In Schools Essay, Research Paper
WHY should the Ten Commandments be in Public Schools?
The Ten Commandments are a basic set of divine laws in the bible; the Ten Commandments form the fundamental ethical code of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to the biblical narrative, God gave the commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai and inscribed them on two stone tablets and enshrined them into t he Arc of Covenant. Two slightly different versions of the commandments are found in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deut. 5:6-21.
State legislatures nationwide are considering legislation intended to promote the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools or other public buildings; a dangerous trend criticized for separation of church and state. Currently, the Ten Commandments legislation is under construction in 11 states and has made progress in three. In Indiana, the state senate passed a law that authorizes the display of the Ten Commandments on property owned by the state. In South Dakota, the state senate passed a bill that empowers school districts to permit school teachers and administrators to post the ten commandments and in Colorado, the state senate is considering the American Moral Heritage Act, which mandates silent prayer before the school day and the posting of the ten commandments in the main entry way of every public school. The posting of the Ten Commandments in schools in schools is unconstitutional; in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled that church-state separation forbids public schools to post the Ten Commandments. The American society is in need of moral guidance, but forcing the religion that corresponds to the Ten Commandments on school age children is not the answer. The government display of religious codes is a bad idea because the constitution mandates the separation of church and state, the Supreme Court and lower courts have settled the issue and there is no ?standard version? of the Ten Commandments.
The constitution mandates the separation of church and state; the government is forbidden to meddle in matters of religion. Promotion of religious ideals is the job of America?s houses of worship and children?s guardians. Thus, government display of the Ten Commandments violates a fundamental tenet of American life, one that has given us more religious liberty in world history. Because of this religious freedom, America has become religiously diverse. The United States is home to nearly 2, 000 different religions, traditions, denominations and sects. Many of these groups revere the Ten Commandments, many do not. If government allows the posting of the commandments, will they also post the Five Pillars of Islam, the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the Wiccan Rede and the Affirmations of Humanism? The Government should not play favorites when it comes to religion. Religion doesn?t need government?s help to promote the Ten Commandments. For thousands of years, the leaders of Christianity and Judaism have done a good job of spreading the word of the Ten Commandments. Another reason posting the Commandments in public schools is not positive because the Supreme Court and lower courts have already settled the issue. In 1980?s Stone v. Graham decision, the high court struck down a Kentucky law that required public schools to post the Ten Commandments. Public schools that exhibit the Ten Commandments are inviting a lawsuit they are almost certain to lose. A channel 2 viewers pole showed 69 percent of the people wanted the Ten Commandments posted in schools. Yes, the majority of viewers want the ten commandments in schools but what about the religious freedom of the remaining 31 percent who prefer to teach their children to act morally and responsibly on their own? The Ten Commandments are not a magic charm that can solve societies problems overnight. The posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools seem to be the easy way out; it will distract us from solving complicated social problems. Finally, the Ten Commandments should not be posted because there is no ?standard version? of the Ten Commandments. Different denominations list the commandments in different order and use different language. When government agencies and public schools post one version and not others, they are taking sides in a theological debate. That is not the government?s job.
In years to come there will only be more debate concerning the morals of children in relation to the posting of the Ten commandments in public schools. Until the United States becomes religiously unified, the Constitution will set the boundaries for mixing church and state.