Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ten-four Mr. Heston

Every once in a while someone decides to hang up the Ten Commandments in a court house to let us know who's really in charge.

This obviously violates the separation of church and state which is a no-no. To get around this, they often invoke the canard that the Ten Commandments are the basis of western law and therefore it's OK to post away.

Are they? The Ten Commandments I mean. I never gave it much though, and they never give specific examples. I think it's because they don't know what the Ten Commandments actually say. It's easier to thump a book than to read it.

No problem, I gots the Internet tubes and half an hour. How hard can it be? I decided to check it out myself.

First of all, it took me a few minutes to find the "real" Ten. By real I mean the stuff of Charlton Heston. I want "Thou shalt"s, not "You wills"!

Once I got them, I decided to check them out. Remember, I'm not talking whether the Ten Commandments are the word of god, or holy or even a good idea. I just want to see if they're the basis of our law. The law that you and I run into every day. That's what's being professed.

The Ten Commandments

1. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Not a good start. The United States Constitution is pretty hostile to the one true god bit. You can worship as many gods as you can carry and make up a few of your own for emergencies.

Also, god didn't bring the people of Japan out of Egypt. Just saying.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Whew! This one goes all over the place.

First, does it mean that you can't draw pictures of birds or fish? I know that in the next paragraph you're told not to worship the images, but the first paragraph clearly tells you not to draw them in the first place.

What happens if my Dad draws a fish? Does it mean I'm screwed for 3 more generations? No matter what I do I'm hosed? For poppa's fish picture?

Anyway, strike two. We can engrave our butts off and sell them on late night TV. Not part of the law of this land.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Nope. You may get fined by the FCC if you do it on TV. If you do it in certain mid-east countries you may get your monkey ass stabbed, but it ain't the law 'round these parts.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Submitted for your approval: Football.

Let's see a major politician come out against that.

5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
If you're a kid, then you have to listen to your folks, but you don't have to honour them. Once you're street legal then they can rot for all the state cares.

Damn few laws about parent honouring.

6. Thou shalt not kill.
We may have a winner here!

We do have lots of laws about killing. The problem is, so does everyone else. "Don't kill the locals." is probably the first rule that every culture comes up. Well, maybe second to "Do what the big guy with the stick says." Commandments are nice, but sticks hurt.

So, this commandment doesn't set law, it simply reflects a common law. No putting the cart before the horse. Sorry.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

I'm giving half a point for this. It's hardly the basis of western law, it's more to do with blood lines, but we do get a holier-than-thou boner over adultery.

Does anyone remember the Clinton impeachment? I need to correct you all about that some day.

8. Thou shalt not steal.
Same argument as "Thou shalt not kill." Sorry horse, back to the front of the cart.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Nope! We have this thing called a talk show. People make bags of cash bearing false witness and none of them go to the slammer!

If you do it in court you might get bit, but not on the streets.

You know where you really hear false witness being borne? Church! Church and politics. Misrepresenting an opponent's position? That's false witness, kids. Pretending to not remember something that we all know you do? More false witness. Pretending gay marriage will raise my taxes? Can you guess what that's called?

Is pretending that the Ten Commandments are the bases of western law a violation of the Ten Commandments? Whoo, irony!

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
At this point we hit "Epic Fail." My god, is there anything more American than coveting? Our entire economy is built on the covet. If I could sell covets I'd make a fortune! Oops!

How do we compare successful religion? Weirdness? Meanness? Miracles per square pew? Nope, size! It's mega-church penis envy covet.

Why do we care about Bill Gate's opinion on anything? Is he wise? Nope. Clever? Nah. Filthy stinking rich! Bingo!

Thou shalt not covet? Then death penalty for SUVs! Sheesh!


Adding it up, it doesn't look good for the Ten Commandments being the basis of our law. Oh, lets face it. It ain't!

What's kind of interesting, is that very few proponents of Commandment posting have gone through the list like I have. Do you think they know that they're bearing false witness? Can't be. My neighbor would never do that. It's not Christian.

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