NYC Atheists Are Disappointed With the U.S. Supreme Court’s Texas Ten Commandment Decision

       On June 27, 2005, The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on two cases involving the display of the Ten Commandments in the public spaces.

       In a split decision, the court found the displays of the Ten Commandments in the Kentucky courthouses unconstitutional (McCreary v. ACLU of Kentucky) but upheld the display of the Ten Commandments on the Texas Capitol grounds, (Van Orden vs. Perry).  

       The position of NYC Atheists is that the legal case against the displays is straightforward. The Ten Commandments are religious scripture taken directly from the Bible. Thus, the display in any form of the Ten Commandments on government property is an endorsement of religion. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens stated  that "the Ten
Commandments endorses the divine code of the 'Judeo-Christian' God."

Specific problems with the Ten Commandments

       1. All versions of the Ten Commandments contain specific religious requirements such as: Acknowledgment of the existence of a single god and no other God, not taking the name of the Lord in vain and remembering the Sabbath. Since the Ten Commandments clearly endorse and supportTheism, government must not and should not allow their display in any format or context on/in public property.

       2. There are several different versions of the Ten Commandments. (Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, etc. In selecting one version of the Ten Commandments over the others, the government is favoring one denomination over another. For example, Texas has adopted a Lutheran version of the Ten Commandments as the official Ten Commandments of the state.

       The public display of the Ten Commandments is offensive to non-believers and those who believe in the separation of church and state. Millions of other Americans of various faiths, or no faith at all, will now be faced with the prospect of their government imposing religious values on them. This is a threat to all Americans - religious and nonreligious and a further erosion of the separation of church and state.