Church-State Expert to Debate Alabama Attorney General Oct. 19

Oct. 13, 1999

WACO, Texas -- A noted expert in issues relating to separation of church and state will debate the attorney general of Alabama at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the City Place, 2711 North Haskell, in Dallas. Dr. Derek Davis, director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University, will debate William Pryor on the issue of "Whether the Establishment Clause Prohibits the Posting of the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse."

"There is a rush across the nation to post the Ten Commandments in city halls, public school classrooms and courthouses," Davis said. "The belief is that exposing people to sacred texts will help stem the tide of moral decline in America. Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, in defending Alabama District Judge Roy Moore's battle to prominently display the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, joins this chorus of angry reformers who would make government God's agent to enlighten us about sacred matters.

"History proves that mixing government power with religious zeal only results in the persecution of those whose religious beliefs do not conform to the government's message," Davis added. "Turning the Ten Commandments into a political football will only divide the American people and bring disrespect upon a sacred text, results we scarcely need in these troubled times."

Davis, who is originally from Dallas, graduated cum laude from Baylor Law School and holds a master's degree in church-state studies from Baylor. He earned his doctorate from the University of Texas, Dallas. He serves as editor of the Journal of Church and State and is the author of Original Intent: Chief Justice Rehnquist & the Course of American Church-State Relations. In recent years he has been called upon by the U.S. Congress, the Texas legislature, and United Nations emissaries for testimony relating to legal measures needed to protect religious liberty in national and international settings.

The debate is sponsored by the Dallas Lawyers Division of The Federalist Society. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact Darin Klemchuk at (214) 969-1785.

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