Do the religious right think they can force the 10 Commandment?
One thing I keep noticing is that Christians seem to believe that their ability to worship their God is contingent on the government acknowledging that God.
That simply isn't true.
If God was removed from our currency, Pledge of Allegiance and the 10 Commandments from all public buildings and areas, it would not interfere in the least with the right and ability of Christians to practice their religion. They can still insert God when they say the Pledge, they still can obey the commandments in full. I fully honor their right to do so.
The problem is when the government gets into the issue of God, it creates complications. It serves to further the belief that a certain God exists, especially to the young. Now that might be fine with certain Christian parents, but the parents of Jews, Hindus, atheists/agnostics and, indeed, certain Christian parents might not wish for the state/government to further a certain view of God or even Christianity.
Of the 10 Commandments, only three have anything to do with modern law: prohibitions on murder, theft and bearing false witness (or in modern terms, perjury). The first four prohibit actually worship of a God other than the Judeo-Christian God. These prohibitions on worshiping other Gods or graven images or honoring the Sabbath or not taking God's name in vain aren't suggestions but commands.
James Madison viewed it is imperative to keep religion and state separate. He wrote, "the Civil government...functions with complete success...by the total separation of the Church from the State," in a letter to Gene Garman. The Treaty of Tripoli states, "the Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." This was a treaty ratified while John Adams was president, ratified by many of the same men who just a decade earlier supported the creation of the Constitution.
What are the effects of the 10 Commandments in a public school? Well, it gives the impression to the child that they aren't free to worship another God; after all, isn't the school commanding them to worship this specific God, and how? Even if that impression is wrong, it still persists and will continue to do so along as it is on that wall.
How can one possibly state that the 10 Commandments will leave a positive impression for children when it comes to the moral values it imparts, but it won't confuse the child by statements on the practice of worship? Yes, let us teach moral values in schools, but religion isn't necessary to do so.
Theft, murder, etc., are wrong because they harm others. We don't need an ancient document to give that knowledge to our children. If some Christians - on their own, and not through the power of the state - want to put up a copy of the 10 Commandments in a courthouse, fine - do it during a time where the government allows all citizens to put in different documents, not just ones that are pro-Judeo-Christian.
I, myself, would put a copy of Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason," which was a great inspiration for our concept of natural rights and liberty.