While the stalwart defenders of the Ten Commandments monument in the Supreme Court Building in Montgomery, Ala., have been defending it on First Amendment grounds, there is another very important reason why the Ten Commandments should stay exactly where they are: educational freedom.
The monument itself is not an establishment of religion, nor is it a place of worship. There isn’t even a fundamentalist minister hiding behind it preaching a sermon. It is there to educate the public about the origin of our laws. No one who views the monument is required to be a Christian or Jew, nor are the viewers required to obey any of the Commandments. The monument is simply there to educate, and it is educational freedom which is at stake as well as religious freedom.
It is just as easy for the defenders of the monument to defend it as an educational exhibit as much as an expression of religious freedom. It is its educational function which is being trampled on by the federal court. The federal judge does not have the right to remove an educational exhibit from a state judicial building put there by the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Educational freedom is as important as religious freedom. The many private schools and homeschools testify to that. The monument cannot convert anyone to any religion. It cannot force anyone to pray, read the Bible, go to church or believe in God. But it can educate, which is what the monument’s primary function is.
It also shows respect for the origin of our laws and moral values. We erect monuments to honor great heroes. The Lincoln Memorial is not a temple of worship. Neither is the Jefferson Memorial. They are monuments that honor great men. They were built to remind us of our past and the great men who contributed to the founding and sustaining of this nation.
To remove a monument that displays the Ten Commandments, on which our laws are based, is tantamount to destroying recognition of our past. Indeed, the courthouse is the proper place for such a monument, since that is where the law and justice meet. That is where law is considered and practiced in all of its ramifications. Who would deny that American citizens need to be educated about the law?
A courthouse must respect the law, its past, its origins. It certainly can and should be used as a place to educate the citizenry about the law. To deny the appropriateness of the Ten Commandments in the history of the law is to deny the public knowledge which it should have in considering where our basic laws come from.
Why a federal judge would want to remove an appropriate educational exhibit, which reminds the citizenry of the origin of our laws, is difficult to fathom, unless one is to believe that the judge has no interest in education.
Of course, we know why liberals and atheists want to remove the monument. They hate religion, and will only tolerate politically correct education.
And so, they are willing to destroy not only religious freedom but educational freedom as well. They’ve succeeded in removing God from the public schools, and now they want to remove Him from the courthouses. But their shrill, illogical arguments are finally being understood by most Americans for what they are: hatred of religion and its practice, and the use of a perverted, contorted view of the Constitution to get their way.