A Republican State Senator wants to amend the state constitution to allow the Ten Commandments to be placed in public schools and buildings in the same state where ex-Judge Roy Moore had his monumental and ultimately unsuccessful fight over his display of the Ten Commandments, which was found to be unconstitutional. In fact, Moore’s new group, The Foundation for Moral Law, is supporting the proposal because a spokesman says that opponents would have a “hard time saying the Ten Commandments are distinctly religious.”
Alabama State Sen. Gerald Dial is seeking the amendment in order to stop people “from going berserk or killing folks,” which presumably occurs due to the absence of the Ten Commandments from public institutions. According to Dial, “Whether you’re Baptist or Christian or Muslim or anything else the Ten Commandments are rules we ought to live by” and “if we did we’d have a much better world.”
During his campaign for the State Senate, Dial claimed that “liberal Democrats are attempting to hoodwink the voters,” and said he would “make sure the government stays out of our lives and doesn’t tell us how to raise our families” and stand up for “pro-family, pro-gun, pro-America, Christian values.”
The Anniston Star reports:
And on the first day of the 2011 legislative session, Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, introduced a bill to amend the state constitution to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools and buildings.
“I’d like to see the Ten Commandments posted in public buildings and school rooms,” Dial said. “If it keeps one person from going berserk or killing folks then it’s worth the effort.”
This marks the seventh time Dial has introduced the bill and 10 years since his first attempt. But the “whole climate” in Montgomery changed with the last election, Dial said. This time the bill, which is currently in committee, will pass, he says.
“On a scale of one to 10, I’m about a 12 more confident,” Dial said in a phone interview while he drove back from Montgomery. He noted that he was both driving the speed limit and talking on Bluetooth during the interview.
If the bill does pass this time, Dial can expect its constitutionality to be challenged in court.
But this bill might not be as clear-cut violation of the federal constitution as Lynn and Neal make it out to be, said John Eidsmoe, a member of the Foundation for Moral Law’s legal team. A number of different religions accept the Ten Commandments, he said.
Beyond that, Eidsmoe said, courts have cited it in opinions and laws are based on its guidelines.
“I think you’d have a hard time saying the Ten Commandments are distinctly religious,” Eidsmoe said. “They’re an expression of the basic precepts that just about every society has been built upon.”
Dial grew up with the Ten Commandments freely displayed and discussed in school, he said. He saw them then as he does now: as a constant reminder, a flickering caution light as to how one should act.
Today Dial has a framed copy of the commandments waiting to go up in his Montgomery office. He’s been busy with the start of the legislative session and hasn’t had a chance to put it up. He will soon though, Dial said. And if the bill passes, he and the bill’s other five sponsors will provide free laminated copies of the commandments to schools wishing to display them.
“Whether you’re Baptist or Christian or Muslim or anything else the Ten Commandments are rules we ought to live by,” Dial said. “If we did we’d have a much better world.”