2 thoughts on “Idolizing the big 10

  1. I agree with your comments. Asra Nomani in her book points out that the Saudis are hardcore about pictures of people being idolatrous, but that hasn’t stopped them from plastering Mecca with pictures of the ruling caste. Apparently, not looking directly into the camera is the key difference between idolatry and a halal snapshot.
    It’s hard to believe that Ten Commandments cases are still litigated, but there you go. I’ll predict a split-the-baby (but hardly Solomonaic) decision that will generate litigation (and legal fees) for years still. Here’s my prediction: on a 5-4 vote, displays of the Ten Commandments on public property will be held not to violate constitutional principles of separation of church and state. However, the court will refuse to establish a bright line rule but instead hold that in each case, the question will be whether the display is, in the “totality of the circumstances” for a secular or religious purpose. One “prong” of the test will be how prominent the display is. So a display the size of a house in a public park is out, but a small display in a courthouse along with, say, a display of a copy of the constitution or the magna carta is not. Sometimes, this is as intellectual as constitutional analysis gets.
    But this court is not about to invalidate the countless examples of religious iconography that has always been present in American public life, like prayers before legislative sessions, or even the Court’s baliff’s cry of “God save this Honorable Court” before the Nine take the bench. The last two examples are not implicated directly in the present cases, but you can seen the “slippery slope” that the examples present. On the the hand, I don’t think this Court is prepared to say that it’s ok to have laser light shows over the Capitol building featuring the Ten Commandments and Cecil B. DeMille’s voiceover.
    But of course, I could be wrong. Allahu alam.

  2. Oddly enough, I think I would be OK with the laser light shows. You could argue about the ephemerality of life (Buddhism), the cyclical nature of life (Hinduism), techno-wizadry (Atheism), of course you make the Abrahamics happy. Although I was thinking James Earl Jones for the voice.

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