You Can’t Remove the Commandments
Although I have more to say about this issue (and will hopefully do so in the near future), the Providence Journal editorial page’s position on the removal of the Ten Commandments from Roger Williams Park is worth a separate cheer:
It would be as easy to expunge our Judeo-Christian heritage as it would be to erase our classical heritage — seen in everything from the Greek-inspired love of argument, reasoning and scientific analysis to the handsome columns that adorn our public places. The Ten Commandments are part of our common inheritance; they helped shape our laws and culture.
The few fanatics who are bothered by a Ten Commandments monument in a city park would cite the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause,” which supposedly guarantees the absolute separation of church and state. The actual language of the amendment, however, and the conduct of Americans for centuries suggest that something far different was stated and intended: that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
(I do have to admit, though, that it sometimes seems that the editorial position of the paper depends mostly on who was able to make it to the relevant meeting.)