Opinion

Astonished by Alabama: a monumental waste of time!

The United States is currently faced with many pressing issues. War, unemployment, and terrorism are all serious problems that are constantly on the minds of our nation’s leaders. Why was it so important to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama judicial building?

In a time so critical to our nation, people in Alabama are worried about ensuring the separation of church and state because it’s constitutional (facetious emphasis). I’m sorry, which part of the Constitution is that? The first amendment, I’m sorry, no. That’s right it’s not in the Constitution. Nor is it in the Bill of Rights. There is also nothing about the separation of church and state in the federalist papers, if you were wondering.
In fact, the courageous men that founded this great nation did so as Christians who wanted to ensure that this government would make certain the freedom of religious practice. The first time this idea of separation of church and state was addressed was in 1947. In this case in a New Jersey town, the state was reimbursing parents for the cost of transporting their children to school and the Court found it to be unconstitutional for parents whose children went to parochial schools (a Catholic school in this instance) to be reimbursed.

In this case the Court identified what the framers meant when they wrote that Congress shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion.” It was interpreted that they meant that the government could not in any way support a religion. That means, of course, no tax funding for anything religious and so on.
Off this tangent we arrive at my point. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and other private donors bought the monument of the Ten Commandments. It was not paid for by the state. Although I must say it was not his place to do so, the monument caused no harm to anyone. And if anyone says that it causes emotional distress give me a break.

Many monuments exactly like the one that now sits in a dark room at the Alabama judicial building can be found in Washington D.C. federal buildings as well as at Congress. As long as that monument causes no harm, there is no constitutional basis for its removal. I think James Madison would have some monumental words to say about this if he were still alive.

Ernesto Zaldivar is a freshman majoring in Political Science. He can be contacted at SavageErnster55@aol.com.

September 12, 2003

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Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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