The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Why the Ten Commandments?

The Ten Commandments weren't the foundation of Western codes of law. If anything, the pre-existence and primacy of these codes led to acceptance of the Ten Commandments, not the other way around. So why is it so popular to paste them around courthouses of states, none of which states sport an established religion?

It seems obvious to me. The yokels choose the Ten Commandments over the other law code soundbytes just to assert that, by contrast with those pagansecularhumanistwickeddecadentungodlyimmoral Greeks and Romans, we Americans are based on the Bible (halleluia!).

A Ten Commandments display is just a pointer to what lies around it: the Hebrew Torah. It tells us heathens two things. First, that this is a Christian nation which refuses to acknowledge any other forebears other than the Jews (who are just getting used here anyway, and most Jews know this). Second, that the best law is theocratic: delivered from on high to the chosen prophet, and telling us that we wretches are here to serve God first, and to protect our fellow man second except where this conflicts with the first four Divine Commandments.

Of course a Ten Commandments display in a secular courthouse represents an establishment of religion. It belongs there just as much as all those Qur'anic verses about killing unbelievers belong there. Which is to say, not at all, and it is a wicked confidence trick to pretend it does.

posted by Zimri on 18:54 | link | 0 comments

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