With protesters voicing their religious opposition, the marble monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments left the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Courthouse Wednesday afternoon, only to be moved inside the building out of public view.
The disassembling of the monument ends a two-year legal battle with the chief justice, who erected the monument to promote his own religious belief. With the monument now deliberately hidden from the public eye, questions are raised concerning boundaries of power, as well as whether or not the action of placing the monument in the interior of the building is as logical as one might think.
The man behind the monument is Supreme Justice Roy Moore, who was suspended after ignoring a ruling from a federal court ordering that the monument be removed. Can people walking into a courthouse expect a fair trial if art on display house signifies the court might be religiously biased?
Our founding fathers were pretty clear on this as they wanted our country to have a division between church and state.
To abuse a position of power to force-feed people religious views is wrong. Personal beliefs are to be protected under the First Amendment, however they are called personal for a reason. The Ten Commandments are rules made specifically for a single religion. While it emphasizes rules as “you shall not murder” that also are reflected in our laws, it is still associated with one religion. Bringing the monument to the interior of the courthouse defeats the purpose of separation of church and state. People know it is still in there.
The hundreds of protesters on the courthouse steps make it clear that this monument is important to many people. They should be allowed to view it, but in a place that is not affiliated with the judicial system or the U.S. government. Hundreds of curators and private collectors are eager to get their hands on such a revered piece of art. For that matter, taking the Commandments on a trip across the country to give people the option to see it, might be the best solution. But to exhibit such an item with religious connotations is wrong in a setting such as a courthouse as it would imply religious preference.