Oh Jesus

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Leave it to Georgia to test, try and instigate America's tolerance for religion in the public square. When enough people find out about this class, head for cover:

ATLANTA - Georgia became what is believed to be the first state to offer government-sanctioned elective classes on the Bible, with Gov. Sonny Perdue signing a bill into law Thursday.

The governor also signed a bill permitting the display of the Ten Commandments at courthouses, an issue that has raised thorny constitutional questions.

Critics say the measures blur the line between church and state.

The new law allows elective classes on the Bible to be taught to high school students. Local school systems will decide whether to teach the courses.

Thanks to a ridiculously pragmatic and indecisive Supreme Court last term, we don't really know how constitutional the Ten Commandments are in public (in one case the display wrongly promoted religion, in another it justifiably promoted history; both cases would most likely be constitutional now that Alito has replaced O'Connor who was left-leaning on religion).

It is my belief the First Amendment bars our government from sponsoring a religion in an official capacity. I don't believe it is offended when a public school offers an elective course on the matter. In Georgia's case, the Bible. Nor do I believe the First Amendment would be offended by a Ten Commandments display just as long as its purpose isn't to enforce religious dogma on the populace.

Naturally the law will be tried in federal judiciary, but the current markup of the Supreme Court, I believe, will allow it to stand as it should. No one is compelled to take the religious course, and no one is forced to recognize a monument of the Ten Commandments during their business at the courthouse.