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September 05, 2003 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-05

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The Jewish CoMmunify Center

This Week

Institute for Retired Professionals

presents

Progress of the Thou Shalt Not

Jewish leaders remain concerned about
Ten Commandments monument.

A lecture by

Nolan Finley

Ectitgrial Page Editor of The Detroit News

Monday September 15
7:30 p.m.

Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit

Betty Kahn Building
Eugene & Margia ,Apple0auM-4ewish Communily Campus
6600 WestVaple•RO4, West Bloomfield

in the Marion & David HandeArin Hall and Auditorium

Free and open to the community,
This program is underwritten by a gift from Shirley Harris,

For more information call

248 967.4030

K7,744

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Ten Commandments case.
"God and the concept of morality
does not violate the church-state separa-
tion," said Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudah's
Washington
director of public affairs. "But some-
11 ewish leaders praised the removal
thing that is blatantly in support of a
last week of a monument of the
particular religion would be very clearly
Ten Commandments in the
unconstitutional."
Alabama Judicial Building but are con-
Other Jewish organizations filed briefs
cerned by some of the developments the
seeking the monument's removal last
case has spawned.
"The result was what we wanted," said year, claiming it violated the U.S.
Constitution's ban on government pro-
Deborah Lauter, the Anti-Defamation
motion of religion. The briefs argued
League's Southeast region director. "We
that the monument not only endorsed
celebrate the rule of law prevailing."
religion, but also
Despite the legal victory,
backed a particular reli-
some in the Jewish corn-
gious perspective.
munity are concerned by
"The display of the
the amount of support
I
Ten Commandments
Alabama Chief Justice Roy 1
sends a message of
Moore has received in his `g
c,
..
exclusion to those who
state and in Congress.
do not share the Judeo-
They worry that he will be I
Christian religious tra-
portrayed as a martyr in
dition and a message of
future clashes over church-
favoritism to those
state issues.
who do," said a brief
They also worry that
filed by ADL, the
public response to the Ten ..,
American Jewish
Commandments case
Committee and the
might cause some federal
Commission on Social
judges to let other unpop-
Action of Reform
ular orders go unenforced. Ten Commandments monu-
Judaism, and interfaith
"What is symbolic
ment at the state Judicial
groups.
about any discussion is
Building in Montgomery.
The brief went on
the depths of feelings on
to argue that the mon-
both sides," said Marc
ument was also offensive to many within
Stern, the American Jewish Congress'
the Judeo-Christian tradition, as there is
general counsel. These two sides really
no universally accepted version of the
don't understand each other."
Ten Commandments and Judge Moore's
Jewish groups were active while the
court therefore is "endorsing particular
case was in the courts, supporting efforts
sectarian beliefs."
to force Judge Moore to remove the
The debate has highlighted the fact
monument, which he installed one
that not everyone shares Jewish groups'
night two years ago.
definition of the separation of religion
But since a federal court ruled in their
and state.
favor last year, Jewish groups have taken
Lauter said she repeatedly has had to
a less active role — waiting and watch-
explain
the difference between a tablet of
ing as Judge Moore defied the court
the Ten Commandments in a court-
order.
house and the words "In God We Trust"
Alabama officials took action Aug. 27
on American currency.
to move the monument from the build-
"'In God We Trust' is not saying, 'This
ing's rotunda to a private area, while
is a Christian nation,' she said. "The
Christian religious activists who support
statue, with Judge Moore's rhetoric, is say-
Judge Moore prayed outside.
ing, 'This is a Christian nation.'"
"We've been happy to just let Judge
Stern also has been concerned by sup-
Moore self destruct," Stern said.
port Judge Moore received in Congress.
Despite often taking a religiously con-
A measure earlier this year in the U.S.
servative stance on church-state issues,
House of Representatives Appropriations
the Orthodox group Agudath Israel of
Committee would have prevented the
America has not taken a position on the

MATTHEW E. BERGER
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

13

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