I'm sure most of you have heard about this, but I know that many (most?) of you aren't from this state. As a native Alabamian, born and raised here for all my life, I thought that maybe I'd say my piece here on my journal just in case anyone wanted to know what the local boys thought about all this. Feel free to reply, discuss, or ignore - I don't care. ::shrugs::
The first time I heard about people trying to remove the now infamous Ten Commandments statue was several years ago. I was at least in High School, maybe even Middle School instead. Criminals were upset by the statue. On the way to the courtroom to be tried for murder charges, the murderers said that it made them feel bad to see the statue that reads "Thou Shalt Not Kill". At the time, it was laughable. C'mon...if you killed someone, you *deserve* to feel bad. You feel guilty because you are guilty. It's not my fault, God's fault, Moses's fault, or Moore's fault that your conscience is gnawing at you for what you did. I'm certain that the people that you raped/beaten/shot/stabbed felt a whole lot worse when you killed them...
Now, however, people (non-Alabamians for the most part, I might add) are complaining about how it violates the seperation of Church and State. First off, if you don't live here, it shouldn't bother you. It's not a part of your life, and doesn't effect you in the least. The people of Alabama like it, and they wanted it, and it's been a fixture in the courthouse for as long as I can remember. Secondly, to quote the law itself: Article I, Section 3 of the Alabama Constitution says "No preference shall be given by law to any religious ... denomination or mode of worship." It also says "The civil rights, privileges and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any matter affected by his religious principles." It does not say anything about it being illegal to mention God's name or anything pertaining to religion outside of a church. It only says that the government cannot sponsor an official religion. No one is forcing people to become Christians against their will. No one is keeping people from believing in their own religion(s). This is just a decoration that is on display in a public place. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Thirdly, it's a statue. Not a religious artifact itself, like the old golden idols that people used to worship back in the day. It's a statue. There are statues all over the place. Have you ever seen a statue of the old Greek or Roman gods displayed in public before? Sure you have. Did you interpret it as the government attempting to force us into accepting the Olympian pantheon as our own? Nope.
Fourthly, there are other replicas of the Ten Commandments out there. Many of which are displayed in public. No need for this one to be such a horrible thing when there's hundreds of other ones out there. Fifthly, if it was as bad of a thing as everyone is trying to have you believe, they would have taken it down years ago. There would have been such a public outcry that the thing would not have stayed there longer than a week. (Remember how vocal all the anti-War people were a few months back? It could have easily been just like that.)
Perhaps most obviously, the Ten Commandments are *the* most famous, recognisable laws ever. While I will admit that I am a Christian, and that I may be slightly biased, I am trying to put my biases aside and see this as rational as possible. Even if you are the most anti-religious person in the world, you have to agree with this even if you disagree with most of my other points listed above. The Ten Commandments statue is a statue depicting some of (if not the) most famous laws ever. The middle of a courthouse sounds like the perfect place to display such a monument.
The Ten Commandments are the most famous example of laws known to man. Everyone alive knows of the Ten Commandments, and probably knows several of them like "Thou Shalt Not Kill" even if they aren't Christian themselves. Kinda like how even pagans and satanists and the like know what Christmas is, and know what it's celebrating even if they don't belive in Christ themselves. (That brings me to an interesting thought...why aren't people up in arms over Christmas? A national, government-recognized holliday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? That's about as religious as you can get! I guess when presents are involved, the people who are now so outraged can just deal with it and not be so horribly offended...)
All in all, I think it's stupid that the vocal minority can march into my state and force it's people to do what it wants them to do at their whim. We've had the thing for years. We like it here. We're even fighting to keep it here. Why do the troublemakers want to bust in here and stir up shit now? Can't they just leave us alone?
The good news in all of this is that Gov. Riley himself is choosing to back Moore. Also, the two governor candidates from the state next door, Mississippi, have both said that if we aren't allowed to keep the statue here that they'd be more than willing to display it over there. (And when's the last time you've ever seen two members of two opposing parties, much less two people in direct competition with one another, both agree on something?)
Long story short - I think the monument should stay as it has a significant value to the history of Law itself. There hasn't been a problem until now, and there likely wouldn't have been one except for all the cameras swarming towards Montgomery desperate for a story. People dying in Iraq? The post-war fatalities have exceeded the wartime casualties? The economy is in the sewer? North Korea's trying to declare itself a nuclear power? NASA was found to be completely responsible for the recent shuttle disaster because they were more worried about sticking to schedules than about the lives of seven Americans? Nah....let's just dig up a quick story so that people will forget all about that. Like they forgot about Chandra Levy and Gary Condit when the Twin Towers fell. Like how Clinton tried to get us forget about cigars and "first fluids" on blue dresses by bombing Africa.
The media: the ultimate weapon of mass distraction.