First a bit of debunking
via history: In the Ten Commandments we have nothing more than a list of rules
tailored to keep a nomadic tribe from falling apart as it traversed the
wilderness for 40 years. Period. If the ignorant bible-thumpers want to get serious
about biblical law, then they should reference the 613 commandments delineated in the bible,
not just the ten which they have turned into a fetish. But for now, let us
examine the preposterous, not to mention sacrilegious, claim that this
country's laws came in any way from the Judaic Ten Commandments. Let the facts
speak for themselves.
The first commandment
says, "You shall have no other Gods but Me."
The first amendment says, "Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof." Holy Mackerel, we find ourselves at odds right out
of the gate! That means no witch burning, no pagan pummeling and no boiling
alive or flaying people who do not worship Jesus. Sorry about that... don't
mean to spoil anybody's fun, but you can’t ignore the law.
To Continue; how many
states have a law demanding that you keep the Sabbath Day Holy? And what does
that even mean? The Talmud has a whole body of work on the subject, delineating
in excruciating detail what one may or may not do on the Day of Rest. Personally,
I know of nobody serving hard time for toasting a bagel or pressing the buttons
in an elevator on a Saturday. Or does the Sabbath mean Sunday? We should work
that detail out before locking everybody up.
"Thou shalt not make
unto thee... any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in
the earth." Is it against the law to make photographs and paintings of
things on the Earth? If so, there go your new digital camera and the kid's
Crayolas. As to "heaven above," remember that your tax dollars went
into the Hubbell Space Telescope. Do you expect to be indicted? I think not.
How many states have a
law against adultery? If adultery was illegal, then there go the Republican
presidential wannabees. Under such a law, wife swappers such as McCain,
Gingrich, Thompson, even old Bob "E.D." Dole would languish on the
chain gang making little rocks out of big ones. And Giuliani, with his
unslakable penchant for cheating on spouses, would likely face capital punishment.
"You shall not take
the Name of the Lord in Vain," meaning "don't misuse God's
name." Are there any laws against this? Quite the opposite, I'm afraid. In
this country, taking the name of the Lord in vain is a national tradition.
People pray to God for a new car, for a new skateboard, for a raise, for their
high school soccer team to win. Michael Medved, the Neocon wing-nut and
professional religioso, routinely calls this country "The greatest nation
on God's green earth." What can you expect from the man who recently
published an essay saying that slavery in America was not as bad as liberals
make it out to be, arguing that African-Americans today are better off because
their ancestors were dragged out of Africa, allowing them to enjoy the benefits
of America. Taking the Lord's name in vain... bearing false witness to
history... How many other commandments does this fourth-tier movie critic
And how could
"President" Bush possibly end a speech without invoking the name of
the Lord in vain? Without his standard "God Bless America" peroration
to signal the end of a speech, Bush would just drone on and on and on. Then
even I would start taking the Lord's name in vain. And while we're on the
subject, just what the hell is the Lord's name, anyway? Jehovah? Yahweh? Joshua
Ben Joseph? Allah? Suzie?
Do any of the 50 states
make it mandatory that you honor (i.e., respect) your mother and father? Will
you find yourself indicted if you fail to purchase a mother's day card? If you
are a Red-Blooded Republican male, is it disrespectful to amorously eyeball
your father's most recent mistress? Back in 2004, here's what the thankfully
former President G. W. Bush said about his daddy when asked if he consults the
old codger regarding the invasion, occupation and ransacking of Iraq: "You
know, he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a
higher father that I appeal to." Way to go, Shrub! You not only publicly
dissed dear old dad, but you invoked God in vain. That's two Commandments down,
old pal, and eight to go.
Can cops arrest you for
coveting your neighbor's goods? O Lawdsy, I hopes not! In fact, in this
materialistic culture of ours, should folks abjure from coveting their neighbor's
goods, the entire economy would collapse faster than a Republican's third marriage.
And that brings us to not
coveting thy neighbor's wife. I leave it up to your conscience. Sometimes that
one stands as its own commandment and sometimes it gets folded into the one
about coveting goods. Hey, that's another point! If the Framers based our Constitution
on the Ten Commandments, which ten would that be? The Jewish Ten Commandments?
The Protestant Ten Commandments? The Roman Catholic Ten Commandments? If it's
the Jewish Commandments, do we mean the set from Exodus 20:2-17 or from Deuteronomy
Well there you have it.
Scrutiny shows that seven out of the Ten Commandments (or eight, depending upon
which set you believe in) have absolutely nothing to do with our civil
legal system. That leaves us with the commandments ordering that we not steal,
not murder and not give false testimony (Whoops... that one takes care of about
four fifths of the Bush Administration.) But nobody can seriously make a case
that these venerable moral prohibitions originated with the Holy Bible.
Societies predating that of the nomadic Hebrews of the Sinai Desert already had
Let us give the
Constitutional Framers the final word on this subject: "[N]o religious
test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust
under the United States." That's from the Constitution, a document that
John McCain swore to uphold when he entered the Congress. Oh well, so much for
not bearing false witness...