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June 9th, 2011

God, Save Me From Your Followers

I literally chunked my iPhone across the room when a local news-updater app came up telling me that, with no dissent ("unanimously and without debate"), the Louisiana House voted, to add a Ten Commandments monument to the Louisiana State Capitol.

Separation of church and state apparently doesn’t exist here.  Jefferson would be taking to his unique, personally-edited Bible and the other founding fathers would be shaking their heads in utter dismay.  State Representative Patrick Williams, D-Shreveport, who brought the proposal makes the entire thing all the more worse (if that can be imagined) by saying the monument is not about religious observance but is of historical note:

The significance is historical. Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments. In fact, without them, a lot of our laws would not exist.

I am unsure what history classes Rep. Williams attended, but I was unaware that the history of this nation was based on Christian doctrine.  In fact, it would seem that our founding fathers said something completely different:

[Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason.

- Thomas Jefferson, to James Sullivan, 1797

Not founded on Christianity, but the simple concepts of equal rights and sound reason.

May it [the Declaration of Independence] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day [July 4th] forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them....

- - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Roger C Weightman, June 24, 1826, Jefferson's last letter, declining, due to ill health, an invitation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of that document; Jefferson died ten days later, the very day ot the 50th anniversary of the Declaration's signing (John Adams died a few hours later, not knowing that Jefferson had also died)

Emphasis mine.

Rep. Williams claims the plaque will have an added mention of its historical context:

Context for acknowledging America's religious history.

I believe this is more a future legal loophole that Rep. Williams and his ilk hope they can use when this plaque is deemed unconstitutional - it's not religious, it's historical, they will say.

Whatever your beliefs, I assure you they are not everyone's and it is unfair to leave out others (in this case non-Christians) when erecting something like this in a state capitol.  The sad part is that this will be challenged and, at a time when the State of Louisiana is in dire economic strife, cost the state untold sums in litigation.  The state simply cannot afford such a pointless distraction at this time, and, therefore, I put this in the same realm as Rep. LaBruzzo's ridiculous proposal to make abortion illegal in Louisiana thereby bucking the federal government's ruling.

 

Tags: bible|louisiana government|louisiana state capitol|patrick williams|rep patrick williams|separation of church and state|ten commandments|ten commandments in state capitol|thomas jefferson

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