New law permits the display of the Ten Commandments - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New law permits the display of the Ten Commandments

June 27, 2006

Albany--The debate over displaying the Ten Commandments in courthouses is about to heat up. Later this week, a new state law goes into effect. It allows the commandments to be posted as long as they're displayed with eight other historical documents such as the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

You won't find many Christians who oppose the display of the Ten Commandments on public property.

"The Ten Commandments help to lay a foundation for our country, to be a decent an orderly country as far as its laws," says student pastor, Brian Scott, with First Baptist of Albany.

He favors the new law and says displaying the religious documents shouldn't offend people of other faiths.

"If there were other historical religious documents instrumental in the formation of America, in our Constitution, I think it would be appropriate for those documents to be displayed," says Scott.

So what do some non-Christians think about displaying the Ten Commandments inside courtrooms across Georgia? The answer might surprise you.

"It's about promoting good, and we need more good in the world," says Shaheed Ali, of Albany. He's been a devoted Muslim for nearly thirty years.

"A lot of people think we don't believe in God. I think that's the biggest misconception about Islam," says Ali.

He says it's his faith in God, that has him in favor of displaying the commandments.  "It's all connected. We're all serving God, and it's all about truth, and it don't offend me because the Bible is the word of God," says Ali.

"If you look down at the Ten Commandments, at least ten or eight of them are also laws in the state of Georgia. We've got laws against murder, we've got laws against theft, we've got laws against adultry," says Dougherty County superior court judge, Loring Gray. 

He says he would have no problem displaying the commandments inside his own courtroom. "If I can burn them into the brain of the 862 individuals housed at the Dougherty County jail facility, if I can get them to follow them, I'd be out of the job. And that would suit me just fine," says Gray.

The law is just a few days from going into effect. While many say only good can come out of displaying the commandments, others feel this action is a slap in the face and contradicts laws governing the separation of church and state.

Critics of the new law say the state is opening itself up to costly lawsuits. The American Civil Liberties Union won a case a few years ago after Barrow County displayed the Ten Commandments. The ACLU threatened to sue any county in Georgia that tries to do the same.

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