A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked “What do you think about the Ten Commandments being displayed in government buildings?” Some responses:
“My chief concern is that the Ten Commandments be displayed in people’s lives by day-to-day living out of their precepts. That, however, never comes about without continual exposure to lofty standards, of which they are but one example. In choosing to be nonreligious, we choose to lower ourselves to the level of beasts and ultimately to anarchy and ruin.” — Glenda Horner, Clovis
“I think the builders of our nation had the right idea when they decided on the separation of church and state. If we leave up the Ten Commandments sculpture to appease one faction of the people, then how can we start to refuse other religious organizations erecting or demanding their icons get equal time? Buddhists might want to put a Buddha in the Nebraska statehouse or Hari Krishnas might decide to serenade us in a state library. … I don’t think any government official should use their powers to promote individual religious beliefs.” — Christy Mendoza, Clovis
The Ten Commandments is historically, and factually, the foundation of all civilized government. The term civilized means the governments who serve the people, and do not feed on them to make itself fat. The commandments remind all people that we derive our authority to rule from something bigger and better than ourselves. … Removing the Ten Commandments from the halls of government removes our foundation. … It plunges us into the darkness of an abyss of government ruled by men’s own opinions, as changeable as the wind.” — Carolyn Spence, Clovis
“There could be specific situations where it would be acceptable — such as part of an exhibit about world religions, or to preserve a historic aspect of a building. Other than that, placing religious symbols in government buildings could lead to them becoming battlegrounds of competing artifacts. If one person or group is allowed to promote a Christian symbol or doctrine, such as the Ten Commandments, then other taxpayers could reasonably argue they should be allowed to display statues of Buddha, or menorahs or even tributes to Satan.
“… If the judge in Alabama can personally carry the 5,280-pound granite Ten Commandments monument to his private chambers for inspiration, then I say the controversy should be squashed. But, if in the process, he gets squashed, I would consider that a fitting ending to his blatant attempt to appeal to the religious right for political gain.” — Wendel Sloan, Portales
“I think the Ten Commandments should be displayed everywhere.” — Mearl Thomas, Clovis
“The first thing the majority in this free country should do is look at what a democracy is. The people opposed to prayer in schools, at public functions and the display of the Ten Commandments are the same people relying on the Constitution for freedom of speech. They should realize this Constitution was created, enforced and protected by the lives of the majority — the same majority that they are opposing. As long as we have a democracy, we should enforce and protect the needs and wants of the majority not just protect the minority with the loudest voice.” — Jim Sitterly, Clovis
“It should hang in the White House, the Senate building, the House of Representatives and the office of the Supreme Court judges. History has proven that a country based on the principals of the Ten Commandments are necessary for survival.” — James W. McDonald, Clovis
“Who does it hurt? No one really. … God gave us 10 simple ways of life to follow in showing that we are his children and if we seek the truth in all things, we should follow his Ten Commandments … and they should be in places where we can be reminded of what they are.
“The Ten Commandments have nothing to do with the government. They are a way of life for all to follow. … Put them in all government buildings.” — Gerald Majewski, Clovis
“The problem with youth today is they have not been raised in the church and do not know the Ten Commandments. When the politicians start taking more of God out of our lives, who do the people in this country turn to in their times of tragedy? There were more prayers going on after 9/11 and people were comforted that God was with us, easing our pain and helping to refill our hearts with love. No one was ashamed to say they were praying and turning to God for comfort. Why should we be afraid to show the Ten Commandments to the world?” — Ardyth Elms, Clovis
“I could care less whether that big piece of rock (in Alabama) is there or not. I find it amusing though. The American Civil Liberties Union and the extreme fundamentalist Christians are some of the most irrational people I’ve ever heard of.” — Richard Lopes, Clovis
“The founding fathers … had seen in other countries what can happen when a religious leader is also a country’s leader. So they put a clause in the Constitution that would protect the workings of the government from religious influences.
“This country is based on the freedom to worship the God of your choice. We are not just Christians. We are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and a multitude of other religions. America is the great melting pot, and that includes religious beliefs. The Ten Commandments are a symbol of Christian beliefs. Where are the symbols for the other religions that make up this land of the free? — Gail Adkins, Clovis
“As a Christian, I believe the Ten Commandments have always been the most precious rules of life and are the fundamental basis of most of our judicial law. Displaying the Ten Commandments in government buildings does not bring together church and state. It simply reminds one of their obligations under God. I am in favor of public display anywhere and believe that putting these rules of life to the forefront on a daily basis can only improve our society.” — Bob Baker, Clovis
“I will leave room for those more eloquent to defend the display of the Ten Commandments in government buildings. I will take the liberty however to rephrase the question: Where are the Ten Commandments displayed now?
“My guess is that most Christians believe as I do that the foundation of this country and the hope of restoring moral order through law rest in the Ten Commandments.
“But are those commandments displayed in our churches? Can they be found in our homes or businesses? How many of us can recite them? How many of our children know them? We will fight to have them displayed in a courtroom and we should, but are they resident in our hearts?”
“If we no longer display them in our churches or homes … why are we surprised they are disappearing from the government buildings as well?” — Victor Leal, Muleshoe
“Anyone that expends any energy at all attempting to remove the Ten Commandments from anywhere has way too much time on their hands.” — Jeff Gray, Clovis