Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Federal judge says in a ruling that there's no wall of separation between church and state.


A U.S. appeals court today upheld the decision of a lower court in allowing the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse display, hammering the American Civil Liberties Union and declaring, "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

...Writing for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Suhrheinrich said the ACLU's "repeated reference 'to the separation of church and state' ... has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

Suhrheinrich wrote: "The ACLU, an organization whose mission is 'to ensure that ... the government [is kept] out of the religion business,' does not embody the reasonable person." ...

As The Cincinnati Enquirer notes, the panel ruled this way

even though the U.S. Supreme Court recently barred a similar display 50 miles away.

... [A] Supreme Court decision in June ... barred almost identical displays at courthouses in Pulaski and McCreary counties in southeastern Kentucky. Mercer County, which is near Lexington, is about 50 miles from Pulaski County.

In those cases, a 5-4 Supreme Court majority found that the displays in McCreary and Pulaski counties violated the Constitution because they were erected with a clear religious purpose....

So what does the court say is the difference here?

In the other counties, the court noted, the displays were put up as pastors and others applauded the effort to bring religion into public places. The judges concluded that did not happen in Mercer County, thus making the display there permissible.

There you go -- as long as everyone plays dumb and pretends that advancing religion isn't the motive, this is permitted.

Suhrheinrich isn't a W. appointee, by the way -- Poppy appointed him to the 6th Circuit.

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