August 28, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if you take God out of everything? Where does that leave you? Hell, and thats where we are headed if we continue to allow religious beliefs to be overshadowed by petty legal issues. It may not be the brimstone and fire of scripture, but serial killers, school shootings and that kind of mess is bad enough for me.

We dont want to offend the small minority of people that dont believe in God or choose to worship in some other manner. So we cant have public displays like the statue of the 10 Commandments located in front of the Alabama Judicial building which is at the forefront of the news today. It doesnt matter that it offends a whole lot more people that we are wasting our time and money in a long drawn out court battle to force the removal of the monument, which does not offend the great majority of people.

Instead of simply ignoring the statue, a few people instead would rather cry foul, drum up a bunch of negative publicity and hope that a judge somewhere will interpret the law in their favor. Im not a real big art fan, so I suppose I would be opposed to government spending a big chunk of money to place a statue of any sort. But what good does it accomplish to remove this statue? Theres lots of artwork out there that I find offensive (or at least a waste of money, space and time) but I dont feel like my rights should stand above the rights of the artist, buyer or exhibitor.

Im not saying that the constitution is a petty legal issue. Sure it guarantees the separation of church and state. But we cant believe that our forefathers had this in mind when they drafted the greatest form of government known to mankind. God was very present in the forming of our way of government, yet today more and more minority issues are forcing religion out of our public lives. The leaders obviously wanted to insure religious freedom and did not want the government to force a particular type of religion, or religion at all for that matter, on any citizens. At the same time the nation was created to insure its citizens had the right to worship. The initial settlers came to America to escape religious persecution by their governments so they could have freedom to worship. They didnt want government telling them how to worship. But in essence, isnt government doing just that when it prevents those people who do believe in God from praying in school or from displaying statues of the 10 commandments in front of their office?

How does a statue of the 10 Commandments force religion on a citizen? If you dont believe in God or the 10 commandments then it should simply be another fictional piece of artwork that surely can not be any more offensive than some of these new wave, modernistic statues that adorn other government sites. Maybe all of the civil rights groups and the attorneys that drum up these types of protests should not get paid for their work. I suspect they are spending United States dollars just like the rest of us even though the bills say In God We Trust. I dont see these folks boycotting money anytime real soon.

Its really pretty simple to me. If you dont like the statue - dont look at it. But it seems so hypocritical to express your religious beliefs in opposition of a statue that simply is expressing the religious beliefs of another. I dont want you promoting your religious beliefs, so Ill use my own religious ideas to oppress yours.

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