Monday, November 25, 2002

WhoseTen Commandments?

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Tonight I'm ready to sleep with Pat Buchanan and a bunch of Southern Baptists. The controversy revolves around the Ten Commandments. The courts command that these simple words represent an establishment of religion, and thus must be purged from our public places.

Would anyone object if The Code of Hammaurabi were posted on the courthouse steps? Of course not. And that's 282 laws, also inspired by a God, name of Marduk. Magna Carta is already posted in many courthouses, and is considered the basis of our codified system of laws, and was promulgated by a King with Divine guidance and permission, not to mention authority. But it's not in the Christian Bible! The Ten Commandments are, and the display of ANYTHING that is in the Bible will cause... what? Morality might break out?

Jews, Christians, and Muslims all recognize these laws as holy commandments, it's true. And the Hindus make do with only seven, but those cover the same territory. Buddhists never complain about religion, as they eschew even the existence of an almighty being, and mostly keep their opinions to themselves, but there is not a single commandment that is not congruent with the teachings of Gautama, or the Tao. So is it who must be protected? With the possible exception of the rule against adultery, who would contest the fact that these are (at least nine) rules that we could all use?

In a courthouse, of all places, display of the precursors of the laws that are upheld therein are completely appropriate. Are the Atheists and Secular Humanists really offended by this material? Why? and, more important, why should their offense to these simple rules trump the greater need of all of the rest of us to believe in something so grand?

This case is not over yet. If the Governor backs the Judge, and the marshals are given the order to remove the Ten Commandments, what will G.W.Bush, born-again Christian, do? Those Marshals work for him.

It sounds to me like we might have a little clash of civilizations right here in the good ole U.S.A. Actually not. One civilization, against so-called progressives who eschew the thought that there could ever be a being greater than themselves.