Meanwhile, on the domestic war front, we owe Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott our thanks for defending the religious freedoms enshrined in the U. S. Constitution by forcefully arguing before the U. S. Supreme Court the case for keeping the Ten Commandments monument on the State Capitol grounds.
To illustrate the point to be made, last year The American Enterprise magazine ran a very interesting picture “tour” of several of Washington, D. C.’s major federal buildings that included: Moses with the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Library of Congress; the Ten Commandments in the floor of the National Archives; the “Liberty of Worship” statue with the Ten Commandments outside the Ronald Reagan Federal Building; Moses with the Ten Commandments tablets on the rear façade of the U. S. Supreme Court; Moses with the Ten Commandments inside the Supreme Court’s hearing room; and an excerpt from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, with its multiple references to God, carved into the interior of the Lincoln Memorial. We could add many other examples in that city, but you get the point.
Some will make the argument that the only way these icons on government grounds, along with such of our heritage expressed in the mottos of “in God we trust” and “so help me God”, can be justified is by confirming their role in a kind of “ceremonial deism”, carefully avoiding any representation that their subject actually informs our creed. In other words, we should pursue a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as to any religious presence in the public square. Au contraire. Listen to James Madison: “We have staked the whole of our political institutions on the capacity of mankind to govern themselves according to the Ten Commandments of God”, or note the argument of Michael Novak: “…….the specific right of religious freedom guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution is based on Judeo-Christian concepts not replicated in any other religion”.
As to sectarian religion we must be neutral, but if by that neutrality we mean neutral on the validity of the foundational belief in a moral order undergirded by natural law with its origins in divine law, then our civic republican ideal of ordered liberty under the rule of law cannot survive.