Religion in the Media
By Julia A. Keirns
I found an article when researching on the internet titled “Supreme Court Backs Removal of Ten Commandments Monument” and it bothered me. This is an Associated Press article published on October 16, 2017 at the Boston Globe. The link for the article is as follows —
Originally a lower court had ordered this city in New Mexico to remove the monument of the Ten Commandments from the lawn of the courthouse stating that it violated the separation of church and state laws prohibiting any government entity from giving special favor to any one religion. The opposers of the monument seemed to have no other beef with the monument other than it offended them and their personal religious views. One side stated that Americans should not be forced to physically view monuments that oppose their personal views. Really? I don’t see that anyone is “forced” to view anything. The other side stated that just because a physical monument offends a group of people is not valid cause to challenge it or remove it. The city government where the monument was placed, had also placed several other monuments preserving historical documents along with it. These other monuments included the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and the Bill of Rights. They had also posted a statement publicly declaring that none of the documents on the monuments reflected the personal views or opinions of the city itself. In my opinion, they were just trying to honor history.
The controversy surrounding this particular monument was nothing more than personal offense and it was fought hard enough with support from the ACLU that it caused this monument to be removed. The fact that the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that the monument needed to be removed simply because it offended some people, just goes to show that all monuments challenged in the future because of being personally offensive to one group of people, will always be allowed to be removed. Every single person in the world is probably personally offended by something. The whole issue of separation of church and state came about because of an atheist being offended by religious views of others being promoted publicly. This type of personal offense being honored is happening in America right now with the Black Lives Matter group claiming to be offended by historical statues of famous people simply because these famous people owned slaves or promoted black slavery in the past, and getting their way. Seems to me that all I have to do is be personally offended by something a person did over a hundred years ago and I will be able to have any monument that goes against my beliefs removed from public view. That is, if I am selfish enough to pursue it. But the truth of the matter is that I am not offended by history. I am angered about wrong historical viewpoints that allowed the oppression of others to be enacted upon, such as slavery, or genocide, but I am even more angered that historical monuments, artifacts, culture and literature can be so easily disregarded by those who are offended by them. History is valuable and if forgotten will be repeated. I am sure that a lot of what I write does not portray anyone’s personal views but my own. But I still have the freedom to write it.
If this Ten Commandments monument was forced to be removed by the Supreme Court in this small town of one state, then why have all monuments of the Ten Commandments in the whole country not been removed from public view? Maybe they have and I just don’t know it. And if the Ten Commandments, then why not all Christian monuments? Why are churches or mosques allowed to be built and stay built? And if all Christian monuments, then why not all religious monuments from all religions including Hinduism, Atheism, Buddhism, Islam, everything. All religions and non-religions everywhere should not be allowed to have any physical monuments or artifacts placed within, around or on any government property. Has this been done and just not promoted enough on the news that those of us who would care about it don’t know that it is being done? Maybe I will have to do more research on the matter.
Every single monument ever created by any one artist is a piece of art created by that person for a reason and should be appreciated for what it is worth. What about paintings of naked people being publicly displayed in a public museum where children are allowed to enter and view? I bet that offends a lot of people. Just because it is art, does that make it okay? Is this not offensive to the parents of those young children? I could go on forever. Every single piece of art will offend someone. No one else has to like it or agree with it. You don’t have to like what I write. You can just choose not to read it. If this type of removal of historical monuments is allowed to continue, it will never end and the prophecy of George Orwell in the book he wrote 1984 will come to fruition.