The lower court had earlier decided that the display of the Ten Commandments amounted to an unwarranted governmental endorsement of a particular religious belief. The case originated in 1998 when several Elkhart citizens, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the city to have the Commandments removed. The ACLU has since begun a legal offensive to remove the estimated 4,000 Ten Commandments displays at city halls and civic buildings throughout the nation.
For the Supreme Court to hear the appeal, four of its nine justices would have had to agree to hear the case. However, only three conservative justices voted to accept it.
In expressing his desire for the court to hear the case, Chief Justice William Rehnquist said: “This monument does not express the city’s preference for a particular religion or for religious belief in general. It simply reflects the Ten Commandments’ role in the development of our legal system.” He noted that the display emphasizes the relationship between the Commandments and the U.S. legal tradition—as does a carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments that adorns a wall in the Supreme Court’s own courtroom.
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, declared that “[this] religious display must come down.” He lauded the decision as “another hindrance” for religious conservatives in the United States.
Regrettably, many liberal legal scholars and judges seem determined to rid the United States of its strong JudeoChristian values and heritage. For a little-known perspective of America’s founding, be sure to read “America’s Astounding Destiny: Was It Foretold in the Bible?” beginning on page 4 of this issue. To better understand the supreme importance of God’s Commandments, be sure to request our free booklet The Ten Commandments. (Sources: The Washington Post, The Washington Times.)