In 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.
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:
THE PRINCIPLE OF PSYCHOKINESIS
THE PRINCIPLE OF CORRESPONDENCE
THE PRINCIPLE OF VIBRATION
THE PRINCIPLE OF OPPOSITION
THE PRINCIPLE OF RHYTHM
THE PRINCIPLE OF CAUSE AND EFFECT
THE PRINCIPLE OF GENDER