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Ten Commandments Defense Act

March 20, 2002
In The News

So many people today are trying to find answers to why we have so much youth violence. I believe the lack of moral principles in our society is a large factor. Restoring the presence of fundamental values will help us all, regardless of our differing religions.

This reality, and current events that have strained us all, make my recently introduced bill, the “Ten Commandments Defense Act” (H.R. 3895), especially timely. This is a matter of tremendous importance to me, and as many of you have indicated, to many of you as well.
The “Ten Commandments Defense Act” is simple in what it attempts to accomplish. It simply returns to the individual states the power to make the decision of whether the Ten Commandments may be displayed on or within publicly owned buildings. This legislation in no way instructs states to display the Ten Commandments, nor does it even say the states must consider this issue. It simply provides states the option of allowing the important decisions in this matter to be made by those closest to the people and the communities -- not by Washington and those within the federal government.

The Ten Commandments Defense Act is based on the First and Tenth Amendments. Among the issues is the simple fact that our Constitution specifically states that those powers not delegated to the Federal Government are reserved for the states. These amendments have been misinterpreted over the past 40 years, by activist judges infringing upon religious rights by denying the freedom of expression of faith.

Our nation was founded on basic principles such as those included in the Ten Commandments. Do not steal, do not kill, obey your parents - - who can argue with these important rules having a role in any functioning, healthy society?

With a surge towards a violent culture, many things must happen to redirect our society. I understand that simply posting the Ten Commandments will not instantly change the moral character of our nation. However, allowing states the freedom to decide these matters is an important step in promoting morality and religious freedom in our society.

The Ten Commandments do not represent one single religion. In fact Judaism, Islam, and Christianity can trace their heritage back to the Ten Commandments. Beyond that, many consider them the cornerstone of order in a free and just society.

I introduced similar legislation during the 106th Congress as an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Bill. It met with overwhelming approval from both Democrats and Republicans, passing 248-180. The House and Senate versions of the Juvenile Justice Bill, unfortunately, were never resolved for it to be signed into law.

I look forward to hearing your comments on this important matter, and I encourage you to contact my office with your thoughts or concerns on this.