In March, the
Raskin replied, "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." The room erupted into applause, and the exchange has since circulated widely on the internet.
I thought about that story when I saw that the Center for Inquiry is sponsoring Ten Amendments Day. There is a special website—www.tenamendments.org—devoted to the Bill of Rights, with special emphasis on the First Amendment liberties of speech and conscience. The local chapter plans a May 7th event at IUPUI, with a reading of the Ten Amendments, videos on Freedom of Religion and Freedom to Dissent, and a panel discussion.
The impetus for Ten Amendments Day was “Ten Commandments Day,” an effort by Christian Right groups to rally support for posting the Ten Commandments in government buildings. Such postings would require amending the First Amendment, since the Establishment Clause forbids government endorsement or promotion of religion.
Whatever the reason, Ten Amendments Day is a great idea. Too few Americans know much early American history; fewer still have ever read the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, or the Federalist Papers and the arguments for and against the addition of a Bill of Rights to
Democratic processes are important, but
Raskin’s riposte went to the heart of that important truth: Americans consult a wide variety of holy and inspirational texts for moral guidance, but we all pledge to uphold the same Ten Amendments.