Today the United States Supreme Court begins hearing a couple of cases concerning the display of the Ten Commandments on government property. At issue is the separation of church and state language in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Those opposing the displays contend that it violates this separation by showing support of particular religious beliefs on the part of the government. These opposition groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, believe that absolutely nothing of any possible religious significance should be portrayed by the government in any manner. Those supporting the displays contend that they aren’t really religious, that they represent a part of the bedrock upon which the United States of America was founded in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Supporters of the Ten Commandments are absolutely right on this one! The Ten Commandments are shared between the three world religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. They represent the essentials of good, solid family values. They have also stood the test of time, remaining important pillars of proper social conduct for thousands of years!
I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “what does this have to do with advocating for accessibility?” The answer is, “plenty”. The Ten Commandments represent a part of the bedrock on which modern Western civilization and the United States of America have been founded and continue to exist today! Our very Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal”. Amendments to the Constitution, such as the 8th amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, the 13th Amendment rejecting slavery and the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote, serve to reaffirm the conviction of the United States of America that human rights are an absolutely critical part of a democratic American society and that all must be empowered to participate. It is this ability to participate which we seek through greater access to information. The United States of America was founded as a Judeo-Christian nation! The separation between church and state provided in the First Amendment to our Constitution prevents the government from forcing us to worship Christianity, Judaism or any other religion. This necessary separation is a far cry from the elimination of religion and other symbols of American tradition being called for by organizations such as ACLU. Even if you are agnostic, atheist or otherwise don’t consider yourself a religious person, you can still support retaining the symbols of our heritage such as the display of the Ten Commandments! It is not about religion, but about our traditions and values as a nation! As always, all comments are welcome.