Friday, August 27, 2010

Nine Justices and Ten Commandments

by Linda Greenhouse

New York Times
August 26, 2010

While the politically manipulated controversy over the proposed Islamic center in Lower Manhattan will eventually end, there is one dispute over religious symbolism and identity that remains, apparently, endless. I’m referring to the continuing effort by state and local governments to post the Ten Commandments in public places.

Believe it or not, a familiar Ten Commandments case is now heading back to the Supreme Court. The court has spent years making a nearly complete hash out of the public display of religious symbols, and the prospect of watching lawyers and justices engage in still more contorted efforts to attach supposedly secular meaning to obviously sectarian objects and texts is not a pleasant one. But the case could provide a window on how committed the Roberts court is to the project that some justices have clearly embraced, that of carving out more space for religion in the public square.