Expression is our given right

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 17, 2004

The saga of the Ten Commandments in Alabama court rooms isn’t over yet – another chapter is unfolding in South Alabama.

In Andalusia, Presiding Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan has donned new threads and emblazoned across the chest of his judge’s robes are the Ten Commandments.

McKathan, noted as intellectual among many in the south Alabama community, isn’t prone to activism, but told the Mobile Register

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he “wanted to make a point.”

That point, he said, was that without the biblical foundations of the Ten Commandments, “there is no law.”

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore tried unsuccessfully to make that point – and drew national attention to the state – when he defied a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Supreme Court building in Montgomery.

Now Moore’s spotlight seems to focusing on Andalusia.

That a circuit court judge anywhere in America would have to resort to having the Ten Commandments embroidered on his robe is ludicrous.

In the America of today, the Christian faith is drawing increasingly more fire. Are Christians being persecuted? Perhaps, and perhaps not. A multi-year campaign by the American Family Association to place “In God We Trust” banners in the nation’s public school buildings is one example of how far we’ve removed ourselves in this nation from the Judeo-Christian philosophy which guided its foundation.

How ludicrous is it for a private, non-profit organization to be required to launch a drive aimed at exposing school children to the National Motto?

Shouldn’t public schools be doing that anyway? Our guess is that they should be.

The Commandments given to Moses by God in the Wilderness were 10 simple laws the children of Israel were ordered to keep – do not kill, do not steal, do not covet, do not commit adultery, honor our parents and respect their authority – do these sound surreptitious to the laws of the United States? Are they subversive? Do they incite riot and do they disrupt the peace?

Do the laws of the United States and of the State of Alabama not rest on these very same principals?

The answer is they most certainly do. So why ban them from court rooms, school houses and from mention in the public square?

Organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center would have us believe our legislators have created a set of laws based upon no morality, no sense of ethic and without the conviction of faith. Opponents argue that through the expression of the Ten Commandments, Christians trample the rights of others.

We say “hogwash.” We believe that each American – judge or not – has the right to the freedom of expression, and we believe that if Judge McKathan wants to express himself with his robe, so be it.

That’s America.