By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Schools Boards in Floyd and Giles Counties have had running legal battles over whether or not the Ten Commandments could be posted in schools.
The Boards contend that the "document", historically accepted by Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has been privately displayed with other foundational pieces like the US Constitution and the Magna Charta. The ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation are arguing on behalf of a student that the display violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
A critical question in this issue is, "When can a public body approve the display, discussion, or even debate of a religious document without the perception of an endorsement?"
Some argue, never!
Or, when can a plaintiff hide behind the anonymity of "John Doe 1" in order to take the case to federal court?
Let's apply the "every man" review to the Establishment Clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
It seems that the common sense interpretation would be that the government is prohibited from establishing a religion, like England had done, or from permitting its citizens from exercising their own.
While I would clearly protect against the teaching of a dogma or faith in the public schools, shouldn't we equally protect another clearly stated principal in the first Amendment, Speech! It seems that a Buddhist display would be enlightenment but a display of the Ten Commandments is insensitivity.