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Email: AGREE???

October 05, 2009 5:11 pm ET

The following email has been widely forwarded and has been reposted numerous times on conservative blogs.  Media Matters Action Network has written a response to the text below.  Please feel free to copy and paste it and send to your friends.

AGREE???

[note - all mistakes below are original to the text]

Response

This is interesting! It has been quite awhile since I've heard about any "mess" regarding the "In God We Trust" motto, having "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, or having the Ten Commandments on display, so I did some research to find out if anything new is going on.

According to the Christian Broadcasting Network website, Congress overwhelmingly voted to support engraving the U.S. Capitol Visitor's Center with "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance.  The engravings will be completed this month.  http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2009/October/In-God-We-Trust-Restored-at-Capitol-/

Also, CNN.com reported on a "Ten Commandments Controversy" that began in 2001 when Alabama's Chief Justice of the state supreme court refused to take down his Ten Commandments statute and was removed from office. It ended when the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  No other major "mess" has occurred since. http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/11/13/moore.tencommandments/

And Snopes.com debunks the other claims in the email as either incorrect or misconstrued to support a claim of the government's support of Judeo-Christian values.  Snopes.com takes each claim in turn:

  • "[Regarding Moses and the Ten Commandments on the Supreme Court building:] The depiction referred to here is a sculpture entitled "Justice the Guardian of Liberty" by Hermon A. McNeil....The sculpture was intended to be a symbolic representation of three of the Eastern civilizations from which our laws were derived, personified by the figures of three great lawgivers: Moses, Confucious, and Solon (surrounded by several allegorical figures representing a variety of legal themes)." ...[This statute] appears on the eastern pediment of the Supreme Court building. (The eastern pediment is the [BACK] of the Supreme Court building, so this sculpture is not something one would see 'walking up the steps to the building which houses the Supreme Court).'
  • [Regarding the Ten Commandments on the Supreme Court courtroom doors] The doors of the Supreme Court courtroom don't literally have the "Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion." The lower portions of the two doors are engraved with a symbolic depiction, two tablets bearing the Roman numerals I through V and VI through X....these symbols can represent something other than the Ten Commandments.
  • [Regarding the display of the Ten Commandments above where the Supreme Court judges sit:] The wall 'right above where the Supreme Court judges sit' is the east wall, on which is displayed a frieze designed by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman. The frieze features two male figures who represent the Majesty of Law and the Power of Government, flanked on the left side by a group of figures representing Wisdom, and on the right side by a group of figures representing Justice...
  • [Regarding James Madison's quote:] Actually, this statement appears nowhere in the writings or recorded utterances of James Madison and is completely contradictory to his character as a strong proponent of the separation of church and state.
  • [Regarding Congress beginning each session with a prayer:] Congress has indeed retained paid Christian chaplains since 1789 (not 1777) to open sessions with prayer and to provide spiritual guidance to members and their staffs upon request. That practice was strongly opposed by James Madison...
  • [Regarding 52 founders being members of orthodox churches:] The diverse beliefs and religiosity of America's founding fathers is a complex subject, one which cannot be so neatly encapsulated by an (inadequately substantiated) statement such as the one quoted above...
  • [Regarding Thomas Jefferson worrying that courts would overstep authority:] Yes, Thomas Jefferson was concerned about courts overstepping their authority making (rather than interpreting) law, as was James Madison...However, this issue really has nothing to do with the subject at hand (the endorsement of Judeo-Christian tradition by the federal government), other than in the tangential sense...

(You can read the whole report at :http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/capital.asp)

But, other than all of this misinformation, you're right! We should "remember what this great country was built on:" liberty and justice for all! Under such principles, I recognize your freedom to disseminate any emails you like, so I won't tell you to "Sit down and SHUT UP!!" I'll simply encourage you to fact-check your emails before forwarding them to the masses!

Xoxo!



 


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