Ten Commandments vs. The Constitution Debate

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

Lili Lutgers is with the American Civil Liberties Union. She says: "In the First Amendment, Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion nor prohibit the free exercise thereof. Is what the First Amendment says."

Just how that is interpreted is what makes the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings such a heated argument in Kentucky. Both sides gave their opinion on the topic at a roundtable discussion at Western Kentucky University.

Frank Manion represents the American Center for Law and Justice. He says: "Our argument is that there's nothing unconstitutional with public displays of the Ten Commandments or other religious symbols."

Lutgers says: "And we believe that it has always been unconstitutional for government to hang religious symbols, doing so to further religious purposes."

The Supreme Court decision on June 27 allows that in some circumstances the Commandments would be allowed to remain on display. However, they found in Kentucky they were being misused.

Lutgers says: "The posting is religious. And what the Supreme Court has found in McCreary County vs. ACLU that when you have a religious purpose, then if the reason the government is posting the Ten Commandments is religious, that's unconstitutional."

The opposing side says they do not think the Commandments should necessarily be displayed, but that they should be given the right to do so.

Manion says: "There seems to be no question that people in Kentucky and other places do think there is some value in having them there. I support their right to maintain that position."

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