Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Last year, a monument of the Ten Commandments was removed from the rotunda of Alabama’s State Judicial Building. Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was subsequently removed from office for refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove the monument. Similar confrontations over the display of the Ten Commandments in official settings have taken place in other states.

In an interview, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson discussed his new book, “The Ten Offenses” in which he says there is an assault on America’s Christian heritage.

Question: What prompted you to write this book?

Answer: Throughout the past decade, I began to see an assault on the Ten Commandments. We saw this most recently in the decision of the Alabama state court to expunge the Ten Commandments from the rotunda in the Alabama State Judicial Building and Judge Roy Moore’s effort to retain them. As I analyzed the problem, I realized that there is a consensus among mainstream Americans that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of America’s common-law jurisprudence. However, there is a minority of Americans who believe that the Ten Commandments are not a blessing, but in fact believe that they are offensive to their lifestyle.

Q: Why do you think some Americans find the Ten Commandments offensive?

A: Some Americans feel that the Ten Commandments interfere with their lifestyle — and, in fact, run contrary to it. The Ten Commandments are absolutes. For a society that embraces moral relativism, this is difficult to accept. More so for those who believe that there are no absolutes. As Ted Koppel said at a speech at Duke University, the Ten Commandments are not 10 suggestions, they are 10 commandments.

The First Commandment is, “I am the Lord your God … do not worship any other gods beside me.” [Exodus 20:2-3 NLT] This commandment claims God is the supreme god. Hindus have 300 gods, Muslims have Allah and secularists have no god at all. For many, exclusiveness of one god becomes offensive.

Other commandments forbid adultery and sexual activity such as coveting another man’s wife. For many Americans, this is offensive because it condemns the practices and lifestyle they are living.

Q: What is the premise of your book?

A: For 300 years, we have believed in the God of the Bible. Our society has been founded on this belief. However, left-wing radicals such as the ACLU, NOW and gay activists, to name a few, have made a determined assault on the foundation of our culture. They have used the courts to impose their will on the majority of Americans.

My book shows how under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is supposed to be the dominant branch of our government. Unfortunately, the court has usurped the role of the legislative and executive branch of our government.

This minority is trying to remove God from the public arena. They don’t believe in God. They don’t belive in the Bible. They want to do away with Christmas, Easter and all symbols of religion in our national life. We, the people of this nation, need to fight the attempts of a small minority to take away our religious rights and freedoms.

Q: Some Americans say promoting religion in the public square, such as displaying the Ten Commandments in schools or state courts, is a violation of church-state separation. How do you respond to these concerns?

A: Throughout the U.S. Constitution, there is not one mention of the phrase “separation of church and state.” No such prohibition exists in our Constitution. In fact, this phrase was used by Thomas Jefferson in one of his personal letters.

It was only in 1947, 340 years into America’s history, that this phrase was used in the case Everson v. Board of Education. To those who are opposed to the public display of the Ten Commandments, I would like to make clear that there is no such thing as a violation of church and state.

The U.S. Constitution states that Congress should not pass any law which establishes one religion and/or prohibits the free exercise thereof. Congress forbids this. This is our First Amendment.

These Americans should take note that there are references to God in every one of the 50 state constitutions. The Supreme Court ruled in 1892 in the Trinity Trustees case, as Justice Brewer pointed out, that America “is a Christian nation.”

Q: What are the long-term repercussions of the removal of the Ten Commandments from society?

A: The removal of the Ten Commandments is only one part of the assault on our religious values. If we believe that our liberties are a gift from almighty God, they cannot be subject to the fickle whims of a transient majority. If we allow this to happen, we will be subject to the dictatorship and tyranny of a secular minority. It will then be impossible to govern a people who are given over to sexual excess and who have no regard for the rights of others.

Q: How do you propose society reclaim the Ten Commandments?

A: Knowledge of the Ten Commandments is key. People also need to know who is fighting to take away their values. The ACLU, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, NOW, gay activists and atheists are all attempting to take away the religious freedom of Christians.

As individuals, we can begin by personally living the Ten Commandments. We can take them as something that is normative for our lives. For example, we must be faithful to our spouses, respect the human dignity of man and act justly in our dealings with others by being honest and trustworthy.

We must also sound a note of outrage at the actions of the federal court. We must insist that our elected representatives reclaim the authority given them by our Constitution and limit the role of the judiciary as it was assigned by the framers of the Constitution. America should not have to renounce its religious freedoms to judicial activism run amok.

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