1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

Court Decisions on the Ten Commandments: Monuments, Displays, and More

Should displays of the Ten Commandments be allowed in public buildings? Should large monuments be erected on the grounds of courthouses or legislative buildings? Should there be posters of the Ten Commandments in schools and other municipal buildings? Some argue that they are part of our legal history, but others contend that they are inherently religious and, therefore, cannot be allowed.

ACLU v. McCreary County (Supreme Court, 2005): Ten Commandments Displays
McCreary County, Kentucky, put up a Ten Commandments display in the county court house and added several more documents referencing religion and God after their display was challenged. In 2000, the display was declared unconstitutional.

Van Orden v. Perry (Supreme Court, 2005): Ten Commandments Monument in Texas
A six foot tall Ten Commandments monument was placed on the Texas state Capitol grounds in 1961. According to the legislative resolution accepting the gift, the purpose of the monument was to 'recognize and commend a private organization for its efforts to reduce juvenile delinquency.'

Glassroth v. Moore (2002): Judge Roy Moore & His Ten Commandments Monument
Can a government official erect a massive monument to the Ten Commandments in a government building by asserting that they have a secular rather than a religious purpose? What if that official has a long history of supporting displays of the Ten Commandments for religious reasons?

Books v. Elkhart (7th Circuit Court, 2000): Ten Commandments Monument
Can large, expensive monuments to the Ten Commandments be erected on public property by arguing that they played a role in the development of secular laws and, hence, that the monument itself is secular?

DiLotero v. Downey Unified School District (9th Circuit Court, 1999): Ten...
Can a school refuse to publish or post a paid religious message if it allows other paid messages and advertisements? School facilities may be deemed public fora only if school authorities have opened those facilities for indiscriminate use by the public.

Stone v. Graham (Supreme Court, 1980): Posting the Ten Commandments in Schools
Are the Ten Commandments secular enough to warrant posting in all public school classes, or are they so religious that such postings would amount to a government endorsement of religion aimed at impressionable children? Does the fact that the government says their purpose is secular suffice to regard the actions as actually secular?

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.