Destroyed Ten Commandments Monument a Victim of a Double Standard
Within 24 hours of its installation on the Arkansas Capitol grounds, a Ten Commandments monument was destroyed by a man who rammed his car into it.
This week, a 32-year-old man was arrested for demolishing a Ten Commandments monument on the Arkansas Capitol grounds. CNN reported that shortly before the incident, the man posted a video to Facebook in which he claimed he was doing it because the monument was a violation of the separation of church and state.
The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits Congress from making any law “respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” The first half of that statement, which is known as the “Establishment Clause,” prohibits lawmakers from making a public monument to any specific religion on the grounds that it would appear the state is promoting one religion over another (or none at all).
Anti-religious people are quick to cite this Constitutional passage whenever they detect a religious monument, particularly of the Christian variety, in a place they think it shouldn’t be.
The Ten Commandments, it should be noted, is not a Christian-only concept. In fact, the laws play critical roles in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. So placing a monument to them, it could be argued, doesn’t establish a specific religion in and of itself at all.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about Christians from both believers and non-believers is that too many Christians want to “cherry pick” the Bible, choosing to follow only the parts they feel work for them and completely ignoring parts they disagree with or would represent an inconvenience.
Regardless of whether you believe the Ten Commandments represents one specific religion or multiple ones, if you support the monument’s destruction because you value the Constitution so much, there’s a problem with the destruction of the monument: the same Constitution that prohibits the government from establishing a religion also upholds the concept of due process, the legal administration to protect and defend our freedoms through the courts, not by taking the law into our own hands.
You can’t purport to defend the Constitution and violate it at the same time. If you do, you’re essentially “cherry picking” the parts that work for you and ignoring the parts that aren’t convenient.
Those who feel the monument violated the Establishment Clause should have allowed the courts to handle the situation through due process.
What’s right, after all, is right.