Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), is rehashing last year’s failed attempt to make a national “Ten Commandments Day.” Originally run up the flagpole by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), this year’s version is essentially the same, with minor changes in wording and sponsorship. The big difference now is that the Democrats no longer control the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to which measures like these are typically sent. In other words, it’ll probably come to a vote.
The bill’s sponsor is part of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. (Did you know we had one of those?) He, along with seven other members of the caucus, might have enough influence to not only bring this to a vote, but see it through to passage.
I’m as offended as any non-Christian ought to be by this. But I’m also amused. I wonder sometimes if the Republican Theocrats have bothered to read their precious Ten recently. (By the way, which version are they using? Exodus or Deuteronomy? Because they’re not the same.)
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me. This is as blatantly unconstitutional as it can get. Regardless of whether the founding fathers were deists, Christians, or atheists, they were in clear agreement that the U.S. would be a place where one could worship any or no gods without fear of government retribution.
- 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. What… you mean like this?
- Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. Um… we will if we feel like it, goddammit! There’s no law, and no constitutional justification for any law making libel or slander against a deity illegal.
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Nice thought. So, I expect we’ll be seeing concurrent legislation making it illegal for Walmart to open on Sundays (or is it Saturday?). Right? Didn’t think so.
- Honour thy father and thy mother. Again, it’s a nice thought. But it’s not part of our constitution. In fact, we have a government sponsored agency whose job is to determine when children need to be taken from their parents and placed in foster care.
- Thou shalt not kill. We needed a dictate from God to figure this one out? It’s part of every legal code in the world. (And let’s not forget that God himself is not very good at keeping this one.)
- Thou shalt not commit adultery. Nobody’s recommending it, but the police aren’t going to knock down your door over it. This is a matter for civil courts. It’s not illegal.
- Thou shalt not steal. God’s on a roll. He’s found two things so far that are in lawbooks everywhere in the world. What a genius!
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. These days we call it perjury, and guess what… It’s in every lawbook in the world.
- 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. This is probably the most ridiculous of the ten. To “covet” basically means to want it really bad. And there’s obviously no law against wanting stuff your neighbor owns. Are we going to get the thought police out to enforce this one?
In review, there are exactly three items in the Ten Commandments that coincide with American law. Of course, they coincide with pretty much every other country’s laws, too. Including Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus. There’s nothing especially Christian about them.
The rest of the Ten are abhorrent to the spirit of the Constitution and American Law. They run contrary to practically everything America was founded on and stands for. If they were implemented in law, we would be set back centuries in terms of human rights. They are an awful role model for moral living.
This is getting ridiculous, isn’t it? Is there some point at which we could stand up as a nation and ask that lawmakers begin to work on important things, like… what was that thing they promised… job creation? Or health care reform? Or education? Or the tax code? Or something… anything that has some relevance to actual life in the real world?