the states were not going to let the supreme court chip away at the progress of freeing the slaves so they came up with 13th and 14th amendments during reconstruction.

            Had the supreme court ruled the other way the 14th amendment would not have existed except for some other cause.

            The 14th Amendment and later court precedent extended the Bill
            of Rights to state governments, and that included the 1st Amendment
            prohibiting government from taking a position on religious beliefs.

            Well, amendment the Constitution to say as such.

            Justice Black did not “amend” the Constitution in Everson v. Board of Education.

            Officially no but it has the bearing of amending.

            Anyone reading the case can easily see that Jefferson’s metaphor was
            simply used as a colorful catchprase to summarize legislative history
            and nothing more.

            Apparently, it was the basis for the newly thought up establishment clause that to was invented in the Everson decision. And just about every similar court case since then etches in the stone of rulings that “Wall of separation phrase”

            you’d still have the problem that all state constitutions have some form

            you’d still have the problem that all state constitutions have some
            form of separation of religion and government embedded in them.

            That is perfectly fine and legal, why? Because of Federalism. That each state is independent legislate as they please. That power was spelled out in the 10th amendment that courts conveniently overlook.

          • B1jetmech

            So as long they fall with in the regulations that Congress makes.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            But what if “the regulations that Congress makes” include unconstitutional laws? Sounds like a good idea to me to have some people whose job it is to review that sort of thing if it comes up in a court case….

          • B1jetmech

            What if the supreme court rubber stamp unconstitutional laws?

            It did back in the 1930’s during FDR’s New deal when at first SCOTUS found some of the laws unconstitutional…which FDR to threaten to pack the court to “his” people on there but didn’t because some justices retired and finally FDR got to put his people in there…one of them being Hugo Black and Klansman and lawyer for the Klan.

            Social security was finally ruled constitutional when the court called it a “tax”.

            So, the supreme court more then does it part usher in big government institutions that go against the Constitution.

        • james blue

          If a standalone monument to the tenets of Islam, Wicca etc. was erected outside a courthouse or state building do you think Atheists wouldn’t object?

          • B1jetmech

            Did those religions have anything to do with our founding?

          • james blue

            Actually yes, there were people of many faiths in the land at our founding.

            However I was responding to this

            .Now, you if you’re understanding me…I am mocking the atheists and their crusade to remove all Christian symbols from the public view.

          • B1jetmech

            There were probably many faiths at the founding but did they have anything to do with our founding???

  • Lily Of The Valley

    Why have a Ten Commandments monument at a government building when only 2 or maybe 3 (that’s if you take “false witness” to mean “perjury”) have any parallels in our laws, and the other ones would mostly either be unenforceable or unconstitutional?

    • Croquet_Player

      Excellent question. The argument is not that some of the “Ten Commandments” make very good sense. (Or that some of them don’t either). That is a matter of personal opinion. The point is that it is a distinctly religious monument on public property. It doesn’t matter whose religion it is, or if you think some points may or may not be true. It’s a religious monument, and as such, should be placed anywhere on private property, including church grounds. People may erect all the religious monuments they like. On private property.

  • Croquet_Player

    It is important to note that the only restrictions on monuments of any kind, religious or not, on private property, are strictly building code related, and purely for human safety. None of us have the right to erect some large heavy thing for any reason, without due good practice structural work to support it. I may not erect a forty foot cement cross or “A” atheist symbol in my tiny front yard or back garden. Or indeed on my 100 acre western ranch. I may if it meets all building codes. That’s the only thing.

    • Ben Welliver

      Hang a big red A in the window of your trailer.

      • Croquet_Player

        I see you’re tying to make fun of people who live in trailers. Perhaps because you think they’re “poor”, and poverty is something to be mocked. Well, you’ve quite turned me around on the issue. I imagine if I leave my home I will find very nice people, of all faiths, and no faith, who live in trailers. I look forward to meeting them. And I will help us all hang up whatever symbols we like in our own windows. And we’ll all be terribly relieved you’re not our neighbor. (But you’ll be welcome of course at our small yet festive holiday parties. Who are we to judge?)

  • Susan Perelka

    Abba Father, I pray for the lost individuals who come to this website, that You would reveal Jesus Christ to them by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive them Father, they do not know what they are doing. Have mercy on them and open their blind eyes to Your truth. Help them to see the amazing gift You are offering them. Let them see their true spiritual condition and how the enemy is deceiving them. Convict them of their sins and show them the way of redemption through Christ Jesus. Thank You Lord, for Your long-suffering towards us. Thank You Lord for providing Jesus, the just and the justifier. Your perfect justice and love poured out on that cross. What amazing grace! Help these individuals to see it. Thank You Lord, for saving us. I ask this through the wonderful name of Jesus, our amazing Lord and Savior. AMEN

    • James C. Robinson (III)

      Susan Perelka, Hallelujah! Amen to that prayer to the LORD All-Powerful!❤😂🎵🎶

  • Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

  • No one’s religious freedom is in jeopardy because of a Judeo/Christian monument of the Ten Commandments. Tell the professionally hurt and upset whiners “NO”.

    And NO you cannot put a monument to Satan next to it or anywhere else in our town.

    • Lily Of The Valley

      If you’re only interested in your own religious freedom but not those of others, that’s not really religious freedom.

      • And that makes no sense.

        • Lily Of The Valley

          I’ll put it another way: True religious freedom is when those of all religions are treated equally, and no one religion is given preferential treatment…which you just said yourself you’re not in favor of.

          • If accepting for myself and my family anything or anyone but the one true God of the Bible then no……….I am not in favor of religious freedom.

          • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

            Amen to that!

          • Lily Of The Valley

            What he said really didn’t have anything to do with what I was talking about, though. What if you lived in a country with an official state religion that was the only one that was allowed…..and it wasn’t Christianity? I think you’d be concerned about your freedom of religion then, would you not? (which, btw, I think is a better way to put it than “religious freedom”)

          • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

            Are you going to silence me by taking away by voice again? 🙁

          • Lily Of The Valley

            I do not have the power to do that. That would be the moderator or moderators here. If you have an issue with your comments being removed, seek them out and take that up with them. I am not them.

          • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

            I find it to be sad when Christians are silenced on a Christian site 🙁 I promise this will be my last response to you.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            Sad as it might be, I am not the one doing that. Again, take that up with the moderators here, not me.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            That’s not even what I’m talking about, though. I think it’s one of the
            great things about this country, and one of the things the Founding
            Fathers themselves believed in very strongly, (just look up some quotes from Jefferson sometime) that you and I are free to
            believe whatever we want and are free to express that belief, whatever
            it may be (as long as in doing that, we are not infringing on the rights
            of others, or breaking any laws, of course). It’s precisely because of
            that that you are free to “accept for yourself and your family” what
            you believe in, and respecting the rights of others to do the same
            doesn’t change that in any way.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            I’m not sure if my comments are getting marked as spam or not now, so I apologize if this is just basically a rehash of what you might have already read, but anyway….

            How does the freedom of religion of others have any impact on what you “accept for yourself and your family,” though? That’s one of the great things about this country, that we have the freedom to believe as we wish and express that belief as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others, or break any laws, of course.

            And, I guess this is going off on a bit of a tangent, but I couldn’t help noticing you said you accept belief in God not just for yourself, but for your family as well? You’re saying you decide what the rest of your family believes?

          • First let me say that I am not wanting to change our Constitution over this. It has an impact on me, you and everyone else when false gods are elevated above the one and true God. All one has to do is look at the turmoil and erosion of the moral fabric that holds our society together.

            God gives all of us the right to choose Him or reject Him but those decisions have consequences that we are seeing the fruit of.
            ———————
            Joshua 24:15 New King James Version (NKJV)
            15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of [a]the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

          • Lily Of The Valley

            “God gives all of us the right to choose Him or reject Him”

            Well….then why don’t you believe in the government giving people that right as well?

          • Did I not say….”First let me say that I am not wanting to change our Constitution over this.”

          • Lily Of The Valley

            Okay, fair enough…then I guess I don’t get how you are not in favor of religious freedom when you wouldn’t want to change the laws that give it.

          • Because I know the one and only true God and I really do care about the eternal souls of others, I feel the way I do about the issue of false gods and look forward to the day when all prophecy is fulfilled and all of this heartache and nonsense that causes it is over and done with.

          • Lily Of The Valley

            I think we’re talking about two different things here.

          • Lonborghini Funghini

            Doug, all who worship other gods and those who worship no gods would heartily disagree with your assertion that you “know the one and only true God.” Many would also disagree with your assertion regarding the existence of souls, eternal or otherwise. While you are free to believe whatever nonsense you like, the rest of us will freely dismiss your assertions as nonsense which we have no inclination to take seriously.

          • I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks of me and what I KNOW to be true. It amazes me how you and others like you know nothing about God and His Holy Word but yet claim to be experts on the subject.

            Quit being afraid and cowardly about what you claim to know but don’t know and put forth an honest effort to learn the truth instead of hiding in the shadows.

          • James C. Robinson (III)

            Mr. Doug Bristow, “Hallelujah” to that!

          • Amen.

          • James C. Robinson (III)

            Yeah, thank the LORD for your speaking truthfully about Him being the LORD God Almighty alone & no other! Hosanna!❤😂🎵🎶

  • Dave Foda

    As soon as these hyper-Christian legislators get it through their thick skulls that Christian monuments CANNOT stand alone on public land or with public funds, they’ll stop losing millions from their budgets. It’s illegal. Period.

  • Guest✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Atheists need to stop pushing their religion down everyone’s throats.

    • Lily Of The Valley

      I know, you’d rather be able to push your religion down everyone’s throats, right?

      • Rhesus Peanut Buttercup

        Atheism is a religion now? I must have missed the memo.

        • Lily Of The Valley

          I just read a good one the other day that I agree with: If atheism is a religion, then “unemployed” is a job.

          • Rhesus Peanut Buttercup

            I also like “and bald is a hair color”.

          • Bob Johnson

            Not collecting stamps is a hobby.

        • Croquet_Player

          “Off” is a T.V. channel. (I always enjoy these fun analogies!)

          • Rhesus Peanut Buttercup

            Naked is not a clothing style (I enjoy them too!)

    • Danny

      Religion is the worship of a creator. Atheist doesn’t believe in any creator there for is nothing more than animals like M.S. 13 gang stuck on their ignorant selves.

      • Guest✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        No it isn’t. The court spelled it out. Atheism is a religion.

        • Danny

          The courts are made up of a bunch of idiots with mostly no common sense and try and make laws their selves. Some can’t comprehend what they do read but they are not above our creator. Atheism is a belief in nothing. Believing in nothing is not a religon. It is nothing.

          • Guest✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Believing in nothing is still a belief in something. Atheism is a religion.

          • Danny

            The only ones that I think could believe that nothing is something are the ones that learned from Traitor Obamas brain washing socialist education system.

          • Guest✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            A belief in nothing is still a belief. If you believe something isn’t true, then you’ve built a belief system upon that supposition.

          • James C. Robinson (III)

            Yeah, Mr. Danny, concerning the choice to serve the LORD Almighty or the devil, I guess you’re right!

  • So, stopping Christians from interfering with other people’s lives and denying them the right to seek happiness according to the dictates of their hearts is the same as “shoving their “religion” down Christian’s throats? That is the extent of Christian “logic?”

    Every heard of the Establishment Clause?

  • LynnRH

    I think it’s BEUTIFUL!!!!!

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

      It is beautiful.

  • James C. Robinson (III)

    Hi, Heather Clark! However, Heaven forbid that those atheists & agnostics should’ve ever filed suit to challenge that monument of the LORD’s Ten Commandments at Arkansas State Capitol when years ago, on Mount Sinai, Heaven’s perfect King, the LORD God, Most High gave His perfect Law, yes those 10 Commandments through His lawgiver servant, Moses to show Israel & the whole world that we’ve all done wrong, sinned against, & disobeyed Him as well as that we need to call on, believe in, & wholeheartedly, genuinely, ask His only Begotten Son[& our God-Man], our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth to forevermore forgive & cleanse us from our sins, whether those atheists & agnostics believe this truth or not! Amen!❤