Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I like commandments 6, 8 and 9

Here's the thing about the whole controversy over displaying the 10 Commandments on government property. Call me a crazy rationalist, but doesn't it bother people that commandments 1-5, 7 and 10 are not reflected in our law at all? How can everyone be claiming that the 10 commandments are important to display because they're the basis for U.S. law? Let's take a quick look at the commandments, with my summaries and comments on whether they're expressed in U.S. law

1. Believe in God (actually our law seems to strongly oppose mandating that)
2. No graven images (nope)
3. Don't take the lord's name in vain (no way our jails have enough room)
4. Keep the Sabbath day (if you can buy a gun and a six pack in most states, I don't think the nation respects the sabbath)
5. Honor they father and mother (that seems to be more of a personal thing than a legal issue)
6. No murder (I like that one)
7. No adultery (I think it's still illegal in a few states, but I don't think many people are actually into prosecuting this kind of thing. Again, the jails are already pretty crowded...)
8. No stealing (that's good)
9. No false witness (check, althogh the penalties are pretty light)
10. Don't be jealous (jealousy is one of the main drivers of capitalism last I checked)

I'm much more offended at the public posting of the 10 Commandments because 7 of them are pretty dumb as far as lawas go than I am by the religious implications. Let's replace a few of the lames ones with prohibitions on rape and arson and embezzlement and then I'll be a little more interested in them as having some relevance to U.S. law.

Side note: It's extremely embarassing for the religious right that they're not very interested in making laws out of 7 of the 10 commandments, but they're obsessed with a constitutional amendment based on one line in the bible about homosexuality that didn't even rise to the status of a commandment.

One more thing: My favorite quote from an article about the Supreme Court ruling on the 10 commandments: "To me, this is all historical," he said in an interview. "To me, I don't see where it has any effect on church or state or whatever they want to say. … Our forefathers founded this country on the Ten Commandments and the Mayflower Compact and things of this sort."

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