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Judgment Day looms for US Supreme Court on Ten Commandments cases
Yahoo (AFP) ^ | 22 June 2005

Posted on 06/22/2005 8:55:03 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal

Judgment Day looms for US Supreme Court on Ten Commandments cases

Wed Jun 22,12:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US political, religious and legal establishments are braced for two critical Supreme Court rulings on the Ten Commandments, weighing heavily on the separation of church and state.

The decision, expected as early as Thursday, could inflame conservative evangelical groups or opposing civil liberties lobbies, and thrust the court squarely into partisan politics.

And both sides of the divide will use whatever judgment day brings in the two cases to whip up partisans ahead of a looming battle over what could be imminent vacancies on the court bench.

Each case is born out of the religious and cultural struggle raging in modern America between radical evangelicals and advocates of the secular state.

The conservative religious right, a strong backer of

President George W. Bush, argues that the country is a "Christian" state and decry attempts to deny that heritage.

Civil liberties advocates however fear a tide of evangelical Christianity is eroding the politically sacred separation of church and state, and endangering the principle that all Americans, whatever their religion, are created equal.

The more contentious question before the court, legal experts say, is a challenge to the display of framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses of the Ten Commandments, which Christians and Jews believe God handed to Moses on Mount Sinai.

"This case will answer whether or not the government may hew to a particular religious viewpoint and chose Christianity because there have been Christians in our heritage," said Marci Hamilton of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

"Or whether the Supreme Court is going to take the heat, which it is going to get, and say there are some circumstances where the government cannot post the Ten Commandments despite their importance in our history and they must make it clear that every citizen is a citizen that is equal in the eyes of the law."

The second case surrounds the legality of a stone monument inscribed with the commandments and other religious symbols on the grounds of the Texas state legislature.

This may be easier to resolve than the Kentucky situation, as the monument was placed in a display of other historical monuments and was a private donation.

Therefore, justices could stake out a compromise position and argue that the display was not necessarily endorsed by the Texas state government, allowing it to fall within constitutional bounds.

The US Constitution's first amendment establishes the principle of separation of church and state, but how this should be interpreted remains unclear following numerous contradictory decisions by lower courts.

Justices may find a more delicate tightrope in the Kentucky case, as it was the government of McCreary County which put a plaque of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse, and defended the display through the courts.

It would be hard to argue therefore that the state government did not endorse the display, prompting some experts to believe the Supreme Court may come up with a split judgment on the Texas and Kentucky cases.

Differences over the cases were clear when the court took up the questions in March.

Appearing to endorse the displays, conservative justice

Antonin Scalia called them "the symbol that government derives its authority from God."

"I see nothing wrong with the government reflecting that. We're a tolerant society," Scalia said.

Liberal justice Stephen Breyer however countered that, although the US is a highly religious country, "we are also committed to secularism."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: judgmentday; supremecourt; tencommandments

1 posted on 06/22/2005 8:55:05 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: Thinkin' Gal

If you support the public display of the Ten Commandments then according to this article you are a "radical evangelical".


2 posted on 06/22/2005 8:58:04 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Texas_Jarhead

Of course if you oppose the public display of the Ten Commandments then you are merely one out a multitude of "advocates of the secular state".


3 posted on 06/22/2005 8:59:31 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Texas_Jarhead

I've always felt "Radical"!


4 posted on 06/22/2005 8:59:47 PM PDT by Scribbz
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To: Texas_Jarhead
No. I believe the term de jour is advocates of a Godless state....as if God demands that the state recognize Him on our behalf.
5 posted on 06/22/2005 9:01:06 PM PDT by jess35
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To: Thinkin' Gal; Texas_Jarhead

If they do away with - Thou shalt not kill - isn't that grounds for overturning ever murder conviction in the country? What will law be based on, what feels good now?


6 posted on 06/22/2005 9:01:38 PM PDT by anonsquared
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To: Thinkin' Gal
politically sacred separation of church and state

What a strange religion.

7 posted on 06/22/2005 9:02:08 PM PDT by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: anonsquared

Don't confuse God's law with secular law.


8 posted on 06/22/2005 9:05:51 PM PDT by jess35
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To: Thinkin' Gal

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

CONGRESS HASN'T

or ;

CONGRESS HASN'T

Will the Supremes prohibit the free exercise thereof?


9 posted on 06/22/2005 9:08:00 PM PDT by Vn_survivor_67-68
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To: Thinkin' Gal
The US Constitution's first amendment establishes the principle of separation of church and state.

News to me.

10 posted on 06/22/2005 9:12:22 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: jess35

Secular law is based on God's law. The question I was asking was if you eliminate God's law, what is secular law based on? And what it is based on today because of current public opinion can change tomorrow. What if islamic law wins out in the future? Does that make it okay to murder women who won't cover up properly? It's a slippery slope.


11 posted on 06/22/2005 9:20:59 PM PDT by anonsquared
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To: anonsquared

Listen, you're positing an opinion as a fact. Societies throughout time have had prohibitions against murder without ever having the benefit of receiving the "Word". To be honest, I'd rather know that someone doesn't kill their neighbor because they realize it is WRONG... because they have no right to deprive another of life...not because they're worried about what God will do.


12 posted on 06/22/2005 9:27:30 PM PDT by jess35
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To: thompsonsjkc; odoso; animoveritas; DaveTesla; mercygrace; Laissez-faire capitalist; ...

Moral Absolutes Ping.

Okay, time to start the ball rolling. I've been a little remiss in the pinging department, so here comes a bunch of them.

Here's a link to an article the other day with lots and lots of quotes by some of the wise men who founded our country, or were influential in its beginnings, and what have to say about moral absolutes and their source.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1426198/posts
Misquoting Our Founding Fathers

Freepmail me if you want on/off this pinglist.

Note: It seems crystal clear to me that when judges rule that 10 Commandments displays are verboten (along with a lot of other like decisions) they are forbidding freedom of religious expression; IOW they are exhibiting strong prejudice against religion, in favor of secularism. Is that Constitutional?

Ha.


13 posted on 06/22/2005 9:47:19 PM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: anonsquared; jess35

When the laws given by God in all the religions of the world (which laws are essentially the same) are tossed in favor of laws invented by the minds of men, guess what happens.

I think you know.

Lots of different people have different ideas on what is wrong and what is right. Wildly different.

Here comes consensual cannibalism, "inter-generational" sex as promoted by NAMBLA, inter-species sex, infanticide, and on and on and on. Even Communism is a system of morality, of right and wrong, invented by the mind of man. And since there are always some recalcitrants who don't want to go along with what other people say is right and wrong, secular based morality always turns into tyranny, since the said recalcitrants need to be forced, for the good of all.


14 posted on 06/22/2005 9:56:26 PM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: anonsquared
What if islamic law wins out in the future? Does that make it okay to murder women who won't cover up properly? It's a slippery slope.

That's the best reason I can think of to keep the government neutral in terms of religion.

If you let it come down on the side of Christianity, it's only a matter of time before Muslims outnumber Christains somewhere and all of a sudden your tax dollars are going to make the Koran and daily prayers to Mecca a mandatory part of grade school.

The bottom line for me is that the government shouldn't take sides in matters of faith. Render unto Caesar and all that.

15 posted on 06/22/2005 10:01:47 PM PDT by highball ("I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Jeremiah Jr; dennisw; Yehuda; Lijahsbubbe; aculeus; dighton; Quix; bearsgirl90; BearWash
The more contentious question before the court, legal experts say, is a challenge to the display of framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses of the Ten Commandments, which Christians and Jews believe God handed to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Those pesky alleged Ten Commandments ping.

16 posted on 06/22/2005 10:09:38 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: little jeremiah

There are actually 613 Commandments in the Bible.
http://www.shalom-peace.com/613.html



Top Ten Reasons why the court should rule against public displays of Scripture.

Number Ten. Posting the Ten Commandments endorses Protestant Christianity. Almost all of the displays use the King James Version of the commandments—a Protestant distinctive. Roman Catholics and followers of Judaism use a different translation.

Number Nine. Public displays of the Ten Commandments reduce all other religions to second-class status. Not all religions in our country are part of the Judeo-Christian tradition. And since it is still possible to be a citizen of this country without being a Christian, all religions must be treated equally.

Number Eight. Displaying the Ten Commandments as a way of trying to improve the social order reinforces a magical view of religion. Proponents say that if we display the Ten Commandments children will behave better in school and our nation will be blessed for acknowledging God. Thinking this way reduces the Ten Commandments down to the level of a lucky rabbit’s foot. The impact of the Ten Commandments comes when they are taught by faithful teachers, not when they are dangling from a keychain.

Number Seven. Public displays of Scripture corrupt the true purpose of religious practice. God did not send the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount in order to “create a more perfect union.” These Scriptures represent an ideal community far more difficult to attain than the mere democracy we struggle with.

Number Six. Public displays of Scripture corrupt the true purpose of government. Every time in history the state has acted on behalf of God, blood has flowed in the streets. God may work through the state as God chooses, but that does not mean everything the state does is God’s will. Keeping church and state separate makes it possible for the faith community to remind the state of its temporal limitations as needed.

Number Five. Public displays of the Ten Commandments are a form of idolatry. Anytime we treat as ultimate something we have made with our own hands, we are worshipping idols. Even if the words on the monument are God’s, the monument is ours. That’s why one of those commandments warns against graven images.

Number Four. Grouping the Ten Commandments with other historical documents distorts the history of all. The United States was established as a secular state not a theocracy. And Moses was not present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Number Three. Public displays of religion promote social disorder by setting groups of people against each other. The only way America works is if we guarantee equal freedom for everyone.

Number Two. A public display of Scripture trivializes what is supposed to be important and profound. Do we really want our sacred texts treated like soda pop ads?

And the number one reason the court should rule against public displays of the Ten Commandments—God wants them written on our hearts, and that’s not going to happen just because they are on display down at the courthouse.


James L. Evans is pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama. He is a scheduled speaker at the BCE’s upcoming conference “Living from the Big Bible: Reshaping American Politics".



17 posted on 06/22/2005 10:10:45 PM PDT by thomaswest
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To: Thinkin' Gal
> The US Constitution's first amendment establishes the principle of separation of church and state...

No, it doesn't. Let's not put words in its mouth.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

Thomas Jefferson first used the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association years later (in 1802, see here), and that phrase has since been used (incorrectly, IMO) as a shorthand for the Establishment Clause.

The relevant passage is:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

Do you see the careful distinction? Jefferson's words are not the Constitution itself -- they are an interpretation of the intent of the Constitution.

The Founders, most of whom were Deists by belief and Christians by practice, knew that their spiritual and religious beliefs underlay their governmental concepts -- and they said so openly.

But note that while the awe-inspiring and fire-breathing document called the Declaration of Independence mentions God by name, the U.S. Constitution -- the document that defines our government -- does not do so at all (save an unavoidable reference to "the year of our Lord").

The Ten Commandments unquestionably were among the guidelines used in the formation of our government. They embody some fine rules for human behavior, and the world would surely be better off if more people followed them (I suppose non-Judeo/Christians would be welcome to skip the ones referring particularly to Jahweh). But there's a difference between acknowledging the important influence of the Ten Commandments on our government, and elevating them above the Constitution itself as a matter of policy.

The Judeo/Christian can choose to hew to the Ten Commandments as a higher law than the U.S. Constitution, and that's their option -- precisely because the First Amendment guarantees their freedom to do so for themselves. But that does not mean that the Ten Commandments are permitted to override the First Amendment protections for everybody else as well.

I hope to see the Supremes uphold the First Amendment Establishment Clause as prohibiting official government entanglement (e.g. sponsorship, preference) with any particular religion, while still allowing individual citizens complete freedom whether and how to worship (or not), as we please.

As I read it, the Establishment Clause is perfectly clear and unambiguous as it stands: I am free to exercise my religion as an individual, but I am not permitted to entangle the government (which is shared amongst us all) with my religion. How hard is that to understand?

18 posted on 06/22/2005 10:22:36 PM PDT by dayglored (One Proud American (NRA))
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To: thomaswest

I don't have the time to answer each one of those, although it would be interesting.

First of all, what exactly are the differences between the King James and the Catholic translation of the Bible? What translation do Catholics use? And how are the Commandments different in Jewish Torah?

Second, it is ridiculous to say that all religions should be treated equally. The truth is that all PEOPLE, regardless of their religion or lack thereof, should be treated equally. But religions? Historically, the founders of this country were for the most part Christians, with some Jews, and the moral foundation is the same for both. So it's downright silly to say that if the 10 Commandments are displayed, so do the Bahai golden rules or whatever they have.

Third, every monotheist religion in the history of the world has essentially the same moral absolutes. By disallowing these moral absolutes to be posted on public property, they are demoted to the back alley. Even "Gay" rainbow flags are allowed on city streets, paid for with tax money. But no 10 Commandments?

The 1st Amendment says there shall be no abridgment of the freedom of religion, that says it all.

And personally, I follow a slightly different set of commandments, but I gladly support the Biblical commandments, displayed often and early. Why? Note my tagline.


19 posted on 06/22/2005 10:42:31 PM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: Thinkin' Gal
There's so much leftist bile, BS and wrongheadedness in this article that I don't even know where to start. Talk about a "target rich" environment :)

Short and sweet,

It's all about the judges!

20 posted on 06/22/2005 10:47:10 PM PDT by upchuck (If our nation be destroyed, it would be from the judiciary." ~ Thomas Jefferson)
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To: jess35
To be honest, I'd rather know that someone doesn't kill their neighbor because they realize it is WRONG... because they have no right to deprive another of life...not because they're worried about what God will do.

On what basis would an atheist believe that murder is wrong? In fact, on what basis would an atheist follow any moral code? An atheist can teach his children that murder is wrong and stealing is wrong, but all he will have to back that up is the law, which, in our society, is flouted everyday by even the most average people (given all of the trivial things that are illegal these days). So, eventually, any thinking children will one day happen upon the concept that, as long as the law doesn't find out, there are no consequences for illegal (and immoral) behavior. At that point, what would a preson have to prevent them from falling into temptation should a situation arise where committing an act of murder or theft would greatly benefit him, and there was little chance of getting caught?

Furthermore, not all immoral behaviors are illegal, especially these days. For instance, adultery is no longer illegal in many states, and often won't even affect the divorce conditions. What is to stop a wife from cheating on her husband, or a husband on his wife, or a third person from sleeping with someone else's spouse, if there is no higher moral code? While so-called secular moral values can be taught to these people, if there is no belief in a higher authority, these people can easily talk themselves out of any guilt or feeling of responsibility using any of the common contemporary rationalizations. For instance, wives often justify cheating on and leaving their husbands these days by saying that the husband wasn't meeting her needs. In the Oprah Winfrey school of thinking, this makes the wife the victim and absolves her from responsibility for her actions. However, in the Biblical way of thinking, her act would be a grave sin regardless of whether the husband was keeping the marriage exciting or not. Quite a difference.
21 posted on 06/22/2005 11:28:30 PM PDT by fr_freak
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To: fr_freak
Good grief. Do you really believe that only Christian societies have legitimate prohibitions against murder, theft, etc?

I'd rather NOT live next door to someone who believes murder is wrong ONLY because "God" said so. What if they wake up tomorrow and find they've received a special message from God telling them it's okay to kill and it's okay to steal? What is to stop them at that point? They've received permission from on high.

22 posted on 06/22/2005 11:33:40 PM PDT by jess35
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To: jess35
Good grief. Do you really believe that only Christian societies have legitimate prohibitions against murder, theft, etc?

I'd rather NOT live next door to someone who believes murder is wrong ONLY because "God" said so.


No, I believe that most societies have laws against murder, but I would rather live next to someone who refrains from murder through fear of God than fear of the law, because the law can always be circumvented, misapplied, ignored or fooled, but a believer knows that God never can. That is a far better motivator than someone saying that murder is wrong because it just is, or that it's wrong because "the judge said so".

I also think you are looking at Judeo-Christian morality from the wrong angle. Christians, for instance, do not refrain from murder just because God says so, but otherwise would slaughter everyone they saw. Christians are raised with a moral code that is derived from a belief in God, so it is an ingrained code of behavior, just as a "moral" atheist would instill in his children. The difference is that when the Christian child begins to question things, he ultimately has belief in God to fall back on as justification, whereas an atheist has nothing to justify his code of morality. It seems that would make it much harder for an atheist to stick to his moral code in a moment of temptation than it would be for a Christian.

As far as other non-Christian societies go, most of them throughout history have based their moral codes on directions from one deity or another, or some other higher truth than man's law.
23 posted on 06/23/2005 8:38:26 AM PDT by fr_freak
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To: Thinkin' Gal; All

I am quite worried about how the court will rule after today's case.

We need BOTH Kennedy and O'Conner to win, and that seems to be very hard to get.

I also am worried they will rule next week to overturn the Betamax decision, ending your right to use VCR's etc. to tape tv etc. when they announce their file sharing ruling.


24 posted on 06/23/2005 1:54:57 PM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: Thinkin' Gal
Don’t you mean the ‘Five Commandments?’
25 posted on 06/23/2005 1:57:59 PM PDT by Jeremiah Jr (T.O.E. = Unification = Echad!)
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To: rwfromkansas; Jeremiah Jr; the-ironically-named-proverbs2; 2sheep; Lijahsbubbe; BearWash; ...
I am quite worried about how the court will rule after today's case.

Those who abuse and uphold the abuse of eminent domain likely would not be keen on the public display of Commandment X, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house..."

Jezebel is alive and well and dancing on Naboth's grave (and vineyard).

26 posted on 06/23/2005 2:23:27 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
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To: All
My prediction is 5-4 against the Ten Commandments with the 5 being Souter, Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and probably Kennedy.
27 posted on 06/23/2005 2:28:47 PM PDT by COEXERJ145 (Just Blame President Bush For Everything, It Is Easier Than Using Your Brain)
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To: rwfromkansas
I also am worried they will rule next week to overturn the Betamax decision, ending your right to use VCR's etc. to tape tv etc. when they announce their file sharing ruling.

Not likely as making a copy for private use has been ruled legal on numerous occasions. If you start giving it out or selling it then you run afoul of the law.

28 posted on 06/23/2005 2:29:18 PM PDT by COEXERJ145 (Just Blame President Bush For Everything, It Is Easier Than Using Your Brain)
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To: Thinkin' Gal
I have an old NIV version of the Bible with a great chapter heading.

Jezebel seizes the vineyard (to which I add) Again!

29 posted on 06/23/2005 2:34:36 PM PDT by Jeremiah Jr (T.O.E. = Unification = Echad!)
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To: Thinkin' Gal
The US Constitution's first amendment establishes the principle of separation of church and state, but how this should be interpreted remains unclear following numerous contradictory decisions by lower courts.

How should the First Amendment be interpreted? I say let's interpret it exactly as it was written over 200 years ago:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

30 posted on 06/23/2005 5:30:16 PM PDT by judgeandjury
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To: Thinkin' Gal
Are the Supremes going to hang a sheet over this in their courtroom?


31 posted on 06/23/2005 5:42:34 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: Thinkin' Gal

I don't expect a favorable ruling by the Black Kings.


32 posted on 06/23/2005 6:51:15 PM PDT by shellshocked (Rule 308 trumps all other judges rulings.)
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To: thomaswest

Were those ten points a quote of Pastor Evans? Been looking for the source. FRegards....


33 posted on 06/28/2005 7:46:45 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (<<< Ad Campaign for Durbin the Turban in profile)
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To: SoCal Pubbie

Outstanding artwork there! Sure beats the NEA. FRegards....


34 posted on 06/28/2005 7:47:58 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (<<< Ad Campaign for Durbin the Turban in profile)
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To: Thinkin' Gal

"Civil liberties advocates however fear a tide of evangelical Christianity is eroding the politically sacred separation of church and state, and endangering the principle that all Americans, whatever their religion, are created equal."

Nothing but liberal double speak.

How can you erode something that never existed.

This is no different than a budget increase of 3% when you wanted 10% being called a cut.


35 posted on 06/28/2005 8:09:34 AM PDT by TASMANIANRED (Democrats haven't had a new idea since Karl Marx.)
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To: anonsquared

"If they do away with - Thou shalt not kill - isn't that grounds for overturning ever murder conviction in the country? What will law be based on, what feels good now?"

If you are destroying a threat to innocent life, you are saving lives. Keeping that threat around is just plain foolish. There's always the chance of escape, and even more likely, a chance the looney leftist judges will find an excuse to let a murderer or a bunch of murderers free.

Ironically, most of those who oppose the death penalty for murderers support killing innocent babies.


36 posted on 06/28/2005 12:17:30 PM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (<<< Ad Campaign for Durbin the Turban in profile)
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