Supreme Court to weigh Commandments cases
75 percent of Americans support such displays, according to poll
Bill Haber / AP file
A moving crew uses a bar to lift one end of the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., in August 2003.
The Associated Press
Updated: 7:59 p.m. ET March 1, 2005 WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has been asked to settle conflicting rulings about whether the Ten Commandments can be displayed at courthouses and on other government property, but there is little ambiguity about the issue among the public.
An Associated Press poll found 76 percent of Americans say such displays ought to be allowed.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court was to consider whether a 6-foot granite Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol and two similar displays at Kentucky courthouses cross the line of separation between church and state.
Lower courts have split on the issue. The high court is being asked to decide the issue once and for all, and a ruling is expected by the end of June.
The last time the court dealt with the issue was 1980, when justices banned the posting of Ten Commandments in public schools. That case also was from Kentucky.
The Bush administration has asked the court to allow the displays while the American Civil Liberties Union is among those calling for their removal.
Past polling has found majority support for the general concept of separation of church and state. That sentiment is not always reflected when people are asked about specific cases.
Support for the Ten Commandments displays was strong among most groups in the AP poll of 1,000 adults conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs Feb. 22-24. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Older adults more likely in favor
Older adults were more likely to feel the Ten Commandments should be allowed on government property. People with only a high school education or some college were more likely to favor allowing the display of the Ten Commandments than those with college degrees.
People in the Midwest and South were more likely than those in other regions to favor allowing such displays.
â€œThe Ten Commandments are religious, but theyâ€™re also a good guide on how to live your life,â€? said Maureen Jones, a grandmother from the Detroit area. â€œIâ€™m not religious, but I donâ€™t think there should be a big deal made about it.â€?
But Marvin Knudson, a retired businessman from Stevenson, Ore., said allowing such displays on government property worries him.
â€œWe need to be cautious as to what is implied in this,â€? he said. â€œI am concerned about the government making no law about the establishment of religion.â€?
Â© 2005 The Associated Press.