Council for Secular Humanism Applauds Supreme Court’s Ruling on Kentucky Ten Commandments Cases

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2005
Contact: Jefferson Seaver, Communications - (207) 358-9785

Council spokespersons consider ruling a step forward for religious freedom

Amherst, New York (June 27, 2005)—The Council for Secular Humanism (CSH) and its project, the First Amendment Task Force, applaud today’s ruling by the Supreme Court on the case regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in two Kentucky courthouses. The Justices found that the displays crossed the line between church and state and did indeed promote a religious message.

The Council had filed an

amicus curiae

brief on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky in the case. Ronald Lindsay, a lawyer with CSH’s First Amendment Task Force, wrote the brief. “The significance of the


decision is that it confirms that a majority of the Court continues to adhere to the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between [religion and irreligion,” said Lindsay. “Indeed, Justice Souter stated that this principle provides the touchstone for the Court's analysis. How this principle is applied may vary from case to case, as the contrasting decisions in

McCreary County


Van Orden

illustrate, but it is critical that this principle has been reaffirmed,” continued Lindsay.

David Koepsell, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, said that he was quite please with the Court’s decision in the Kentucky case. “The point CSH wished to make was that all faiths, moral codes, and atheistic philosophies share the simple moral values inherent in those parts of the Ten Commandments which do not have to do with how we ought to worship Yahweh,” said Koepsell. He continued, “There is simply no legitimate, secular purpose to displaying the Decalogue on any public property, and the brief made this point abundantly clear.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at