The Georgia House of Representatives has passed a bill to place a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state capitol. It still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, but I can’t imagine that won’t happen. And I know American Atheists is already working on opposition to it.
House Bill 702, by Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia, would call for a monument that features the Ten Commandments, and portions of the Declaration of Independence and Georgia Constitution to be paid for by private funds. The bill passed 138-37 and goes to the Senate…
Morris said he was moved to introduce the bill after Gov. Nathan Deal had a statute to Tom Watson, a former U.S. senator and segregationist, from in front of the Capitol. Deal said the move was a safety issue as renovations are done to the western steps.
Rep. Roger Bruce, D-Atlanta, asked Morris if people of other faiths would be free to have a monument on Capitol grounds. Morris said it would be possible.
“If the Legislature were compromised of enough people who had the view that the Declaration of the Independence, the Constitution, the Georgia Constitution had some other basis for the freedoms we enjoy today other than the Judeo-Christian values they believed and they reflected in the documents that give us our economic, political and religious freedoms, I suppose they would be free to do so.”
Sorry, the legislature doesn’t get to decide that. If you put the Ten Commandments monument up and it represents the position of the government, you’ve violated the Establishment Clause because you’re endorsing an explicitly religious position. The alternative is to declare the grounds a limited public forum and that allows everyone to put up monuments to their religious positions and the legislature doesn’t have to vote on it. Heads we win, tails you lose.