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Focus should be on Cape issues

November 13, 2010
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dick Kalfus, Cape resident, political watchdog, letter writer extraordinaire, found fertile ground this week for an idea whose time, he believes, has come for Cape Coral.

Mr. Kalfus wants the city to post the Ten Commandments at City Hall as a moral blueprint "to remind us of our roots, support morality, and bring into focus a code of conduct necessary for all civilized societies."

Mayor John Sullivan has offered similar comment and has asked the city attorney to provide a legal opinion.

A Google search might have been both cheaper and quicker - as both Mr. Kalfus and Mayor Sullivan readily admit, it's a proposal fraught with controversy, fervent factions, and a guaranteed legal challenge which, given past Supreme and Federal Court rulings, the city likely would lose.

This is not to say we think posting the Commandments is a slippery slope to the establishment of a state religion.

Nor do we think our founders feared, discounted, or ever envisioned that our country's Judeo-Christian roots would one day be denied to comply with an ever-narrowing interpretation of that phrase not actually found in the Constitution, separation of church and state.

However as those founders stated so plainly and so well, freedom of religion - and its flip side, freedom from forced or enforced beliefs - is a primary American right.

It is, in fact, the cornerstone upon which our country was built.

The argument that posting the Ten Commandments - a key tenet for at least three major faiths - isn't a religious treatise but a secular code of conduct is not only legally indefensible but historically questionable as well.

Meanwhile, if putting people on the proper path to the straight and narrow is the motivation, the city has far more pressing problems on which to spend its time and money than targeting the apparent lack of morals or core values so rampant here some think we need a very public reminder.

But perhaps we just hang out in the wrong circles.

We suggest a couple of things.

One, pay attention to the city attorney's legal opinion on this one, taking note of legal precedent including a most recent one in March when the Supreme Court refused to hear a case decided in federal jurisdiction concerning the posting of the Ten Commandments with private money, in a public park.

In keeping with a previous Supreme Court ruling, the Commandments came down.

Two, that the Cape Council stay focused on local issues and needs. There are many.

And finally, if any city official feels the need to post a document on the walls of council chambers at City Hall, we offer a few that won't be subject to challenge, legal or otherwise: The Bill of Rights, Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes or the City Charter.

Any of those would work for us. Probably for the residents of Cape Coral, too.

- Breeze editorial



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