From John Cole:
A judge in Shelby County, Tennessee has recused himself from all cases in which minors go to judges for rulings on their ability to have abortions without parental consent.
With respect to displays of the Ten Commandments in judicial buildings, when a person acts in a role of State power, they are in effect the State. In this case, the judge actor for the state is refusing to fulfilled his role as adjudicator of the law in response to religious mandate. Especially in matter such as this, the judge is giving a de facto judgment against the petitioner on religious grounds. That can not be tolerated, and if the judge can not separate his beliefs as a private citizen from his role as judge, then he is unfit for his position.
Many commentors on this topic combine this issue with the matter of the pharmacists who will not dispense birth control, primarily on the basis of pro-life principles being used to reach the decision. I do not agree with that conflation. The pharamacist, unless he is working in connection with a governmental program, is a private business. By not acting with the power of the state and solely as a private citizen, the pharmacist does not face limitations as to his choice of operating principle.