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Thou Shalt Separate the Church From the State

August 26, 2003

Re "Alabama Chief Justice Is Suspended," Aug. 23: There is little doubt that the perpetual unrest in the Mideast has its roots in religious extremism and the fear of other religions. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is not above the law. As much as I believe in the Ten Commandments, Moore and his fanatics cannot be allowed to force their religious beliefs on others, who have the right to believe as they wish. I believe you can find extremists in every religion. Thanks to our laws, it hasn't gotten out of hand here -- yet.

Bill Gourlay

Westlake Village

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I find it ironic that by "honoring" the Ten Commandments, so many folks in Alabama are breaking that annoying one that refers to graven images, as well as that other biblical admonition about public displays of piety.

Beth Hamilton

Palm Desert

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I recently read that approximately 86% of Americans believe in God. The words "In God We Trust" are on our money. I've pledged allegiance to the flag with the words "one nation under God" included. Controversy over having a wooden cross on a hill above Ventura and the Ten Commandants in a Southern courthouse makes me wonder if it's time we told the other 14% to just shut up.

Jim Hostetter

Oxnard

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Re "Justices Order Commandments Display Moved," Aug. 22: I imagine there are some residents of Montgomery, Ala., who think the law is a great and beautiful thing and that it would be desirable to celebrate its structured logic and order by creating a large monument depicting a bronze copy of the Alabama Civil Code. However, were they to demand that such a monument be placed in, say, a prominent Christian church in the region, surely the parishioners would vehemently object, on the grounds that the state has no place intruding on the sanctity of religion.

As clear as that hypothetical case is, so is its converse. The Holy Bible has no place in government buildings. It is a completely irrelevant document to the constitutional rights of Americans, none of whom are required to believe in those relatively few (though popular) religions that subscribe to its theological declarations.

David Stoughton

Santa Monica

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If, according to a federal judge, the Ten Commandments in the Alabama courthouse should be removed since they infringe on the separation of church and state, then shouldn't the judge also rule that Christmas Day be eliminated as a national public holiday?

Ian Lawson

San Diego

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