11 November 2008

Utah town won't take seven more Commandments

I can't resist this one: a (very) minority religious group is suing a Utah town because it wouldn't accept their donation of a monument to sit beside a Ten Commandments plaque in a public park. The New York Times says the case goes to the Supreme Court tomorrow. The minority religion in question is called Summum - it apparently incorporates elements of Gnostic Christianity and ancient Egyptian iconography. The monument they to donate would have been carved with the text of Summum's Seven Aphorisms, which are supposed to have been given to Moses along with the Ten Commandments.

The situation is a real-world version of the Flying Spaghetti Monster argument against mixing church and state - once you incorporate one religious narrative into state-sponsored architecture, science curricula, or whatever, how can you argue that any religious narrative isn't appropriate for inclusion? (The FSM is a facetious Creator originally proposed for inclusion in Kansan public school science classes, as an "alternative" to both scientific explanations and Christian Creationism.) The Summum church has a point. And that point is (perhaps contrary to their actual wishes) that the Ten Commandments has no more business in a government-funded public space than the Seven Aphorisms do.

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