Supreme Court Takes New Ten Commandments Case

bible-pictures-4-tn1.jpgIn what could be a major new religion clause case, the Supreme Court has taken a case involving a Ten Commandments monument in a public park in Utah. The Tenth Circuit ruled with little known church that the city it must allow followers of the Summum religion to erect a similar monument displaying the “Seven Aphorisms of Summum.”

In 2005, the president of the Salt Lake City-based Summum church asked the city for permission to erect the “seven aphorisms” monument near the city’s Ten Commandments monument in Pioneer Park. The Ten Commandments monuments was one of many supplied by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. It was placed there in 1971.

While a federal judge ruled for the city, the Tenth Circuit ruled for the church and held that it must allow the church access for its own speech. The city in other words created an open forum — a rather novel extension of prior cases. The full Tenth Circuit then heard the case and split evenly — resulting in the panel decision being upheld. Former law professor Judge Michael McConnell wrote a stinging dissent, noting that “Every park in the country that has accepted a VFW memorial is now a public forum for the erection of permanent fixed monuments; they must either remove the war memorials or brace themselves for an influx of clutter.” Of course, one man’s clutter is another man’s Aphorisms.

For the full story, click here and here.

This church can be traced to an event in 1975 when Claude “Corky” Nowell says that he encountered beings described as “Summa Individuals.” Nowell says that they presented him with concepts regarding the nature of creation. Nowell founded Summum and changed his name to Summum Bonum Amen Ra, but now goes by Corky Ra. Click here.The Church believes that Moses was one of the enlightened people given the higher principles on Mount Sinai. However, the people could not appreciate their meaning so he went back and got the lower principles that are now the Ten Commandments.

For those not familiar with the Seven Aphorisms, here they are:

Click here

3 thoughts on “Supreme Court Takes New Ten Commandments Case”

  1. Unlike Judge McConnell, I long for the day when all this utter foolishness is on public display for the world’s citizenry to inspect. Maybe this perspective will promote a revelation on the superstition and stupidity that now passes for religion. It is sort of a divine Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not Museum where one leaves not full of wonder at the world, but astounded at the gullibility of its inhabitants.

  2. Well if the Court follows the reasoning it adopted in the Texas case, then the fact that the FOE monument has been sitting there for 30+ years will count for a kind of de-sacralization notion. The monument is there by custom and because it is a decalogue can be construed as a general kind of heritage display.

    A display of the Summum principles (or my favorite, a 10-foot Golden Buddha) would be very different and I do think the Court will over-rule the 10th Circuit. It is a chance for them to give a little more dicta on the implications of the Van Orden decision.

    Or so speaks this dunce. Mespo? Jay? JT?

    I note that Jay Sekulow has been involved in this case.

  3. I would love to see a riotous display of as many religions as well as secular ethical principles allowed wherever authoirities deem it necessary to present the 10 commandments in a public place. Every year my neighbor erects a giant, in your face menorah and I love seeing it. I think the multi faith and secular displays would spark many interesting, if heated, discussions.

    This is where the rubber meets the road. Conservative religious people who want prayer in schools, for example, have never wanted anyone praying to gods, goddesses or the flying spaghetti monster. It does make clear that they wish precisely for a state sponsored religion, theirs.

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