Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Bush administration, saying that religion ``has played a defining role'' in the nation's history, urged the U.S. Supreme Court to permit Ten Commandments displays in courthouses.
The Justice Department today filed a brief supporting two Kentucky counties accused of violating the constitutional ban on government establishment of religion by posting framed copies of the Ten Commandments.
I wish the fine Christians who support this stuff would get their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that different denominations embrace different versions of the Ten Commandments.
As a Christian (let's skip the "fine"), let me say: there are no "Ten Commandments." It's a myth. It's an invention.
The beginning of the law of Moses, the laws that defined Israel and gave it an identity, is here: "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You must have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:2-3, REB). It goes on in that vain, the beginning of the famous "thou shalt nots," and all of it related to belief in the God of Abraham.
If that isn't directly contradictory to the 1st Amendment, I don't know what is.
This country roots lie in colonies that restricted voting rights to white male property owners who were members of the right church. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island and Maryland, to name three, were all started precisely to allow religious plurality to exist. Baptists, ironically enough, were hounded out of Europe and England because of state intolerance of their doctrines. The Southern Baptist Convention is now a major force in Southern politics.
And besides, if we're going to do this, I'd rather see these posted:
Congratulations, you poor!
God's domain belongs to you.
Congratulations, you hungry!
You will have a feast.
Congratulations, you who weep now!
You will laugh.
Damn you rich!
You already have your consolation.
Damn you who are well-fed now!
You will know hunger.
Damn you who laugh now!
You will learn to weep and grieve. (Luke 6:20-21, 24-25, Scholars Version)
And yes, I left out the blatantly religious blessing/curse there. And I still wouldn't really want to see this one glibly posted where people could ignore it as blithely as we ignore the "Ten Commandments." But if we're going to do this, let's do these, too. And in this language. And maybe that will make people think about it. Maybe.