Action Alert

Ask governor to veto ten commandments bill now

On Wednesday, March 12, the Georgia Senate passed H.B. 702, a bill designed to place a Ten Commandments monument within the state capitol building or on its grounds. The bill previously passed the Georgia House. In addition to the Ten Commandments, the proposed granite monument will also contain the preamble to the Georgia Constitution (which states in part that the people of Georgia rely “upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God”) and the “part of the Declaration of Independence which states that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

Note: the monument will not include the entirely secular preamble to the U.S. Constitution, as described in the bill’s summary on first reading and as reported incorrectly by numerous news sources. The original version of the bill did call for inclusion of the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, but that was swapped for the portion of the Declaration of Independence that refers to “a Creator.” Yet the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia), denied, with a straight face, any religious intent behind his proposed monument.

If enacted into law, this bill would be a clear and egregious violation of the separation between state and church. In reaction to the passage of H.B. 702, Erwin Chemerinsky, First Amendment legal scholar and distinguished attorney in the landmark Supreme Court decision Van Orden v. Perry, noted, “the Supreme Court has . . . made clear that putting up new Ten Commandments monuments, when the purpose is so clearly to advance religion, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

The Georgia legislature needs to stop wasting time imagining new, creative ways to memorialize the Christian god and get back to work!

CONTACT GOV. DEAL TODAY!

Please take a moment to contact the governor to voice your opposition to H.B. 702.

Phone and email the governor today:
Governor Nathan Deal
The Office of the Governor
206 Washington Street
Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta GA 30334
Phone: 404-656-1776
Fax: 404-657-7332
 
TALKING POINTS
 
As a Georgia citizen, I strenuously object to H.B. 702 and ask you to veto this bill to promote display of the Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds. The first commandment alone, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” is reason enough for you to veto this bill. The State of Georgia, the Georgia General Assembly and the Georgia governor have no business telling me which god to have, how many gods to have, or whether to have any gods at all.  
 
The enactment of this law would violate not only the constitutional separation of state and church, but my right to be free from religion in government. I object to the display of the Ten Commandments — the morally inadequate commandments of one religion and its deity — at the seat of my state government, which turns me into a political outsider. The Capitol grounds should be free of religious divisiveness.
 
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