Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments In Ten Commandments Cases Wednesday

Americans United Urges High Court To Strike Down Government-Sponsored Religious Displays

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear oral arguments in two closely watched cases dealing with government display of the Ten Commandments.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged the justices to declare government promotion of religion unconstitutional.

"Thou shalt not merge religion and government," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "We must keep church and state separate in America. Promoting religion is the job of houses of worship, not government. Our legal system especially must avoid even the appearance of bias on the basis of religion."

Americans United filed friend-of-the-court briefs in both the Kentucky case (McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU of Kentucky) and the Texas case (Van Orden v. Perry).

In 2003, Americans United and allied organizations successfully challenged former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's display of a 2.5-ton Commandments monument in the state Judicial Building. AU is currently involved in legal disputes over Commandments displays in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington State.

The back-to-back arguments at the Supreme Court this week will start at 10 a.m. and last an hour each. Rulings are expected in both cases by the end of June.

As the arguments go on inside the court, Americans United will join other organizations for a rally outside the court. Cedric Harmon, AU's associate field director for religious outreach, will speak at the rally. The event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. is designed to provide an alternative voice to Religious Right groups, which are rallying at the court in support of government-sponsored Commandments displays.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.