It started as a joke about 10 years ago. Chris Bliss, a juggler and stand-up comedian of viral Internet fame,had been scanning the headlines for inspiration and discovered the controversy over a granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of Alabama’s state judicial building.
“Instead of arguing over whether to leave up or take down these displays of the Ten Commandments,” read his ensuing comedy routine, “my suggestion is to put up displays of the Bill of Rights next to them and let people comparison shop.”
First of all, I love the idea of comparison shopping between the Bill of Rights and the Ten Commandments, though I don’t know that one has to choose one over the other. You can enjoy both. Of course, the Ten Commandments are a whole lot more exclusive than the Bill of RIghts … so perhaps we’ll now start putting up a bunch of Bill of Rights monuments everywhere — since people do love monuments — and let religious institutions put up the Ten Commandments in front of their buildings.
On a somewhat related note, if you look closely at the monument for the 2nd Amendment, you’ll notice that it mentions “A well regulated militia” pretty prominently. I wonder why we aren’t insisting that, if you want to own a gun, you also need to join your local well regulated militia. I have a feeling that would cut down on gun ownership a bit, as a well regulated militia would necessarily eat up a fair amount of someone’s free time with all the meetings and drills and whatnot … but there’s obviously no constitutional problem with making militia membership a requirement to own a gun; in fact, I’d say there’s a constitutional problem with not requiring it.