November 12, 2008

The Seven Aphorisms of Moses

The indispensable SCOTUSblog has a thorough discussion of Pleasant Grove City, UT v. Summum, the oral arguments in which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this morning.

While it involves the Ten Commandments, it isn't a First Amendment religion clause case — that is, it (supposedly) doesn't directly implicate the "separation of church and state" — but rather turns on a number of questions involving freedom of speech.

Summum wants to erect its "Seven Aphorisms" alongside existing Ten Commandments monuments in a couple of Utah public parks but televangelist/weightlifter Pat Robertson's associate Jay Sekulow doesn't want them to.

Of course Sekulow is a big fan of plastering some version of the Ten Commandments in every available square and cubic foot of public space, but when it comes to the Seven Aphorisms, not so much.

Pleasant Grove, UT didn't want them to either, arguing that Summum lacks a longstanding association with the community, even though the Fraternal Order of Eagles set up the Ten Commandments in 1971 following two whole years of local incorporation.

And the federal government acting as a friend of the Court is afraid that, depending on the breadth and slope-slipperiness of the Supreme Court's ruling, a town with a monument to 9/11 might be forced to accept one from admirers of Osama bin Laden.

I'm sure the Summum people appreciate that analogy.

Unfortunately the Court won't be entertaining arguments related to the competing legitimacy of either party's claims as to which god said what things to someone called Moses and how and when and why.


AutismNewsBeat said...

The Flying Spaghetti Monster only has three aphorisms, so its plaque would take up far less Utah park space.

Anonymous said...

SUMMUM even has a e-store, hard to believe. Crystals, books, mugs t-shirts to enlightenment.