High Court Considers Fight Over Display of ‘Seven Aphorisms’
The way Summum tells it, when Moses first came down from Mount Sinai, he didn’t have the Ten Commandments in his hand: He was holding the Seven Aphorisms.
The Aphorisms are the guiding principles of Summum, a religious organization that operates from a pyramid in Salt Lake City and practices mummification. They are so important to Summum that the group’s founder, Summum “Corky” Ra, asked that they be displayed in a public park in Pleasant Grove, Utah, near a Ten Commandments monument.
The city said no, triggering a court fight that today wound up before the Supreme Court. The justices debated whether the city violated Summum’s First Amendment rights and must also erect the Aphorisms, which contain sayings such as “Summum is MIND,” “Everything flows out and in,” and “The measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left.”
Based on today’s arguments, it was unclear whether this particular court is swinging right or left. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., an appointee of President Bush, immediately questioned Pleasant Grove’s decision to accept the 10 Commandments monument in the first place, saying it could violate the 1st Amendment ban on government establishment of religion. Summum’s attorneys filed their challenge under a different part of the amendment, the free speech clause.
“What is the government doing speaking and supporting the 10 Commandments?” Roberts asked.
this is a very strange case, but could turn out to be a landmark regarding the freedom of speech