Gov Deal Should Veto HB 702 Establishing Religious Monument on Capitol Grounds – Atlanta, Georgia

Copy/modify the text below and send it to Governor Deal. This is a slight modification from a draft Frank Carl, President of the Central Savannah River Area Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, wrote and submitted to the national organization for approval as a chapter statement.

As a Georgia voter, I am asking you to maintain separation between state and religion by vetoing HB-702. It is obvious that the intent of the monument proposed in HB-702 is religious as opposed to historical or educational. Although the monument itself will ostensibly be financed by private donations, it will nevertheless require public funds to maintain the monument on state property. And regardless of the financing, it is in fact a step toward state support of religion, an act expressly prohibited by the religion clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and applied to the states by the fourteenth amendment.

The Ten Commandments is an expressly religious document pulled, in fact, from a religious text. The first four commandments are totally religious in nature and as such have made no contribution to the democratic republican governance of the United States or any of its states. Commandments 5, 7 and 10 define good behavioral characteristics but again play little or no role in the development of governance. Three of the shortest commandments (6, 8 and 9) are the only ones that relate directly to our jurisprudence system. And as any elementary student of any religion can tell you, murder, stealing and lying are bad. They do not have to be influenced by the Ten Commandments.

In addition the other two choices for inclusion on the monument, the Creator clause in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Georgia State Constitution, have obviously been included for their religious references. While the Declaration of Independence deserves much respect for its role in throwing off the yoke of the English monarchy, it has had no role in the development of the systems of governance subsequently developed in the United States or any of its states. It was a vehicle used to call the population to the cause of independence. Indeed, the first federal system of governance after the Declaration of Independence represented by the Articles of  Confederation was a dismal failure to be replaced after thirteen years by the Constitution.

The Preamble to the Georgia State Constitution is known among similar documents primarily for its religious reference. The document that it is the preamble for is in itself a remarkable document for its length, its minutiae, and the number of times it has been amended (77 times in 30 years). If the legislature wants to put a monument on the capitol grounds, at least they could inscribe it with something we Georgians could be proud of.

Avoid the controversy that your signing HB-702 into law would create. I appeal to you to veto that misdirected attempt to garner state support for monotheism.

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