You Learn Something New Everyday

Like, for example, about the existence of a small religious sect called Summum.  The Summum Church is at the heart of a case to be heard by the Supreme Court this term, pertaining to First Amendment rights.  The New York Times ran an article describing the efforts of the Summum Church, in a small city in Utah, to have a religious monument placed in a public park.  Since 1971 the Ten Commandements have stood in the park, but the city refused to let the Summum folks have a monument of their own, claiming, among other absurdities, that if there are no limits on what governments allow in public, people might start erecting monuments to Al Qaeda and such.

The case made it’s way through the ranks, and will soon be decided by the highest court in the land.  I’m inclined to believe (or hope and pray, at this point) that the Court will side with the Summums, because their case is, duh, more constitutionally sound.  If one religious group is allowed to place a monument in a public park, any reasonings after the fact about why another group cannot seems pretty fishy to me.  But I am far from an expert, and certainly have little insight into what actually goes through the heads of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas when they are weighing in really absurdly on issues like this, so I will not make any bets.

If the decision goes against the Summums, shouldn’t the Ten Commandments be taken down too?  No religious works of any kind in a public space?  That would be my preference, I think.

So, what about these Summums?  What’s their deal? In sum (ha!), adherents believe that:

Moses received two sets of tablets on Mount Sinai and that the Ten Commandments were on the second set. The aphorisms were on the first one.

“When Moses came down from the mountain the first time, he brought the principles of creation,” Mr. Temu said. “But he saw the people weren’t ready for them, so he threw them on the ground and destroyed them.”

Summum’s founder, Corky Ra, says he learned the aphorisms during a series of telepathic encounters with divine beings he called Summa Individuals.

Sounds kind of funky to me.

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