Skip to comments.Winston-Salem official places Ten Commandments at city hall [Vernon Robinson - Black Conservative]
Posted on 01/19/2004 11:26:29 AM PST by TaxRelief
01/19/2004 Associated Press A city council member placed a granite block bearing the Ten Commandments on a walkway in front of a city hall deserted on Monday's Martin Luther King holiday.
Vernon Robinson, a black conservative who has been on the city council since 1998, said he and four helpers acted on the holiday because the barren adjoining parking lot allowed him to move in a truck and crane to position the one-ton block.
The monument inscribed on one side with the Ten Commandments and on the other side with the Bill of Rights was positioned on a landing of the stairway ascending to the 1930s city hall at dawn Monday, Robinson said.
Robinson said he had no permit or other authorization to place the monument on public property.
The $2,000 cost of buying and moving the four- tall, blue-granite block was entirely his own, said Robinson, who is running for a vacant U.S. House seat.
Mayor Allen Joines did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the city's response.
"This display is intended to acknowledge the undeniable role that the Ten Commandments and Bill of Rights have played in developing the American legal tradition," Robinson said in a telephone interview.
"These are the ideas on which society has been built and these works encapsulate the belief system on which the republic was founded."
Robinson said he was inspired to act by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who ordered a 2 1/2-ton Ten Commandments monument placed in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building in 2001.
A federal judge found the monument to be an unconstitutional promotion of religion by government in 2002. Moore was removed from office last year for violating ethics rules by not obeying the federal court order to remove the monument.
Robinson said the monument was quarried and cut in Georgia and shipped from there.
In his March 27 "Rule of Law" column "Supreme Court Tackles School Prayer at Football Games," law professor Douglas Kmiec argues that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been given such an expansive reading by the Supreme Court that it now is seen to be in conflict with the Free Exercise and Free Speech clauses of the same amendment: In order to prevent an establishment of religion, we must restrict the speech of citizens (such as prayers delivered at high school graduations and, perhaps, football games as well). Prof. Kmiec thinks this reading of the First Amendment is wrong, and so do I.
But he goes on to demonstrate that his understanding (or misunderstanding) of the meaning of the First Amendment is fundamentally the same as that which led the court to its current position. He writes, "If speech advancing religion is attributable to the government, the Establishment Clause requires the government to stop." It is difficult to imagine an opinion further removed from the original meaning of the First Amendment, which is why the court finds it challenging if not impossible to reconcile the Establishment Clause with Free Exercise and Free Speech.
First is the massive fact that the First Amendment was meant to place restrictions on the actions of Congress only, not states, counties or cities. Thus, on its face, it does not require local governments to stop advancing religion. But even if one accepts the dubious doctrine of incorporation, Prof. Kmiec's opinion is unsubstantiated.
Under pressure from groups such as the ACLU, the courts have decided that government, at all levels, must remain neutral toward religion and "irreligion." In this, the ACLU would agree with Prof. Kmiec's assertion that government must not advance religion at all. But the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was never intended to prohibit government from advancing religion and morality. On the contrary, the men who framed and ratified the Constitution, as well as the Bill of Rights, believed only a moral people capable of self-restraint can be free, and thus they thought it essential that government take an active role in promoting the moral character of the American people.
For example, the first Congress (which adopted the First Amendment) passed the Northwest Ordinance, which stated, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." And George Washington, in his first speech as president, appealed to the "Almighty Being who rules the universe" for the success of the government of the United States.
The Establishment Clause was meant to do one thing: prevent the establishment of an official religion, so that sectarian differences could be taken out of the political realm, thus securing the possibility of a free government that operates by majority rule, while protecting minority rights. In principle the Establishment Clause does no more than the Article VI prohibition of religious tests for national office.
If the "laws of nature and of nature's God" are the source of our rights, then public recognition of God, religion and morality is in the service of the rights of all men, including atheists. If the purpose of government is to "secure these rights," then promotion of such recognition is the duty of government.
Eze 20:34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
Eze 20:35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
Eze 20:36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze 20:37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
Eze 20:38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
Some in the crowd report Mr. Robinson ( no relation to the famous Mrs. Robinson ) was seen with both hands outstretched and what appeared to be his middle fingers pointed up wards while yelling "Hey ACLU, KISS MY A**! Just try and take this one!"
One of Judge Moore's arguments was that he was the highest judicial officer of the state and that he controlled the building. From what I can gather, the councilman is neither the highest legislative officer in the city nor does he control the building (our city council has a council president). However, the mayor is a highest member of the executive branch of the city--and our city's mayor physically controls city hall--so the councilman may be setting up a confrontation with the mayor.
As far as I can tell, the councilman acted on his own, without even a resolution from the city council. He seems to be daring both the city council and the mayor to take the monument down.
I wonder what office he plans on running for?
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