Bill OKs 10 Ten Commandments in Ga. government buildings

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ATLANTA — A copy of the Ten Commandments could be posted in all Georgia government buildings and schools under a bill passed unanimously Tuesday by House lawmakers.

Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, is seeking to expand a 2006 law that already permits the passage from the Old Testament to be displayed in judicial buildings and courthouses when accompanied by other historical documents deemed to have influenced the U.S. legal system. State lawmakers passed that original law one year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Commandment displays in two Kentucky courthouses, ruling they appeared to be a government endorsement of Christianity.

His latest bill passed by a vote of 161-0 and now heads to the state Senate. It has few vocal opponents and a strong chance of passing in a Bible Belt Legislature.

“If you look at the law of the United States, we have a lot of laws that are based on the Christian and Jewish Ten Commandments, so I felt that was a very appropriate item to be put in there,” Benton said.

His opponents argue the bill would allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in school buildings, an area where courts typically draw a sharper line in favor of the secular in disputes over church and state.

“There’s a faulty premise there and that is that The Ten Commandments has anything to do with the civil laws of the United States - it does not, of course,” said Barry Lynn, a Christian minister and the executive director of the Washington-based Americans United For Separation Of Church and State. “We don’t make it illegal to dishonor our mother and father. We don’t have blasphemy laws.”

Lynn predicted that expanding the displays could provoke a lawsuit. Lawyers for his group last year counted at least five other states that passed resolutions or laws promoting the display of the Commandments in public buildings.

OTHER LEGISLATION

• A Senate committee passed legislation Tuesday that would make some types of mass picketing illegal and could result in hefty fines and prison time.

The bill passed without objection from lawmakers, but faced considerable opposition from labor groups. Senate Bill 469 bans mass picketing at private homes or at the site of labor disputes when such protests are blocking or threatening business entrances or certain public areas. People found guilty could be subject to a fine of $1,000 per day of the violation. Any union or organization assisting such efforts could be subject to a fine of $10,000 per day.

• Teachers who cheat on standardized tests in Georgia would forfeit any bonuses they earn for student scores under a bill approved Tuesday in the House.

• The Georgia Senate approved legislation Tuesday that could make the optional “In God We Trust” decals for state license plates free. The bill would also end the requirement for license plates to display a county decal and would make them optional. Currently, drivers have the option of adding the religious decal to the car tag for an additional dollar.

• Legislation heading for a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee would make Georgia consumers pay a sales tax on items they buy online from Web sites based in the state and those considered affiliates of national retailers. The money would be used to restore tax-free shopping days for parents buying school supplies. Gov. Nathan Deal told members of the Georgia Press Association last month that he was considering similar legislation.

– From wire reports

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panamajoe98
0
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panamajoe98 02/29/12 - 02:31 am
2
3
"Barry Lynn, a Christian

"Barry Lynn, a Christian minister and the executive director of the Washington-based Americans United For Separation Of Church and State."
Nice of Mr Lynn to become a minister before he began to interfere with the consent of the governed. Only drones would give this creedence. Please Mr Lynn, show me where the phrase "separation of church and state" is anywhere in our Constitution?
And Mr Lynn, even if the US Constitution did contain that phrase, it would not apply to what individual states chose to do by the people's representatives.
Amendment I: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
Mr Lynn, you seek to prohibit the "free exercise" of religion as chosen by states, who, under the 10th Amendment are allowed to do this.
Please mind your own business Mr Lynn.

justputtin
1384
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justputtin 02/29/12 - 06:56 am
2
2
Awesome!

Awesome!

Bonk
8
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Bonk 02/29/12 - 07:08 am
3
1
I think the state legislature

I think the state legislature should pass laws forcing us to follow the book of Leviticus word for word. That way we can show the world what a progressive, free thinking place Georgia really is.

southern2
5286
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southern2 02/29/12 - 07:37 am
2
4
Be prepared for Eric Holder

Be prepared for Eric Holder to come knocking with #11. "Thou shalt not place any God higher than the throne of Barack Hussein Obama."

southern2
5286
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southern2 02/29/12 - 08:06 am
3
1
Bonk, does that include the

Bonk, does that include the one from Leviticus often quoted by the late author and southern gentleman, Lewis Grizzard, "Thou shalt not put cole slaw on a Bar-B-Que sandwich." Some of our friends from North Carolina might have a difficult time with that one.

Bonk
8
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Bonk 02/29/12 - 08:05 am
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HaHa good one Southern2!

HaHa good one Southern2! Actually, the real tragedy to this story is that the legislature only has 40 working days to get things done. Georgia has real problems and issues but yet they waste theirs and the people's time on this kind of crap. (BTW I grew up in California and our local paper carried Lewis' column. My mother loved him and would read his stuff to me when I was little).

seenitB4
80961
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seenitB4 02/29/12 - 08:30 am
1
1
I loved Lewis Grizzard

I loved Lewis Grizzard too...I'm sure he would have some great comments on this article.
Miss that guy.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/29/12 - 08:47 am
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Bonk posted: I think the

Bonk posted:

I think the state legislature should pass laws forcing us to follow the book of Leviticus word for word.

Hey, at least we would get some new holidays. Check out chapter 23 for some cool new holidays to get off from work!

Bonk
8
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Bonk 02/29/12 - 09:13 am
2
1
Great stuff Little Lamb!

Great stuff Little Lamb! Also, just think about all the money the government would save by not having to prosecute and incarcerate parents that kill their children for mouthing off to them. The bible says that's okie dokey.

seenitB4
80961
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seenitB4 02/29/12 - 09:19 am
1
1
Bonk--LLamb...yall are funny

Bonk--LLamb...yall are funny this am..:)

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 02/29/12 - 09:40 am
4
1
Moses comes down from the

Moses comes down from the mountain carrying two tablets; he addresses the crowd in a New York Yiddish accent (think Jackie Mason):

“I got good news and I got bad news.”

“First the good news, I was able to keep Him down to Ten.”

“Now the bad news, the one about adultery is still in.”

seenitB4
80961
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seenitB4 02/29/12 - 09:50 am
1
1
bj....If I could give you 10

bj....If I could give you 10 thumbs up for THAT--I would..:):)

Bonk
8
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Bonk 02/29/12 - 11:04 am
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1
Good one, BJP! On a serious

Good one, BJP! On a serious note, out of the 10, only 3 have any real meaning in our laws today: Don't kill, don't steal and don't commit perjury. I normally don't give human being a lot of credit, but I truly think that even if the bible was never produced, somewhere along the line we would have figured out that those 3 things are not acceptable behavior. The other 7 are pretty much meaningless, like human beings giving human traits (like jealousy) to a god made in man's own image. I would like to change a little bit to my previous post. We could actually do away with prisions and jail all together. Back in Leviticus, if you were accused of a crime, 1 out of only 3 things could happen to you: death, have the crap beat out of you or they let you go. BTW I like the Jackie Mason version. In the Mel Brooks version there were 15 commandments, but he dropped one of the tablets.

Granddaddy John
101
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Granddaddy John 02/29/12 - 10:12 am
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Bonk real words of wisdom
Unpublished

Bonk real words of wisdom from someone born in the state of fruits and nuts,the two legged kind.

willie7
908
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willie7 02/29/12 - 11:48 am
0
2
We don't need to post the Ten
Unpublished

We don't need to post the Ten Commandments, we need to try and live by them. Our lawmakers should be taken up issues that will solve some of our problems, insteading of posturing.

Cdr4500
20
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Cdr4500 02/29/12 - 12:26 pm
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1
For all of the religious
Unpublished

For all of the religious folks saying since the word "separation" isn't in the first amendment there is not separation of church and state please listen to what I have to say here...

Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Ok folks you don't get it both ways. If congress may not establish a religion then neither can they uphold any religion as a part of their laws. It does not matter if you call it Christianity, Catholicism, Hindu, Wicca, Satanism or Muslim, by the very laws of our country the religion must be removed from this debate.

And do not bother with trying to quote the "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" because that does not in any way shape or form give any religion the right to force the rest of the country to abide by their rules. You don't want to allow gays or whoever in your religion because you are too backwards to accept them, have at it, but STOP forcing your views on the rest of us.

Little Lamb
43803
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Little Lamb 02/29/12 - 12:31 pm
1
3
Cdr needs to look at the

Cdr needs to look at the first few words of the amendment again: Congress shall make no law. . . .

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to the U.S. Congress only. Individual states and towns have more latitude.

Bonk
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Bonk 02/29/12 - 12:35 pm
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cdr, I agree. Everyone is

cdr, I agree. Everyone is free to exercise their religion, regardless of how misguided. Just keep it out of the government. I do believe however that the bible could be studied in school as a companion to Greek and roman mythology. I studied mythology in 9th grade so perhaps there would be no harm in including biblical mythology.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/29/12 - 12:57 pm
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Notice this little religious

Notice this little religious AP article:

Judge Orders Mosque

Now, the U.S. Congress cannot write a law forcing mosques to have safe buildings, because that would be infringing on their free exercise of religion. But states and local governments can and do have statutes and ordinances infringing on their free exercise. It happens in many areas.

OJP
5882
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OJP 02/29/12 - 01:39 pm
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@Little Lamb: That is

@Little Lamb: That is unequivocally incorrect. Pursuant to the doctrine of incorporation (via the 14th Amendment), the restrictions placed on government by the 1st Amendment apply to all levels of government.

OJP
5882
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OJP 02/29/12 - 01:46 pm
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0
This is a huge waste of time

This is a huge waste of time and money.

The first four - 40% - are undoubtedly religious and have no corollary in civil law. Five, Seven, Nine, and Ten - another 40% - are not religious but also have no corollary in civil law.

That leaves Five (no murder) and Eight (no stealing) - a mere 20% of the total. They have corollaries but aren't exactly revelations; these restrictions existed prior to the Ten Commandments and likely are found in every civilization on Earth.

I don't see any real reason to waste taxpayer dollars posting a document of which 80% has no relevance to our legal system. How about our legislators do something that matters (and won't result in litigation)?

Bizkit
29123
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Bizkit 02/29/12 - 01:50 pm
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So I guess we wil need to

So I guess we wil need to deface most of the historic monuments and buildings in Washington DC. Even the Supreme Court Building has the ten commandments and other religious symbos. The issue is clear for the federal government and religion but in actuality it doesn't forbade the states from adopting Sharia Law for instance. The states rights issue which has historically been strong is now weakened by too strong of a federal govt.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/29/12 - 01:54 pm
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@OJP, then explain how the

@OJP, then explain how the Doraville judge was able to prohibit the free exercise of the Muslims’ religion by forcing them to repair their building and get a certificate of occupancy.

OJP
5882
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OJP 02/29/12 - 02:05 pm
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@Little Lamb: Well, knowing

@Little Lamb: Well, knowing nothing about the issue (a cite would help), all I can say is that none of the rights in the Constitution are absolute. Just as someone can't kill every human being because their religion tells them to, all of us, regardless of religious affiliation, have to build to code.

That does not, however, change the well-established legal principle that the 1st Amendment applies to not just "Congress" but to the entire federal government, and to the states (via the 14th Amendment).

ETA: Nevermind, I found the cite in your earlier post.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/29/12 - 02:08 pm
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The citation is in the link

The citation is in the link in my 11:57 post up above.

If the government cannot (by the first amendment) prohibit the free exercise of religion, then explain to me that ordering a church congregation to get a government certificate to occupy their own building against the will of the congregation is not a violation of that principle?

OJP
5882
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OJP 02/29/12 - 02:08 pm
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@Little Lamb: I'm not quite

@Little Lamb: I'm not quite sure I understand what you are getting at. If Congress can't write enforceable code regarding mosques, it is probably because that is not within Congress' authority pursuant to the Constitution (do you have an example of Congress unsuccessfully attempting the same thing?), not because the states have more latitude to violate the 1st Amendment.

Again - the 1st Amendment applies to the states just as it does the federal government.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/29/12 - 02:23 pm
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Here is the source of the AP

Here is the source of the AP story with more details:

WSB

I still say that if the first amendment applies to local governments, then Dekalb County, Georgia is violating these Muslims’ first amendment rights. The judge's order prohibits the free exercise of their religion. They were trying to hold services outdoors, and the judge is prohibiting that.

It's okay for Christians to worship outdoors, why not Muslims?

The fact of the matter is that local governments are bound by their own charters and state constitutions; and not to the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This judge's order proves that, because the judge is prohibiting the free exercise of their religion.

specsta
6073
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specsta 02/29/12 - 04:33 pm
1
0
These legislators certainly

These legislators certainly know how to waste the peoples' time.

I would imagine that job growth, improving education, rebuilding the state's infrastructure and aiding the poor and elderly would take a much higher priority that posting the Ten Commandments or making sure that "In God We Trust" license plate stickers were free. But that's not the case here.

This is part of the reason why so many people have such a dismal view of politicians. They basically do nothing but serve at the beck-and-call of interest groups. While folks are suffering through some of the most challenging times of their lives right now, we have politicians in the state capital worried about the Ten Commandments.

This is beyond outrageous.

InChristLove
22417
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InChristLove 02/29/12 - 04:56 pm
3
1
If the Ten Commandments is

If the Ten Commandments is such a non-issue then why all the fuss to have them removed in the first place. Let them post them wherever they want to. No one is forcing anyone to read them, no one is forcing anyone to follow them, and no one is definitely trying to force anything down anyone's throat. I agree, it's a waste of time, not because they want them put back up, but that they were even taken down in the first place. Heck, there's a lot of things I don't like displayed but I just choose not to look or read them.

InChristLove
22417
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InChristLove 02/29/12 - 05:02 pm
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1
"I think the state

"I think the state legislature should pass laws forcing us to follow the book of Leviticus word for word"

Bonk, why in the world would you want to be bound under the old jewish laws when you can live with so much more freedom under the Law of Christ? And by the way, under the New Covenant which is through Jesus Christ and the law we now live under, it is not okie-doky to slay off your children for being disrespectful. Thank God he fullfilled the Law with his death.

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