Memo To Rep. Hostettler: Thou Shalt Obey The Law

Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.) has waged a long-time crusade to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings. He seems to want everyone to read the Decalogue and obey it. Apparently, however, he's not too keen on obeying U.S. law. Hostettler was detained at Louisville's International Airport April 20 after security screeners found a loaded handgun in his briefcase.

Hostettler, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Indiana, said he forgot the Glock 9mm was there. He was detained, questioned by airport police and charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, a misdemeanor that has a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $500 fine.

The five-term congressman is a noted advocate of  Religious Right causes. Addressing a pro-gun group in Evansville, Ind., last December, Hostettler ranted against the Supreme Court for its rulings striking down state-sponsored prayer in public schools and attacked lower courts for ordering the removal of Commandments monuments from government sites.

Hostettler was so upset about Americans United's victory over former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore that he added an amendment to a spending bill that would have blocked federal marshals from removing Moore's two-and-a-half-ton Ten Commandments monument from the state Judicial Building. (As it turned out, federal marshals were not needed to move the monument.) In touting his amendment, Hostettler insisted that federal court rulings aren't necessarily binding. "It's an excellent civics lesson that once a federal court says something it is not law," he said.

Hostettler called his recent actions at the airport a "rather stupid mistake." It wasn't his first one.