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 ‚Äúupon the protection and guidance of Almighty God‚ÄĚ) and the ‚Äúpart of the Declaration of Independence which states that ‚ÄėWe 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.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Note: the monument will not include the entirely secular preamble to the U.S. Constitution, as described in the bill‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúa Creator.‚ÄĚ 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, ‚Äúthe 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.‚ÄĚ
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.