Against 10 Commandments in Government Buildings

Against 10 Commandments in Government Buildings

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The Ten Commandments should not be allowed to be posted in United States Government buildings. The Ten Commandments are a Judaic set of laws that according to their religious history was handed down from God to the prophet Moses. I believe these postings harm our county, its image of religious freedom, and it violates American citizen’s first amendment right. The three main reasons I believe that they should not be allowed is that it promotes a state-endorsed religion, it promotes religious intolerance and it creates an uncomfortable environment for people of other faiths.
State-endorsed Religion
The first reason I am against the postings is that it creates a state-endorsed religion. A state-endorsed religion is where a government that while it does not make one religion law it still bases a majority of its laws on secular views. If the US Government were allowed to post the Ten Commandments in all its institutions than what is to stop them from enforcing these religious laws that have been posted? Sure there are many commandments that are already law, “thou shalt not steal, though shall not commit murder.” These are laws that everyone should live by but what of “Thou shalt have no other gods before me?” This is the second commandment and as such it is very clearly a statement against other religious views. If this were allowed to be posted by government officials and if it influences our youth in schools in any way than by definition America will have created a state-endorsed religion which is in direct conflict with religious freedom.
A state-endorsed religion is a direct violation of every American citizen’s first amendment. The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (Bill of Rights). The US Government has a duty to its people to uphold its constitutional laws that founded this country. If the US Government allows government building to post the Ten Commandment it loses its neutrality on religion because it will have to choose a version of the Ten Commandments that it will display, violating right of Americans.
The promotion of a state-endorsed religion goes against everything in which what this country was founded on.

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Although when people first came to the Americas many years ago they came to escape religious persecution this country is not what this country’s legal system is based on. George Washington wrote a letter to the United Baptist Churches in Virginia back in May of 1789 stating that “every man…ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience” (Washington, 1789). Since then history has proven the importance of the separation of church and state. For example a person can pick up the newspaper, or watch the news and you are guaranteed to learn about some type of religious bias around the world.
Some Americans today may believe that this country was founded on Christianity and still is a Christian nation. The fact of the matter is that this country has grown to become very diverse in its people and their faiths. In posting the Ten Commandments in government buildings it gives a perception about the government, and it also implies that the government supports this one type of religion. The endorsement of a religion in government building furthermore shows favoritism towards that particular religion. The first amendment not only implies the freedom of religion but also the freedom not to be over powered and burdened by other religions. If a government building posts one religion’s principles then they should post all religious principles.
Encouraging Religious Intolerance
The second reason the Ten Commandment should not be posted in government building is because it encourages religious intolerance. Throughout history this country has seen many people migrate to the United States of America in search of religious freedom. When government buildings posts religious principles, like the Ten Commandments or similar to, it is a form of “peer pressure” towards people of other faith to believe in a particular faith. In allowing the Ten Commandment to be posted it gives the government the opportunity to enforce these principles on to its people. For example when children attend school teachers often post classroom rules on the walls of the classroom thus telling children what is expected of them. Therefore, when a government building post the Ten Commandment on its walls is gives a prejudice view saying that anyone who does not believe in that religion is wrong.
I suspect that if and when the US Government allows government building to post the Ten Commandment it would soon follow with wanting the employees to believe in, abide by, and uphold these principles. The reasoning behind this is because when the Commandments are posted on its wall it is like saying that is the creed of that building; therefore it will stands by these principles and expects its employees to do the same by represents that office and its beliefs.
I believe that the posting of the Ten Commandment not only just supports religious intolerance, but it gives a sense of false authority. This is because it tells peoples what it believe is morally right and wrong which can conflict with what a court of law enforces as being right and wrong. For instance, the commandment that says that “thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” although this may be offensive it is not against the law.
An Uncomfortable Atmosphere
The third and final reason the Ten Commandments should not be posted is because it establishes an atmosphere that can be extremely uncomfortable for people of other faiths. These commandments often refer to Jewish and Christian religions and furthermore it can be completely offensive to other religions. If a person from another religion walks into a government building where the Ten Commandments were posted that person may feel insulted and as a result not want to conduct business or future business. For instance, the third commandment states that “thou shalt have not other gods before me” if a person’s faith said that there are many gods; consequently if a person sees the Ten Commandments posted the person could feel unusual because he or she is not of the norm.
Having an environment that portrays just one religion and excludes other religions can cause people of other religions to feel rejected too. One can only just imagine going into a building where there would be the Ten Commandments posted on an extensive monument right out front. The first impression that that person would obtain is that everyone believes and stands by these principles. A person would immediately feel like an outsider because this would be the first impression.
When posting the Ten Commandments on government buildings creates an atmosphere that can be extremely uncomfortable for people in other faith it also give people the opportunity to be prejudice against other people that do not believe in that faith. One occurrence could be a person applying for a job at a particular building and the management not wanting to higher another worker who does not have the same faith.
In conclusion the Ten Commandments should not be posted in government building for the reason that is promotes a state-endorsed religion, it promotes religious intolerance and it creates an uncomfortable environment for people of other faiths. The Ten Commandments are religious principles that should not be imposed on other because it is contrary to the first amendment.
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