What Follows is Frank Carl's letter to Governor Deal regarding the ten commandments monument proposed for the Capitol Grounds in Atlanta. It should be noted that although Frank is the CSRA chapter president for Americans United, this letter reflects his own thoughts and opinions, and not necessarily those of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
If you would like to use thoughts or ideas from this letter or if you'd like to copy and paste whole parts of it to send your own letter to Governor Deal, please feel free to do so.
206 Washington Street
Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Dear Governor Deal,
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 are an expressly religious document pulled, in fact, from a religious text. The first four of the Ten 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. If we want a symbol to represent the history of jurisprudence for the capitol grounds, we might look to the Code of Hammurabi. Indeed, it has a more direct relationship to American jurisprudence than do the Ten Commandments,
but it is rather harsh and it, unfortunately, is also the precursor of Sharia Law. But then we would not want the state
to inscribe the Code of Hammurabi on a monument on the capitol grounds either.
We would prefer to avoid the controversy that your signing HB-702 into law would create. We appeal to you to
veto that misdirected attempt to garner state support for Judeo-Christian theology.