Friday, October 28, 2005

Interesting Debate on the Ten Commandments

I know I should be blogging about Scooter Libby being indicted, but I was thinking about this issue tonight. This is a transcript from Crossfire of a debate involving Count Novakula, Paul Begala, Jay Sekulow (who does a lot of legal work for the religious right) and Barry Lynn, a strong advocate of church-state separation. It's actually pretty enlightening. I found this segment to be particularly interesting:

SEKULOW: Well, these monuments were put up by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.


BEGALA: To promote a movie.

SEKULOW: Actually...


BEGALA: Cecil B. DeMille made a film in 1956.

(CROSSTALK) SEKULOW: There's no doubt it. I mean...

BEGALA: This was a Hollywood promotional stunt.

SEKULOW: And it was...

BEGALA: It was. That's how they got there.

SEKULOW: It was a promotional stunt that took place.

Look, the evidence -- I have argued 12 of these cases. and just evidence is clear. Originally, these were going to be pieces of paper that a judge wanted to give out. And DeMille said, well, you know, I have got this movie going on. They used to send actually Yul Brynner...

Yes, folks, the Ten Commandments controversy was launched by a movie promotion. How did America survive for the 180 years that we didn't have the Ten Commandments plastered all over the place?

Look, it would be historically inaccurate to argue that our legal system has no religious roots. But the founders of our country were not using explicit religious traditions when they drew up our fundamental law. And we need to remember the roots of the American legal system in ancient Middle Eastern law, Greek law, Roman law, and especially English Common Law. Human institutions have complex roots; the great simplifiers on the Right often overlook this.

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