View Full Version : The Ten Commandments: an authoritative thread


Stile
Jul 19, 2005, 08:23 PM
First, some links:

A recent thread: US Supreme Court rules the display of the Commandments unconstitutional in courtrooms (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=122463)

From the Bible: Exodus 20 (http://bible.gospelcom.net/passage/?search=Exodus%2020%20;&version=49;)

Latest News Bit: Barrow Removes Ten Commandments Display (http://www.wsbtv.com/news/4741889/detail.html?rss=atl&psp=news)

I have created this thread as it seems the majority of opinion in this forum and in the populace as a whole does not give the Ten Commandments it's proper place in history. Now I am a church going man myself, but I am critical of those who would use the placement of the Ten Commandments as a religious slap in the face to those who do not believe. The presence of the Ten Commandments should be a comfort to everyone who enters a courtroom they adorn, as I will explain. I am confounded as to why the ACLU has started this tug of war on the Ten Commandments; they are on the wrong side of civil liberties on this one.

First, I present a little background. When the Ten Commandments were originally given by God, it was unique in many ways. In confirming a relationship with His people that began when they trusted in Him during the exodus, God gave his laws to man. This is how God intended men to live. But most important was that God gave his laws and everyone was subject to them. Even if you do not believe in God, you should notice in the story that Moses did not create the laws, rather they were given to him and he too was subject to them. This was very new.

Now this fledgling Jewish nation did not live up to the ideal. They were petrified of God and wanted a King to rule over them, just as all other nations had. God didn't want this, but relented. The problem with this governance should be evident from any one with the slightest knowledge of Chronicles. Take for example the greatest Jewish king, David, who is described as a man after God's heart. He was guilty of both adultery and murder (David and Bathsheba (http://bible.gospelcom.net/passage/?book_id=10&chapter=11&version=31)). There should be no King, only the rule of law.

Now, fastforward 3000 years. First only with the United States was this principle applied and perhaps only more recently lived up to. The principle that all men are equal under the rule of law. The law is created and applied by a system with checks and balances, so to maintain law that is fair and applied evenly without malice. It is brilliant form of government inspired by the events so long ago at Mt Sinai.

Why has the Ten Commandments become so offensive to some? Surely Christians did not originally place the Ten in courtrooms to try and convert the denizens of said rooms, because in such a case there are myriad better symbols or statements. Even today, they are only placed in reaction to secular pressure to remove them for religious reasons. They are a powerful symbol of an ideal aspired to by this and many nations. How ironic that to live under the rule of law we must now discard the original symbol of the rule of law.

Inspiration for my post: My Church (http://www.northpoint.org/sermonaudio) Sermon Audio (yeah, I borrowed a bit) (http://webcastingtechnologies.com/northpoint/asx/as050703_28.asx)

Azadre
Jul 19, 2005, 08:28 PM
Sure, America could use more religion. But the first one that pesters me into to trying to convert to worship Jesus, son of mary, will get a stern warning. If they continue, I will give them a black eye. And remember, would you want to spend tax payer dollars or have lobbyists funding religious imagery? I would not.

punkbass2000
Jul 19, 2005, 08:31 PM
@Stile: I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what your point is.

North King
Jul 19, 2005, 08:33 PM
Perhaps it's offensive because you're putting a symbol of one religion above all others? I know Americans try their hardest not to notice, but not all of us are Christians.

ligertiger
Jul 19, 2005, 08:38 PM
Perhaps it's offensive because you're putting a symbol of one religion above all others? I know Americans try their hardest not to notice, but not all of us are Christians.

Exactly, with the huge amount of cultural and religous in America, a uniform standard cannot be placed on those who are not subject to those laws.

Also, I hope that by saying nations should be ruled by God's law, you're not going down the same path as current day "Imahs" in radical Islamic nations and the Catholic Church during Medeval times. If there's anything we've learned, it's that its better to be ruled by earthly men than earthly men who claim to know the ways of God.

Stile
Jul 19, 2005, 08:57 PM
@Stile: I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what your point is.
My point is the Ten Commandments originally was not placed in courtrooms to show we are a Christian nation, not to demonstrate that our laws are based on God's laws (they're not in particular), and not to snub our noses at criminals or condemn non-Christians. I contend the Ten Commandments are not really that big of a Christian symbol. I intended to show if one looks at the effects of the Ten Commandments on our society from even a purely secular point of view, that person would see that no other idea had more impact on the freedom we now possess regardless as to whether you credit the idea to God, or some group of fiction authors.

punkbass2000
Jul 19, 2005, 09:02 PM
I don't see why one would need to use the Ten Commandments in order to illicit such a response.

WillJ
Jul 19, 2005, 09:05 PM
Sorry, but I seriously doubt Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, et al were influenced by the Ten Commandments in their thoughts that rulers should be subject to the law like everyone else.

That said, I don't really see a problem with the 10 Commandments in courtrooms.

Stile
Jul 19, 2005, 09:05 PM
Exactly, with the huge amount of cultural and religous in America, a uniform standard cannot be placed on those who are not subject to those laws.

Also, I hope that by saying nations should be ruled by God's law, you're not going down the same path as current day "Imahs" in radical Islamic nations and the Catholic Church during Medeval times. If there's anything we've learned, it's that its better to be ruled by earthly men than earthly men who claim to know the ways of God.
I acknowledge that our law is not God's law. Our law, as I stated, is created and applied by a system with checks and balances in place of God. You're wrong about that last bit. There's no difference in being ruled by earthly men, inspired by God or not, and for every example you give I could grab plenty counters. Rule by man is just plain bad. Rule by law is better.

Vietcong
Jul 19, 2005, 09:17 PM
but y not put the religous laws of any other religon in the court room?? thats my simple question...

lets not put any one religon above any other.. we are not puting down crhistanity. we are simply saying its a personal matter. and thus shold not be shown around on goverment property, since goverment property is socitys property.

Sims2789
Jul 19, 2005, 09:31 PM
What you propose will not establish a faith-based government; it will establish a Machiavellian autocracy that uses faith as an end to stay in power and do as it pleases. Leaders from Henry IV of France to George W. Bush know the power that religion can play in politics, and they use it to gain and maintain power as well as to mask their real intentions. After all, "Paris is worth a mass."

Mallady
Jul 19, 2005, 09:36 PM
I think my position would be that the Ten Commandments were Laws Written in Stone (much like the Code of Hammurabi, only 1700 years later), but that the laws were born from the Judeo-Christian God. It was this God who created the rules by which man lived, this God who created the Law.

I think I would follow the secular belief that we are (and should be) ruled by the laws that 'earthly men' have created, through long centuries of deliberation, testing, debate, correspondence, trial, and legislation... These laws that govern us have, essentially, come from us. It supports the foundation of the Enlightenment, that humanity has the ability (and, therefore, the duty) to discover the world through science (instead of follow Vatican dogma), rule itself through democracy and representation (instead of follow a deified King), and adjudicate itself (instead of follow tablets inscribed by God).

I greatly respect the Ten Commandments, but don't think they belong in a Federal Courtroom or other Federal Institution. (I would fight against an object that decried "These Laws Have Been Created by Man Because There is No God" with the same fervor). Separation of Church & State. Not Support of Church by State, or Condemnation of Church by State. Separation.

Nobody
Jul 19, 2005, 09:38 PM
well im not very religious and i dont care for the ones like "there is only one god, he is so hansom ect" i think most of them are good and no harm in living by them

North King
Jul 19, 2005, 09:38 PM
My point is the Ten Commandments originally was not placed in courtrooms to show we are a Christian nation, not to demonstrate that our laws are based on God's laws (they're not in particular), and not to snub our noses at criminals or condemn non-Christians. I contend the Ten Commandments are not really that big of a Christian symbol. I intended to show if one looks at the effects of the Ten Commandments on our society from even a purely secular point of view, that person would see that no other idea had more impact on the freedom we now possess regardless as to whether you credit the idea to God, or some group of fiction authors.

We are not (or were not) ever a Christian nation. We are (or were) a secular nation, meaning that the religion is separated from the state. The state does not (or did not) set any religion above any other, and we do not (or did not) try to convince people to convert. Such is one of the great beauties of the original American democracy, that tolerance may flourish (or did flourish), that no matter how large the majority, they can never force their views over the minority (or could never).

I, for one, would definately not feel comforted by the sight of the Ten Commandments in a courtroom, for I am not a Christian, and seeing a nation dominated by the religion is altogether unsettling. What am I being judged by, morality, or religion? Will I start having to follow the dietary laws of Leviticus? Could people then force their children into slavery, as is allowed in the Bible? Would we hunt witches through the streets?

We are not a nation goverend by, or even heavily influenced by, Christian law, and, pardon the ironic sarcasm, thank god for that.

Sims2789
Jul 19, 2005, 09:44 PM
Furthermore, the 10 Commandments are examples of faith-based law, whereas the court system is an example of fact-based law. The two are entirely different concepts based on entirely different ways of thinking and therefore should not be mixed, especially under the guise of preserving history when actually the goal is to blur the line between religion and state.

luiz
Jul 19, 2005, 09:52 PM
Most brazilian courtrooms have a cross, and so does the Senate and the House of Representatives, and yet it's hard to argue that the brazilian state is any less secular because of that.
People in Europe and the US make a very big deal about such things, which are IMHO completely irrelevant.

A'AbarachAmadan
Jul 19, 2005, 10:14 PM
My point is the Ten Commandments originally was not placed in courtrooms to show we are a Christian nation..

That is true, they are still up in the Supreme Court as they are tactfully displayed as a greater set of 'historical laws of man'. However, some places tried to make them prominent and not part of a larger display. Now the Supreme Courts latest ruling tend to look willy-nilly to me, but there is a way to display the Ten Commandments and a way not to. Just wish they would make a good ruling that could be easily interpretted.

Colonel
Jul 19, 2005, 10:31 PM
You think the following statement would stop this thread but it wont so here it is.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

It does not matter what the reasoning behind placeing the ten commandments in Government building. The simple fact of the matter is that it is showing that we have Judeo-Christian values and that this is the state reilgon. If I were to say I wanted to put quotes from the Qua'ran on\near the front entrance of the Capital building I would get laughed out of the room as I should be. You start puting the ten commandments everywhere and you get the World's only super power becoming a hypocritial state.

Now with that said if you could find an object with quotes from every holy book, or something representing every single reilgon on the planet then it could be placed anywhere, Government building or otherwise.

A'AbarachAmadan
Jul 19, 2005, 10:43 PM
You think the following statement would stop this thread but it wont so here it is.

Originally Posted by The Constution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;



That talks about Congress. It does not say States cannot have an official religion. Stopping them is nothing more than the Federal Gov't taking away the rights of the States. So no, it in no way stops the discussion.

wilbill
Jul 19, 2005, 10:49 PM
That talks about Congress. It does not say States cannot have an official religion. Stopping them is nothing more than the Federal Gov't taking away the rights of the States. So no, it in no way stops the discussion.States can't make laws, or amendments to their constitutions that violate the US Constitution. When the US Constitution says "congress can" or "congress shall not" it absolutely covers state legislatures.

Stile
Jul 19, 2005, 11:02 PM
It does not matter what the reasoning behind placeing the ten commandments in Government building. The simple fact of the matter is that it is showing that we have Judeo-Christian values and that this is the state reilgon. If I were to say I wanted to put quotes from the Qua'ran on\near the front entrance of the Capital building I would get laughed out of the room as I should be. You start puting the ten commandments everywhere and you get the World's only super power becoming a hypocritial state.

Now with that said if you could find an object with quotes from every holy book, or something representing every single reilgon on the planet then it could be placed anywhere, Government building or otherwise.

The Koran thing doesn't fly. How about if you wanted to put engravings of Pagan gods everywhere? Oh wait, that's already been done and no one cares. Plus, our laws are not Jewish laws and are not based on the Ten Commandments. There should be no fear here. Our system of laws is, down to where all men are created equal with a right to life (commandment 6) and property (commandment 8). The display is not to promote religion (if it was we'd have a better one involving the new Testament), it's a symbol of the rule of law. If we derived our system from Aesop's Fables then I would think it was appropriate to display them anywhere in a governement building. Would you? (Actually that's a bad example, as Aesop's Fables would be a nice addition in court rooms, especially if you were on jury duty during a boring trial.)

Colonel
Jul 19, 2005, 11:24 PM
The Koran thing doesn't fly.

What does that mean, its alright to have Christian scripture everywhere but o no the book the terrorist quote is bad. I dont even know where to begin with this.

Plus, our laws are not Jewish laws and are not based on the Ten Commandments. There should be no fear here. Our system of laws is, down to where all men are created equal with a right to life (commandment 6) and property (commandment 8). The display is not to promote religion (if it was we'd have a better one involving the new Testament), it's a symbol of the rule of law. If we derived our system from Aesop's Fables then I would think it was appropriate to display them anywhere in a governement building. Would you? (Actually that's a bad example, as Aesop's Fables would be a nice addition in court rooms, especially if you were on jury duty during a boring trial.)

I dont care how much you believe it is isnt reilgous symbolizism, it is. The ten commandments are the basis of reilgous law, both Christian and Hebrew. Putting the ten commandments in court rooms is just going to inflame the millions of Muslim Americans not to mention the Athesits. Honesty we have already had a guy sue the government for makeing his kid say under god in the pledge think what kind of sh** storm this will bring with it.

Japanrocks12
Jul 19, 2005, 11:52 PM
Enough. The Ten Commandments, yes are a form of code. But they are so general that they can be applicable to anything. If it wasn't for the religious connotation, it would be fine to post it anywhere.

See, they banned the posting of the Ten to avoid pissing people off, but as a result they have pissed many more people off with their inane actions.

Mallady
Jul 20, 2005, 12:14 AM
I agree somewhat with the SCOTUS decisions a while back... The Ten Commandments, as a symbol of The Rule of Law (along with Magna Carta, Hammurabi Codex, etc), in some kind of context that includes other symbols of The Rule of Law (as you state) should probably be acceptable... but in other contexts, where the symbolism is not merely historical but ostentatiously religious, symbolizing not The Rule of Law by Man, but The Rule of Law by God, I (as an agnostic) would feel extremely uncomfortable being adjudicated in such a courthouse... as I would quickly wonder, where are my judge's priorities? Will he/she follow the laws of man, which I dutifully agree to conform to as a citizen of this country, or shall he/she follows the laws of Judeo-Christiandom, whose dogma I do not completely subscribe to as I'm not a follower or a believer of their faiths? Context would be the issue, and I think, if given a choice, our society should lean to the side of separation of church & state, instead of the side of Judeo-Christian tenets.

I don't (really!) understand the big deal about this whole thing. I want to live in a nation where I can practice (or not) any religion I please without being "coerced and influenced" by governmental religious sponsorships. I want to be able to walk into a courthouse and have my case heard without having to walk past The Word of Yahweh. Non-Christians in this country are bombarded with pressues, social and institutional, which favor Christianity. Since Christians have been the leading institutional religion in the civilized world since the Fall of Rome, I don't understand the recent, polarizing surge in feelings of persecution that have appeared everywhere I look on TV. Modern right-wing thought seems to have embraced the idea that, if I don't get my way and get my Ten Commandment statue in the Courthouse, then I'm being persecuted and attacked for being a Christian... I just don't understand why people have to offend/intimidate all non-Christians in this country simply for pride... why can't people celebrate their faiths in their personal life without pushing it onto others?

No offense, Stile... I greatly respect your question, and have enjoyed answering it. :cool:

WillJ
Jul 20, 2005, 12:15 AM
Most brazilian courtrooms have a cross, and so does the Senate and the House of Representatives, and yet it's hard to argue that the brazilian state is any less secular because of that.
People in Europe and the US make a very big deal about such things, which are IMHO completely irrelevant.
Yay, someone agrees with me on this issue. ;)You think the following statement would stop this thread but it wont so here it is.
You would think a person who'd bother to post that might bother reading it!

You see, it says that the government shouldn't establish, through law, religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion. Now how does a monument of the 10 Commandments do either of those? First of all, a monument is not a law, but even if you think that's just being pedantic (and I wouldn't blame you), it's not establishing religion or prohibiting its free exercise. The latter is extremely obvious and I doubt you disagree with me there; the former I imagine you disagree with and so I'll ellaborate.

We can't ignore the context that ammendment was written in. In the eighteenth century, all sorts of "establishments of religion and prohibitions of the free exercise thereof" in Europe were fresh on the founding fathers' minds. Am I talking about all sorts of oppressive monuments? No, I'm talking about the state making it mandatory to follow a certain religion, or making it illegal to follow a certain one. That's what the Constitution tries to prevent.

I can understand that a public monument to the 10 Commandments might make one worry that the government is influenced by Judeo-Christianity, but that's not an unjust thing, at least not according to the Constitution, nor in my personal opinion. Why shouldn't officials and judges be allowed to have religion on their minds when they do their jobs? Although it reeks of being nothing more than a clever slogan, keep in mind, "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." (I attribute that to Sharpe, of all people ;), although he might have gotten it from somewhere else himself.) There's no reason leglislators, executives, and judges shouldn't be allowed to be influenced by religion. If you disagree, how could you possibly be okay with them being influenced by the ethical and political philosophies of Immanuel Kant, Machiavelli, Sartre, or whoever else? Indeed, why can they be allowed to be influenced by anything nonfactual? (And please don't argue that they should just stick with facts---making and interpreting law with just facts is utterly impossible.) Why single out religion? (I'll admit that in the case of courthouses and their judges, whose job is merely to interpret law, not create it, there's the danger of the religious judges just entirely creating their own law based on the 10 Commandments or whatever else, but religion can be used in influencing personal interpretations just as well. If a judge takes things too far, there are ways to stop that. And besides, that dilemma still leaves legislative buildings fair game for religious monuments.)

Oh, and Stile raises an excellent point. Maybe it's a cheap shot, but it's still clever. Why are statues of Roman and Greek gods on public property A-OK?

Okay, time to go to bed now. ;)

Mallady
Jul 20, 2005, 12:31 AM
You see, it says that the government shouldn't establish, through law, religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion.

I think the Establishment Clause has been interpreted as also prohibiting the preference of one religion over another, not necessarily only through lawful establishment of a national religion, but also by "excessive entanglement" of government and religion and the appearance of preference. I would say that the Ten Commandments in the lobby of my courthouse would definitely make me think my government is preferring Christianity.

Why shouldn't officials and judges be allowed to have religion on their minds when they do their jobs?

Absolutely, to prohibit them from having religion on their minds would be to unconstitutionally restrict the free exercise of religion of the officials. Somewhere the line has to be drawn between "I can freely exercise my religion by making moral decisions based on my faith" and "I can freely exercise my religion by erecting a statue of Moses in my Courthouse and then refusing a Federal court order to take it down." Isn't it okay to draw a line somewhere between the two? Must secularism be completely castrated?

Why are statues of Roman and Greek gods on public property A-OK?

You're right. Greco-Roman monuments should be treated the same as Christian ones, if we're to be fair.

Pontiuth Pilate
Jul 20, 2005, 12:49 AM
The Ten Commandments are worse than irrelevant.

I'm still stumped as to how they have anything to do with U.S. law. They are not the ancestor of any modern law system in the first world. Rather, the Roman code of law (slightly influenced by CHRISTIANITY in its latter development maybe, but surely not the OLD Testament) is the ancestor to almost all European law systems. For Americans, our law stems from the "common law" developed in England, which has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments either.

The claim that the Ten Commandments are the "foundation of all our freedoms" is grade-A horse manure.

Seriously, if you look at them, which commandments are relevant?

1. Endorsement of monotheism.
2. Forbids graven images of God. Boy are we following that one well. Only the Muslims are sticking to this, folks.
3. Taking the name of the Lord in vain. Again, great track record.
4. The Sabbath is holy. Not followed at all.
5. Honor & obey your father and mother. Great advice, not a law.
6 - 9. Don't kill, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie.
10. Don't covet your neighbor's possessions.

Commandments 1-5 have nothing to do with a secular society.

Commandments 6-10 are so fricking obvious that to claim that the Ten Commandments are the sole source of these, or even a "barely relevant source," assumes that before Moses came down from the mountain all humanity was living in barbarism. In fact (embarrassingly for Moses!) a nearly identical set of laws were encoded in Egypt as part of THEIR religious creed, including Commandments 5-9, as part of a ritual formula a dead person must recite upon finding himself before the afterlife's judges. It's all in their equivalent of the Testaments, the Book of the Dead.

The second Ten Commandments, written by Moses after the first set broke, are even LESS relevant to any civilized society, if such a thing is possible. See Exodus 34 (for those of ye who know thy Bibles). Possibly proving that the old con man & his followers were incapable of learning anything useful, even from the ancient Egyptians.

The Supreme Court Justices should understand this background fully. In the frieze which decorates their building Moses is one of EIGHTEEN lawgivers including such infidels as Mohammed and Confucius, and such Catholic devils as Napoleon, St. Louis and Charlemagne. Heck, there's even an Orthodox saint, the Emperor Justinian.

If you want to call anyone on that frieze the "ancestor of modern law" I would have to credit the Romans and Greeks pictured there. In other words: Lycurgus, Solon, Drace, Octavian, and Justinian. Notice that there are five of them?

SOLON in particular is important. He was put in charge of writing the Athenian constitution after a period of unrest... sound familiar? He pardoned debt, freed the Athenian equivalent of serfs, replaced birth with wealth as a criterion for office-holding, instituted progressive taxation, made military service compulsory even for the rich, and created a new court of appeal for the lower classes. As far as I know, Solon's Constitution was the first to give a democratic assembly power in Athens. Oh, and he also invented trial by jury. In other words, he is pretty damn important. Far, far more important than Moses, in fact.

In a Supreme irony (pun intended), Solon also wrote a list of ten "commandments," in the form of advice on ethics. Diogenes Laertius wrote them down in his capsule-biography of Solon:

I. Trust good character more than promises.
II. Do not speak falsely.
III. Do good things.
IV. Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made.
V. Learn to obey before you command.
VI. When giving advice, do not recommend what is most pleasing, but what is most useful.
VII. Make reason your supreme commander.
VIII. Do not associate with people who do bad things.
IX. Respect the gods.
X. Have regard for your parents.

Notice how qualified Solon's advice is, compared to the commandments of Moses. Solon doesn't say you must obey your parents, but he DOES say that you must "have regard" for them - treat them respect, make them a player in your decisions, and do not wilfully spite or harm them. Solon does not insult us by listing all the obviously bad things we must not do, but reminds us with commandment 7 that we should always trust our reasoning ability to see us through. He urges us to indulge in all deeds we think are good - something Moses does not do. Solon tells us we must know our place in society - "learn to obey before you command" - but also emphasizes in five commandments (1, 2, 4, 6, 8) that character and honesty must be the basis for evaluating other people. Again, Moses is silent on this issue.

The Commandments of Moses are insulting, patronizing, simplistic and sometimes even barbaric. All of the Commandments of Solon apply to a modern, secular society.

Just to wrap this up fast, I also want to follow up with some facts on those other four Greeks and Romans on the Supreme Court walls - Lycurgus, Drace, Octavian, and Justinian.

LYCURGUS of Sparta started their tradition of "spartan," ascetic militarism. But he also was one of the first Greeks to devise a system of government divided against itself - in this case, splitting power between a king, a senate, and a series of governors.

DRACE or DRACO, one of Greece's harshest lawgivers, is another word-root historical figure (draconian). His solution to bankruptcy was slavery. Draco's laws were so bad that the desperate people of Athens got a poet by the name of Solon to revise them. But he was the first Athenian to actually write down and codify legal traditions.

OCTAVIAN succeeded his uncle Julius as Caesar of Rome and ruled so well that his title, Augustus, became the permanent title of following emperors. For years after his death, what we know as the Pax Romana was actually called the Pax Augusta. He also got a month named after him, just like his uncle. Octavian is almost as important to the Supreme Court's functioning as Solon - he instituted the principle of "precedent," allowing justices to draw upon previous rulings. Giving prior interpretation of the law a legal status allows us to reference a "spirit of the law" as well as the letter of it.

JUSTINIAN, emperor of Byzantine Rome, had so many accomplishments that he was made an Orthodox saint. And while we're on word roots, where do you think "justice" comes from? Under Justinian's guidance, his advisers literally compiled, edited, and rewrote all of Roman law to date, shaping it into a coherent whole. The statutes of Justinian (Codex Justinianus) are the precedent for all European law that followed. In the compilation process, Justinian also gave the words and opinions of legal scholars official weight, thus modernizing the code and reforming some of the provisions that stemmed from less civilized times. Justinian's Code is the first Roman law to make mistreatment of a slave a crime; it also abolished class as a legal distinction and as a criterion for officeholding.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Compared to the accomplishments of these 5 fellows, what did Moses contribute to our legal tradition? Nothing. He was one of at least a half-dozen ancient kings, priests and philosophers to formulate a set of written laws. And his wasn't even in the top five.

I haven't even talked about what the other 12 lawgivers did, and there are some great names up there - Napoleon (for his Code Napoleon), John Marshall (for judicial review), Hugo Grotius (founder of international law, originator of "just war" concept) and many many others. Frankly, Moses is irrelevant.

MeteorPunch
Jul 20, 2005, 01:23 AM
I'm a Christian, but I don't think they should be in there, necessarily. It shows religious favoritism by the government. On the other hand, people who go out of their way to get them removed is worse to me because there's a lot more important things happening to spend time fixing.

A'AbarachAmadan
Jul 20, 2005, 02:12 AM
States can't make laws, or amendments to their constitutions that violate the US Constitution. When the US Constitution says "congress can" or "congress shall not" it absolutely covers state legislatures.

True, but that has been interpretted differently throughout time. At one point is was considered to be only Congress, then was expanded to the Federal Gov't, then was expanded to State governments. It won't necessarily always be so that federal restrictions will apply to the States, unless it clearly states that States don't have the right.

Enough. The Ten Commandments, yes are a form of code. But they are so general that they can be applicable to anything. If it wasn't for the religious connotation, it would be fine to post it anywhere.

Bolding is mine. I disagree. Two of them are Do not be envious of your neighbor's house. Do not be envious of your neighbor's wife, his slave, his maid, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that is your neighbor's."

I have a serious problem with these being in a government court house as part of a stand alone document. It is not the government's business what I am envious of. (And it is outdated, for one slavery is immoral and unjust in and of itself, though I know it isn't written like that anymore, it usually stops with wife.)

Mise
Jul 20, 2005, 04:17 AM
I haven't really read this thread, nor do I understand the nuances of the US constitution, but to me, it seems silly to put the ten commandments in a courtroom, because it's just a free advertisement for Christianity. I wouldn't want "I'm lovin' it", "Just do it" or "Always Coca-cola" in their any more than "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife". I'll covet whoever I want, thank you very much!

farting bob
Jul 20, 2005, 05:05 AM
As an athiest, i beleive that the ten commandments were not from god, but from whoever wrtoe that opart of the bible, and his idea of what the rules should be.
And yes, i agree with most of the commandments, and living your life by these commandments will probbaly do you good.
But church and the law should be seperate. No-one seems to think the way islam and law in those countires is fair and free, because law should have nothing to do with religion in this age.
Its not that offensive to athiests, i can put up with it, but other religions would find it offensive since the presence of christian things in a courtroom sugests that the law favours christians and what they belive in.

Rambuchan
Jul 20, 2005, 05:33 AM
I was brought up with the values of the Ten Commandments, via the Catholic faith. I now discount it all and think it not only irrelevant but also unnecessary to living a 'good life'. The idea of the Ten Commandments is now very patronising to me and I am sure that it is to many others out there. These are pretty basic principles which many can come to understand themselves, whether from a religious upbringing or a secular one.

They are irrelevant because:

a) We've got all they say in law already (except for fearing God and worshiping false idols) so why do we need these socially charged, Christian specific rules in our law courts?

b) Western societies are far too diverse to label our law courts with a Christian label. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Athiests, Agnostics and so on simply find no substance or meaning in the 10 Commandments. They've got their own rules and it's achievement enough to bring all these disparate groups under a secular law, why add another cook to the kitchen?

c) As we have seen, the Vatican has shown very little understanding of significant current global issues. For instance, its stance on contraception is clearly ridiculous given the huge amounts of childern born in to poverty, famine and civil war. Religion is not proving to be a good captain of this new ship.

Probably many more reasons but it seems like folks are onto it.

FredLC
Jul 20, 2005, 05:52 AM
Most brazilian courtrooms have a cross, and so does the Senate and the House of Representatives, and yet it's hard to argue that the brazilian state is any less secular because of that.
People in Europe and the US make a very big deal about such things, which are IMHO completely irrelevant.

Perhaps the scope of things to worry about is different in the first world. We have much more visceral issues to deal with.

Indeed, we have crosses everywhere. While I would not engage a secular crusade to remove them, they do bother me.

For example, I was invited to the opening of the Federal Special Courtrooms here in Ilhéus. The President of the First Federal Tribunal made a speech, where he praised the former president - the man that made the opening possible - saying that his "christian ethics made him the ideal man for the job". He also saluted all military and state authorities, and the Bishop of Ilhéus' Cathedral.

Now, I am an atheist, so the fact that my ethics - which aren't christian - being suggested as "not ideal" is reason enough to consider the speech uncalled for; but what really bothered me is this: the other lawyer that works with me is a Kardecist, master-and-chief of a local cult - and higher authority for them in the region. Now, shouldn't he be praised as a religious authority just as much as the Bishop? Fewer people attend to his sermons, but technically he is in equal standing to him regarding ascendancy in the religious body of his own church.

I wonder what would happen if the teachings and symbols of his own church were to replace the ten commandments and the crosses in the local courtrooms. I doubt it would be pretty.

I have issues with inequality, and everything that either creates or symbolizes inequality annoys me. This is just the case of the commandments - or crosses - being displayed in highlilighted places in public areas.

I guess I have to become a judge myself so i can remove it from at least my courtroom...

Regards :).

FredLC
Jul 20, 2005, 06:02 AM
Oh, and Stile raises an excellent point. Maybe it's a cheap shot, but it's still clever. Why are statues of Roman and Greek gods on public property A-OK?

You're right. Greco-Roman monuments should be treated the same as Christian ones, if we're to be fair.

Perhaps, but only if one is trying to be picky. The Greco-Roman Gods are no longer revered as "real" deities. While of religious inspiration, such monuments are regarded only as an exquisit form of art, not evoking the encompassing grasp of a particular believe in the given nation.

That said, while such situation does provide an excelent reason to except these, if the price to pay were to keep also them outside of the courtrooms, in order to silence the technically correct but extremely short-sighted argument that "they are also religious symbols" - than I think it would be a worth one.

Regards :).

Rambuchan
Jul 20, 2005, 06:33 AM
Great post Mr Moderator!!! :D

This is the point I was making about a lack of representation in the whole idea of the Ten Commandments taking a significant standing. Your example is the perfect one. There are too many non-Christians of equal, and often, of greater merit than their Christian counterparts. To assume a Christian identity and emphasis for legal proceedings in this day and age excludes talent and, like you say, implies inequality. Keep it for quiet murmurings with God and not for measuring the judiciary.

Further, I would say that the claim that the Ten Commandments, being handed down from God is problematic on two fronts:

a) This supposed God given right, or direct connection with God, has been easily assumed by self-interested parties, to found dynasties, incite racial violence and so many other unsavoury actions. Clearly this claim to being 'exempt from the fallacies of man' is a misconception.

b) I question the notion that a God who speaks for everyone gave these laws to us and not a man. Plenty of people have had 'divine inspiration' in their times. Some a little more divine and persuasive than others'. Personally I see Moses having a political motivation to seek/receive such inspiration and I place no more importance on it than the 'inspirations' of other great prophets around the world.

Masquerouge
Jul 20, 2005, 11:22 AM
The Ten Commandments are worse than irrelevant.
I haven't even talked about what the other 12 lawgivers did, and there are some great names up there - Napoleon (for his Code Napoleon), John Marshall (for judicial review), Hugo Grotius (founder of international law, originator of "just war" concept) and many many others. Frankly, Moses is irrelevant.

Great, great post :goodjob:

Now if only everybody knew that, then I wouldn't worry too much about having the 10C in courtrooms. The thing is, people are still pretty much convinced that the US has something to do with it...

Akka
Jul 20, 2005, 11:51 AM
I was about to say something, then I read the post of Ponthius Pilate, and I can avoid to repeat what he said himself ^^

But to sum up, the Ten Commandments are much more patronizing religious orders than a set of laws, and their inspiration power is dim at best.

nonconformist
Jul 20, 2005, 12:05 PM
What's covet mean?

IglooDude
Jul 20, 2005, 12:13 PM
What's covet mean?

want, desire, lust after.

nonconformist
Jul 20, 2005, 12:35 PM
want, desire, lust after.
Well, what's wrong with it then?

IglooDude
Jul 20, 2005, 12:40 PM
Well, what's wrong with it then?

It is a violation of the Ten Commandments, of course. ;) Besides, aren't lust and envy two of the seven deadly sins or something?

nonconformist
Jul 20, 2005, 12:41 PM
It is a violation of the Ten Commandments, of course. ;) Besides, aren't lust and envy two of the seven deadly sins or something?

Maybe. I can still covet a lager CPU though.

WillJ
Jul 20, 2005, 12:57 PM
I think the Establishment Clause has been interpreted as also prohibiting the preference of one religion over another, not necessarily only through lawful establishment of a national religion, but also by "excessive entanglement" of government and religion and the appearance of preference. I would say that the Ten Commandments in the lobby of my courthouse would definitely make me think my government is preferring Christianity.
I agree with everything but the last sentence. Really, the only thing that I can think of that the prohibition of "excessive entanglement" would (justly) involve is the government funding a religion* or otherwise aiding its cause. That's not technically establishing a state religion, but it might as well be. The 10 Commandments in the lobby of a courthouse is not going too far because in no way does it aid the cause of Judaism or Christianity. All it does is show that the members of the court personally have some sort of respect for Judeo-Christianity (maybe not even that).

*And that brings up the interesting issue of whether or not tax breaks on religious institutions is acceptable. I suppose the proper defense of that would be that the government isn't giving them money, it's just taking less money from them than everyone else. ;)
Absolutely, to prohibit them from having religion on their minds would be to unconstitutionally restrict the free exercise of religion of the officials. Somewhere the line has to be drawn between "I can freely exercise my religion by making moral decisions based on my faith" and "I can freely exercise my religion by erecting a statue of Moses in my Courthouse and then refusing a Federal court order to take it down." Isn't it okay to draw a line somewhere between the two? Must secularism be completely castrated?
Upon reflection I've decided that a line does need to be drawn somewhere, but somewhere beyond erecting a statue of Moses in your courhouse. ;)

When legislators decide to make it illegal to work on Sunday, that's not acceptable---although not because it might have a religious motive, but just because it's an unacceptable infringement on our liberties.IX. Respect the gods.

----

All of the Commandments of Solon apply to a modern, secular society.
Whatever you say! :p (I should probably point out that I largely agree with your post.)
Perhaps the scope of things to worry about is different in the first world. We have much more visceral issues to deal with.

Indeed, we have crosses everywhere. While I would not engage a secular crusade to remove them, they do bother me.

For example, I was invited to the opening of the Federal Special Courtrooms here in Ilhéus. The President of the First Federal Tribunal made a speech, where he praised the former president - the man that made the opening possible - saying that his "christian ethics made him the ideal man for the job". He also saluted all military and state authorities, and the Bishop of Ilhéus' Cathedral.

Now, I am an atheist, so the fact that my ethics - which aren't christian - being suggested as "not ideal" is reason enough to consider the speech uncalled for; but what really bothered me is this: the other lawyer that works with me is a Kardecist, master-and-chief of a local cult - and higher authority for them in the region. Now, shouldn't he be praised as a religious authority just as much as the Bishop? Fewer people attend to his sermons, but technically he is in equal standing to him regarding ascendancy in the religious body of his own church.

I wonder what would happen if the teachings and symbols of his own church were to replace the ten commandments and the crosses in the local courtrooms. I doubt it would be pretty.

I have issues with inequality, and everything that either creates or symbolizes inequality annoys me. This is just the case of the commandments - or crosses - being displayed in highlilighted places in public areas.

I guess I have to become a judge myself so i can remove it from at least my courtroom...

Regards :).
My personal thoughts are quite the same, but wouldn't you say public figures have the right to do this, even if it's not in great taste?
Perhaps, but only if one is trying to be picky. The Greco-Roman Gods are no longer revered as "real" deities. While of religious inspiration, such monuments are regarded only as an exquisit form of art, not evoking the encompassing grasp of a particular believe in the given nation.

That said, while such situation does provide an excelent reason to except these, if the price to pay were to keep also them outside of the courtrooms, in order to silence the technically correct but extremely short-sighted argument that "they are also religious symbols" - than I think it would be a worth one.

Regards :).
For one thing, you obviously haven't met Xen. ;)

More seriously, would you say that, then, the way that the Supreme Court of the U.S. displays the 10 Commandments (alongside other important pieces of legal history, in a scholarly context) is acceptable?

WillJ
Jul 20, 2005, 01:19 PM
Oh, and:
III. Do good things.
Well, gee, I wonder why he even bothered writing any other commandments. ;)

Pontiuth Pilate
Jul 20, 2005, 02:36 PM
Whatever you say! (I should probably point out that I largely agree with your post.)

Doesn't say WORSHIP the gods, it says respect them! A big part of learning to become secular is learning to respect the gods of other people, the ones you don't believe in. In Solon's time, with Athens beginning to be the cosmopolitan capital of that part of the world, the New York of the Mediterranean, that may have been a problem and you could argue that was what he was talking about. Or not ;)


Well, gee, I wonder why he even bothered writing any other commandments.


Moses doesn't even say you should do good things! As long as you refrain from screwing your neighbor's wife, you're fine with Jehova! Isn't that a bit of a low bar? ;)

The other commandments are mostly there to guide you in doing the right thing - trust people of proven character, trust your reasoning abilities, trust those who tell painful truths.

gunkulator
Jul 20, 2005, 04:29 PM
Moses doesn't even say you should do good things! As long as you refrain from screwing your neighbor's wife, you're fine with Jehova! Isn't that a bit of a low bar? ;)


Actually, ol' JHWH set the bar pretty high. As any good Jew knows, there's no such thing as "The 10 Commandments." There are, IIRC, 613 of them covering all sorts of things from not eating shellfish to forbidding cross dressing.

Mallady
Jul 20, 2005, 04:55 PM
Really, the only thing that I can think of that the prohibition of "excessive entanglement" would (justly) involve is the government funding a religion* or otherwise aiding its cause. That's not technically establishing a state religion, but it might as well be. The 10 Commandments in the lobby of a courthouse is not going too far because in no way does it aid the cause of Judaism or Christianity. All it does is show that the members of the court personally have some sort of respect for Judeo-Christianity (maybe not even that).

As a non-Christian, I would view a monument to the Ten Commandments in the courtroom in the same light that I would view a judge who sits at the bench attired in a chasuble and mitre. Even if there is no overt influence on the adjudication, the feeling and appearance is one of preference of Christianity. Certainly a judge dressed in clerical clothing would be over the line, because it's the glorification of Judeo-Christian symbolism in a secular institution. From my view, both would be excessive entanglement.

Japanrocks12
Jul 20, 2005, 05:35 PM
I agree with the majority of people on this thread. The Ten Commandments are more of guidelines than a form of administrative code, let alone a form of theocratic constitution.

FredLC
Jul 20, 2005, 05:50 PM
My personal thoughts are quite the same, but wouldn't you say public figures have the right to do this, even if it's not in great taste?

Not really, no.

In their personal lifes, they can advocate jihads and the cooking of the babies of infidels, for all I care. But, when they act invested by the public power - such as when making opening speech to judicial houses - they should abstain from such remarks.

For one thing, you obviously haven't met Xen. ;)

Oh, I do know our politheist friend. Didn't know that his many Gods were necessarily the Greco-Roman ones, though. ;)

Anyway, as it is with most behaviours, intention goes a long way. It's a lot harder to suggest that a Greek sculpture of Athena is placed in a courthouse by neo-pagans with the purpose of worship, than reaching the conclusion that a plain copy of the 10 commandments, or of a simplistic wooden cross, aren't there for such purpoise.

More seriously, would you say that, then, the way that the Supreme Court of the U.S. displays the 10 Commandments (alongside other important pieces of legal history, in a scholarly context) is acceptable?

In a clear historical-artistic purpose, I would not be bothered at all. I would have no problem with a courtroom that has several copy of many of the most famous codes of law - including ten commandments - displayed with the same reverence (and if that is the case in the US supreme court, I think a plea to remove the ten commandments only is uncalled for); I also would not mind a courtroom with Michelangelo's "Birth of Adam" side by side with a reproduction of the Discobolos.

Than again, that is hardly the context, right?

Regards :).

WillJ
Jul 20, 2005, 09:35 PM
Not really, no.

In their personal lifes, they can advocate jihads and the cooking of the babies of infidels, for all I care. But, when they act invested by the public power - such as when making opening speech to judicial houses - they should abstain from such remarks.
Why is that, really? 10 million (just a random number) Americans can feel free to each advocate as private individuals the cooking of the babies of infidels, but they can't organize to form a leader who says the same thing?

(Actually, I think that's a bad example, as I do have a problem with both of those---you shouldn't be allowed to directly encourage crimes.)
Oh, I do know our politheist friend. Didn't know that his many Gods were necessarily the Greco-Roman ones, though. ;)
I'm pretty sure they are, actually. Not that the Xen thing really matters. :)
Than again, that is hardly the context, right?
If it's not, they're pretty good actors!

But keep in mind a ("the," I think) major controversy was over whether or not the 10 Commandments should be removed from the Alabamian Supreme Court, which was by itself, and thus it could be more easily argued that it was there for religious purposes. So you can rest assured that our discussion hasn't been pointless. ;)

FredLC
Jul 21, 2005, 03:00 AM
Why is that, really? 10 million (just a random number) Americans can feel free to each advocate as private individuals the cooking of the babies of infidels, but they can't organize to form a leader who says the same thing?

The problem here is quite technical. Both Brazil and the US – to exemplify with our nations – are constitutionally set as secular. So, it’s not really the nastiness of the act of baby cooking per se that is impeditive (though this in particular would actually be so due to criminal reasons). The impeditive factor lies in its directly-derived religious source.

See, even in secular nations, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the existence and influence of religion. What is wrong is to directly set public policies from religious commands, instead of simply receiving the religious influence as one social factor, in pair with many others, to orient in the law-making and goal-seeking of the offices.

Hence, the problem with such interesting new leadership would be that he would be demolishing the wall of breach that is a fundamental aspect of the nation’s foundation. Not, however, if the nation truly, really, actually believes that baby-cooking of religious inspiration is a desirable and necessary step to take, all they need to do is elect a new original constitutional assembly* and enact a new constitution that does not elect secularism as a fundamental value.

*(In terms of constitutional law, the national congress is the organ that has the power to enact or lift constitutions; ordinary congress houses are denominated derived constitutional assemblies, and have the power to legislate within the boundaries of the current constitution; Now, an original constitutional assembly is a congress that is set with the purpose of creating a new constitution, a goal that must set prior to the elections so that the people who vote is aware of the depth of the power been conceded to these politicians. As they are to lay out the new base norm of a nation – the constitution – they are bound by nothing except the fundamental norm, there is, the political will and the sentiment of such nation’s citizens.)

(Actually, I think that's a bad example, as I do have a problem with both of those---you shouldn't be allowed to directly encourage crimes.)

Of course my example was a bit extreme, as I regarded it only from the perspective of forbidding a speech due to it’s violation of secularism. I have disregarded impediments of other sorts – such as criminal misbehavior, that however would apply in a real-life analisys.

I'm pretty sure they are, actually. Not that the Xen thing really matters. :)

:p

If it's not, they're pretty good actors!

But keep in mind a ("the," I think) major controversy was over whether or not the 10 Commandments should be removed from the Alabamian Supreme Court, which was by itself, and thus it could be more easily argued that it was there for religious purposes. So you can rest assured that our discussion hasn't been pointless. ;)

Are you sure? After all, it’s not like this discussion will really change anything. ;)

Regards :).

Stapel
Jul 21, 2005, 03:44 AM
I intended to show if one looks at the effects of the Ten Commandments on our society from even a purely secular point of view, that person would see that no other idea had more impact on the freedom we now possess regardless as to whether you credit the idea to God, or some group of fiction authors.

I am stunned!
You seriously think the ten commandments stimulated Freedom????

I am one that reads the Bible from a pure secular point of view. I think it is quite obvious no gods had any influence on the authors.
But yes, of course the impact of the Bible and especially the ten commandments is present in our free, western society today.

But if it did one thing, it is keeping Freedom away from us, rather than stimulating it!

The first 4 are authoritan cruelties, going directly against Freedom. Especially the one that tells me not to work on a certain day.
I consider them immoral.

There are three universal laws, which are much older than any Biblical script and which can be found in any culture:
-Don't Steal
-Don't Murder (or kill)
-Don't leave your spouse and kids alone
These three are simply logical. They indeed have a positive effect. They are simpy a necassity for a free society.

And there are three philosophical commandments, good for hours of discussion:
-Don't be jealous
-Don't lie
-Honour your folks.
They don't really bring freedom, do they?


The whole idea of having them in a court room is simply immoral, wrong, false and also.... plain stupid.

Stile
Jul 21, 2005, 04:15 AM
Sure, I think they stimulated freedom. The middle three laws may seem universal to you, but philosophers like Locke, who influenced Thomas Jefferson, based their 'all men are created equal with a right to life, property, and happiness' on them among other things, IMO.

Who doesn't need a day off?

(I won't be around to respond for a week.)

nonconformist
Jul 21, 2005, 04:53 AM
One thing I never got is this:
The commandments are empirative, i.e you have to follow them.
One of them is to honour your parents.
What if your parents are nasty, child beating abusers?

Stapel
Jul 21, 2005, 05:20 AM
Sure, I think they stimulated freedom. The middle three laws may seem universal to you, but philosophers like Locke, who influenced Thomas Jefferson, based their 'all men are created equal with a right to life, property, and happiness' on them among other things, IMO.
Any thinking person knows Christianity, including the ten commandments, has been used to oppress people throughout history.
Claiming it brought Freedom is probably the biggest nonsense I've ever seen on this forum.

Think again before you refer to slave-owner Thomas Jefferson and his influence from a bible-influenced Locke, and stuff on all men are equal.......
What a load of crap!

Who doesn't need a day off?
I dislike the idea of being forced to pick that day by a 3000 year old document.....
That's not Freedom.

Pontiuth Pilate
Jul 21, 2005, 05:48 AM
The middle three laws may seem universal to you, but philosophers like Locke, who influenced Thomas Jefferson, based their 'all men are created equal with a right to life, property, and happiness' on them among other things, IMO.

Unadulterated bullcrap.

Jefferson and Madison, the two great architects of the Constitution, read GREEK AND ROMAN histories, including the works of Cato and Pliny, to prepare for the Constitutional Convention. Jefferson was so enamored with GREEK architecture that he introduced the Neoclassical style of architecture to the Americas with Monticello and the University of Virginia, both later copied by a certain White House. Madison never received a religious education. Reading the New Testament was, in fact, part of his collegiate education in the GREEK language. Jefferson was a deist, a religion originated by the GREEK philosopher Heraclitus, which meant he was far from a religious fanatic like the Puritans and revivalists he associated with. The Constitutional concept of separation of powers is drawn from the philosophies of the French philosopher Montesquieu, who abstracted it from Aristotle the GREEK.

As for the Declaration of Independence, its roots are clearly ENGLISH. It takes the form of a petition, a strikingly ENGLISH concept, and its preamble echoes the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights, both of which themselves have roots in the growing tradition of ENGLISH common law. Which, if you want to get right down to it, comes from the PAGAN traditions of those infidels, the Celts and Danes. Not to mention the distinctly UnChristian law of the Normans.

Ah yes, the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights, documents whose importance in our national history has been spurned so that fundies can weary us with talk of that con man Moses? :roll:

Moreover, your accusation that Jefferson's ideas came from Locke is a common misconception. Jefferson disagreed strongly with Locke, as strongly as he did with his fellow pessimistic monarchist Alexander Hamilton. Locke wrote that human rights "flowed from" a Divine Creator; Jefferson in the Declaration writes explicitly that they are "inherent, intrinsic... and inalienable."

This makes a LOT of sense in the context of a rebellion against a King who also happened to be the official head of the State Church. Jefferson was NO friend of established religion.

Textual research on the Declaration shows that some of its phrasing comes from the work of founding father THOMAS PAINE, who was so much of a modern secularist that his contemporaries accused him of being a heretic.

The founders were not religous fanatics. In public, they talked the talk. But when they were locked in that hall for a week to write the Constitution, their ideas came straight from the GREEK AND ROMAN sources all their colleges had focused on. Back then, Classics Was King.

There are, IIRC, 613 of them (Jewish commandments) covering all sorts of things from not eating shellfish to forbidding cross dressing.

And almost all of them are outdated, barbaric tripe. According to Leviticus, you can't be a "priest of the Lord" if you need to wear glasses. You ARE still allowed to sell your daughter into slavery.

The Ten Commandments are sort of the distilled, sanitized wisdom of my ancient ancestors. And how crappy are they? Half of them are possibly plagiarized, whereas the rest have become more and more irrelevant with age. Hence my disdain for the Chassidim who still believe they must cut their beards square just because Levit. says so, and that everything in the Torah should be submitted to a literal interpretation. ;)

Pontiuth Pilate
Jul 21, 2005, 06:00 AM
Think again before you refer to slave-owner Thomas Jefferson

All the Founding Fathers owned slaves. Jefferson was the only one to free his, as far as I know.

Jefferson was probably the most modern of the Founding Fathers, alongside Franklin and Paine (who never gets any publicity).

On the other hand our Ten-Commandments fan probably idolizes Hamilton, who definitely deserves scorn, and John Adams, who is borderline.

WillJ
Jul 22, 2005, 02:08 PM
Both Brazil and the US – to exemplify with our nations – are constitutionally set as secular.
I disagree with this, and since the rest of your post is logically dependent on it, I'll just ignore the rest for now.

I don't know about Brazil, but how is the US constitutionally set as secular? And even if it is, why should it be, beyond the form of secularism required by the First Ammendment?
Are you sure? After all, it’s not like this discussion will really change anything. ;)
True, but I'd still say it's somehow a bit less pointless than, say, a discussion about which Star Wars character is the coolest. ;)

gunkulator
Jul 22, 2005, 02:55 PM
All the Founding Fathers owned slaves. Jefferson was the only one to free his, as far as I know.

Jefferson was probably the most modern of the Founding Fathers, alongside Franklin and Paine (who never gets any publicity).

On the other hand our Ten-Commandments fan probably idolizes Hamilton, who definitely deserves scorn, and John Adams, who is borderline.

John Adams did not own slaves. He believed slavery to be immoral and fought hard to outlaw the practice in the Consitution. His son went on to become the lawyer for the Amistad slaves. Jefferson did not free his slaves except for the Hemings family and Adams was openly critical of his abusing his position with Sally Hemings.

Pontiuth Pilate
Jul 22, 2005, 05:26 PM
Fair enough; I was thinking of Adams's behavior regarding the Convention* & the new Constitution. I know almost nothing of his presidency or private life.

* yes I know he did not attend.

FredLC
Jul 22, 2005, 06:38 PM
I disagree with this, and since the rest of your post is logically dependent on it, I'll just ignore the rest for now.

I don't know about Brazil, but how is the US constitutionally set as secular? And even if it is, why should it be, beyond the form of secularism required by the First Ammendment?

All right, than.

To take Brazil out of the way, the Brazilian constitution says this:

"Article 19. It's forbidden to the Union, to the States, to the Federal District and to the Cities:

I - To establish religious cults or churches, subside them, clutter their functioning or to keep with them or with their representatives relations of dependence or alliance, except, in the form prescribed by law, for assistance in duties of public interest”.

so, the powers in Brazil are fobidden to ally with cults or churches, as much as they are forbbiden to persecute them.

As for the U.S., it is simply what follows. The U.S. embracing a particular form of religion would break the spirit of the article (first ammendment), that actually aimed at preventing a religious mindset to take over governing and law making. But no need to trust my interpretation... this comes straight from the US Supreme Court, in Everson X Board of Education:

"Neither the state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or nonattendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'"*
bolding and underlining was from me

Now, things in public buildings are paid with taxes, correct? And if their purpose is worshipping, than it's the adopting of a religious practise as well, right?

True, but I'd still say it's somehow a bit less pointless than, say, a discussion about which Star Wars character is the coolest. ;)

Indeed. ;)

Regards :).

puglover
Jul 23, 2005, 11:45 AM
I really don't see anything wrong with the Ten Commandments being hung in a courthouse, but I don't see anything wrong with it being taken down either. If other religions get offended then I'm okay with them being taken off the walls. But what makes me unhappy is that while the Ten Commandments must be taken away, evolutionary textbooks can stay in public schools. To me it doesn't make sense.

Narz
Jul 23, 2005, 11:56 AM
"In one part of the Old Testament that was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, there's a different version of Moses receiving the ten commandments from God than the one we're accustomed to. In this translation, God says to Moses on Mount Sinai, if you take me into your heart, this is what will happen: you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery, you shall honor your mother and father, and so on. They weren't commandments at all, but descriptions of how a person would be if he truly took God into his heart."

http://www.option.org/a_smind.html

Akka
Jul 23, 2005, 04:14 PM
I really don't see anything wrong with the Ten Commandments being hung in a courthouse, but I don't see anything wrong with it being taken down either. If other religions get offended then I'm okay with them being taken off the walls. But what makes me unhappy is that while the Ten Commandments must be taken away, evolutionary textbooks can stay in public schools. To me it doesn't make sense.
One is a religious belief, the other is science.
Religion has no place in courthouse. Science has its place in school. Easy.

WillJ
Jul 24, 2005, 09:45 PM
@FredLC: I don't know, I still think it's a bit iffy that a monument would be prohibited by that. I'm not sure a monument is a "religious activity," or if you are meant to "worship" the monument. (Certainly neither of those are the case in the literal sense; the question is how you should interpret this. I guess the SCOTUS didn't do a very good job of explaining things! :p) Now, the "wall of separation between church and state" would certainly prohibit this monument, although it'd also prohibit quite a few other things that maybe shouldn't be prohibited.

And there's still the question of whether a public monument to the Commandments should be prohibited---regardless of what the Constitution says, Jefferson said, or the Supreme Court says. And especially what Brazil says. :p

blackheart
Jul 24, 2005, 09:52 PM
One is a religious belief, the other is science.
Religion has no place in courthouse. Science has its place in school. Easy.

I think it depends on the case. Like the one where the Supreme Court ruled in favor, it was hang in context as an example of law next to the Code of Hammurabi and some others.

FredLC
Jul 25, 2005, 05:38 AM
@FredLC: I don't know, I still think it's a bit iffy that a monument would be prohibited by that. I'm not sure a monument is a "religious activity," or if you are meant to "worship" the monument. (Certainly neither of those are the case in the literal sense; the question is how you should interpret this. I guess the SCOTUS didn't do a very good job of explaining things! :p) Now, the "wall of separation between church and state" would certainly prohibit this monument, although it'd also prohibit quite a few other things that maybe shouldn't be prohibited.

Everything always goes down to interpretation. But it's clear, at least to me - and to the SC apparently - that not perceiving the placing of religious symbols in public buildings, with evident worship purposes, is indeed a breech of the clause.

There were never fear that people would go to public buildings to kneel before monuments and to conduct ceremonies. The problem the clause addresses is the clear statement that the powers should not, and would not, involve with a particular brand of religions, and hence, not accept their confessional influence in their state-related actions.

How much one can trust that will be the case when even the leading members of the three powers can't even do something as simple and harmless as not making publically clear which religion they like best?

And there's still the question of whether a public monument to the Commandments should be prohibited---regardless of what the Constitution says, Jefferson said, or the Supreme Court says. And especially what Brazil says. :p

Nobody has to agree with advice, regardless of how smart that is - such case being that of Jefferson, the Supreme Court, and, specially, of Brazil ;) - nevertheless, these religious mandates have a way of getting out of hand. But I have explained, already, the process to remove the command that prevents it from involving with politics. If you guys think it is a smart move, just go for it.

Regards :).

Akka
Jul 25, 2005, 06:13 AM
I think it depends on the case. Like the one where the Supreme Court ruled in favor, it was hang in context as an example of law next to the Code of Hammurabi and some others.
Well, in such a case, it's not religion, it's history (both History in general and history of the justice system), so it's perfectly at its place.

cgannon64
Jul 25, 2005, 08:38 AM
"In one part of the Old Testament that was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, there's a different version of Moses receiving the ten commandments from God than the one we're accustomed to. In this translation, God says to Moses on Mount Sinai, if you take me into your heart, this is what will happen: you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery, you shall honor your mother and father, and so on. They weren't commandments at all, but descriptions of how a person would be if he truly took God into his heart."


Presuming that God commands all people to love him, he is then commanding all people to follow those laws.