Separation of Church and State

Here’s an early Christmas present; thanks to CADRE Comments for the tip.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Mercer County’s right to display in a court house the Ten Commandments along with the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, and the National Motto (“In God We Trust”). American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky v. Mercer County, No. 03-5412 (6th Cir. December 20, 2005). The best part, though, was the smackdown the Court gave to the ACLU:

The ACLU makes repeated references to “the separation of church and state.” This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with acknowledgment and in some cases, accommodation of religion. After all, we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being….

We will not presume endorsement from the mere display of the Ten Commandments. If the reasonable observer perceived all government references to the Deity as endorsements, then many of our Nation’s cherished traditions would be unconstitutional, including the Declaration of Independence and the national motto. Fortunately, the reasonable person is not a hyper-sensitive plaintiff. Instead, he appreciates the role religion has played in our governmental institutions, and finds it historically appropriate and traditionally acceptable for a state to include religious influences, even in the form of sacred texts, in honoring American legal traditions.

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