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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Ten Commandments

Many times I have heard that society would be a better place if we simply all followed the Ten Commandments. That these laws are all that is needed to ensure universal harmony. But is that an accurate viewpoint? Would the USA be a better place if the Ten Commandments were set into law. I submit that it would not.

The 10 Commandments:

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
The First Commandment deals with praying to only the biblical God. This would be in direct conflict with the religious freedoms permitted in the US Constitution.

TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
The Second Commandment forbids artistic expression. This not only is a violation of religious freedom, it also violates free speech

THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
The Third Commandment does not allow Gods name to be taken in vain. That would also violate the free speech laws we have in the USA

FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
The Fourth Commandment requires we keep the Sabbath holy. This also violates freedom of religion. Besides, which day are we to keep holy? The Muslims say Friday, the Jewish people say Saturday and the Christians say Sunday. Should the government enforce one day over another? Only if they want to create friction and disharmony among the citizens.

FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'
The Fifth Commandment requires that we honor our parents. On the surface, that sounds like a good idea. However, not all parents are good parents. Some beat, abuse, starve and rape their children. Should a child, raped by his parent, be required by law to honor that parent? Of course not. Most parents do a great job raising their children and deserve praise for that. But to require that all parents be honored by law is pointless. A parent that is doing a good job will be honored by their children simply because they deserve it.

SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
The Sixth Commandment says not to murder. A perfectly good idea, which is why we already have it on the books. It would also be nice if the biblical god would abide by his own rules and did not tell people to kill other people. But I digress.

SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
The Seventh Commandment forbids adultery. Initially, this also seems like a good idea. But what should be the punishment if someone does commit adultery? According to Leviticus 20:10, they should be executed. Even if we agreed that is too extreme, should a person face prison time, fines, whippings, or perhaps being placed in the stocks? According to Jesus in Matthew 5:28 "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." If adultery was illegal, how could we even begin to enforce this little tidbit. While I concur that adultery is a bad thing, it is a private matter between a husband and wife and the government should stay out of that area

EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
 The Eighth Commandment forbids stealing. Another perfectly good idea which is why we already have laws on the books regarding it.

NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
The Ninth Commandment forbids bearing false witness against your neighbor. Perjury is already against the law. We also do not allow slander or libel. However, do we really need a law forbidding a citizen from talking badly against their neighbor? Just what is the extent of the law going to be? I believe we already have sufficient laws on the books regarding this matter. But I will give it half credit.

TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'
The Tenth Commandment forbids coveting. Just how would the violation of this law be discovered? What should be the penalty for this? Actually, coveting is a part and parcel of the free market system. The Franks work harder to get what the Smiths have because they desire it as well. A prohibition would be bad for the economy.

So, out of the ten, there are two which would be a good idea to use, both of which we are already using. One is a sorta good idea. The other seven would either violate our Constitution, create havoc in the streets or hurt the economy.

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