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Supreme Court Will Rule on Ten Commandments Displays

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Days after rejecting Roy Moore case, Supremes say they'll rule in two Decalogue disputes

Days after rejecting Roy Moore case, Supremes say they'll rule in two Decalogue disputes
In what the Associated Press calls "a surprise announcement," the Supreme Court today said it will consider two cases focusing on public displays of the Ten Commandments.

Liberty Counsel, which represents three Kentucky counties in one of the two cases, calls it "the blockbuster church/state case of the year."

"The decision to review a case involving the display of the Ten Commandments is long overdue," Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver says in a press release. "The lower courts are hopelessly in confusion over the constitutionality of governmental displays of the Ten Commandments."

The Kentucky case focuses on county officials' posting the Decalogue in courthouses, and their adding other historical documents to the display after complaints. In December, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the displays were religious in nature and therefore unconstitutional.

But last November, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a similar display in Texas has "both a religious and secular message," and is therefore constitutional.

The Associated Press says the justices will consider the two cases separately. Last week, the Supreme Court declined to hear former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's appeal to be reinstated after he was removed from office for not removing a massive Commandments monument.

In the 1980 case Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court ruled that it's unconstitutional to post the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms. But that decision narrowly focused its decision on the nature of students as a "captive audience," ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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