God Almighty needs an editor, according to a federal judge in Virginia. At least, He does when the Ten Commandments are on government property.
The ACLU had sued the Giles County district for posting the Ten Commandments in its public schools, and U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski sent the case on Monday to mediation, suggesting a compromise: deleting the first four commandments. Here’s the short version of those:
1. I am the LORD your God. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not worship idols, for I am the LORD your God.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
An Obama appointee, Judge Urbanski also issued a preliminary injunction on behalf of the ACLU in February prohibiting the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors from “invoking the name of a specific deity associated with any one specific faith or belief in prayers given at Board meetings.” No word yet on how much this ticked off the local Hittites and voodoo priests.
It’s all part of the campaign for “religious equality,” in which atheism and tree worship are considered equal (or superior) to the nation’s founding faith. The only surprise Monday was that the ACLU didn’t immediately object to leaving intact the commandment against adultery.
Among the items displayed alongside the Ten Commandments at Narrows High School are the Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact, the Magna Carta, the words to the Star-Spangled Banner, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
Since none of the other 10 documents is being challenged, it’s obvious that the Ten Commandments are offensive solely because they are religious in origination, and remind people of America’s dominant faiths, Christianity and Judaism. In a brief filed on behalf of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the ACLU says the presence of the Decalogue violates the Establishment clause of the First Amendment.
For 10 years, the Ten Commandments had been posted in a frame in each of the public schools of Giles County. They were gifts to the schools from a local pastor, who thought they would be a good addition in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999.
The displays were not a problem until December 8, 2010, when the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the superintendent demanding that the displays be removed after a single complaint by a student and the student’s parent.