US Law and the 10 Commandments

The following information was offered by my awesome husband Butch to a friend on Facebook (we'll call him Enoch), regarding the 10 commandments. This is what Enoch said:
Why is it when a political candidate is openly religious, people bring up the "separation of church and state?". Read the words. It doesn't say that you can't have a picture of Jesus in a school or the ten commandments in a courthouse. It just says that there will be no government sponsored religion (read Henry VIII establishing the church of england because the Pope wouldn't let him get a divorce). It just means the government can't make you go to a particular church, or any for that matter.

Butch replied:
But putting religious symbols on government property equates to governmental endorsement of that religion.What if the phrase "In God We Trust" on our money, or "Under God" in the Pledge were replaced by "Allah Akbar?" Would you be OK with that? Would you be OK with Naqibs being part of a school's uniforms? Or, if they displayed every religious symbol with equal time & space, would you be OK with an islamic flag & a star of David flying above a cross?

Enoch said:
This country was (partly) founded on the basis of religious freedom. The ability of the individual to worship as they see fit, or not at all. I don't believe that these symbols are an endorsement of religion. You can make the argument that the ten commandments are the basis in one way or another of all of our laws (and the placement of a copy of the ten commandments in a courthouse could be considered an endorsement of judaism, since they are found in the old testament of the bible, which is an interpretation of the jewish torah). True muslim teachings believe that christians and jews are people of the same god, that jesus was just one of the series of prophets like those in the old testament, and that Mohammed was a prophet that followed Jesus. Christians and jews are only infidels because they have not followed the teachings from God handed down through Mohammed. And no, I would not be ok with the replacement of in God we trust or under god (which was added to the original text of the pledge). But a display of multiple religious symbols being given equal time/space I would not have a problem with. The point I was trying to make, however, is that we should be able to look past a political candidates openly displayed choice of religion and look at the greater issues involved. The constitution states that you won't be forced to worship one way or another. We are a country of many faiths, christian, jew, islam, buddhism, etc. And for the argument that it will start I will even state that atheists are people of faith, for they wholeheartedly believe that there is no God. That is an even greater faith than any religion, for even believers can have a lapse of faith while atheists never will.

Egads! Let's see how Butch retorts:
I don't really have a problem with any religious candidate, what I DO have a HUGE problem with is a candidate who even hints that US law should be brought into line with their particular interpretation of biblical law. I feel that once they say that, even if caught accidentally in a private conversation, they should IMMEDIATELY be disqualified from holding any kind of elected office. Again, would you want your Representative or Congressional delegate to be a mullah? I wouldn't. As for the 10 commandments being the basis for the laws in this country, I'm afraid you're mistaken. Regarde: 1)No other gods before me: There is no law anywhere that says you shall have no other gods before the god of the OT. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it's the First Amendment. 2) No graven images: No laws against Idolatry, either. 3) Don't take the lord's name in vain: No law anywhere forbidding using the lord's name in vain. Once again the 1st Amendment. 4) Keep the sabbath holy: No law requiring the honoring of the sabbath either. 5) Honor your father and mother: No law requiring you to honor your parents. 6) Don't kill: Laws against murder predate the OT. It's illegal in non-JudeoChristian countries as well. 7) No adultery: No laws against adultery, otherwise there'd be no porn & 95% of Congress & the Senate would be in prison. 8) Don't steal: Refer to #6 9) Don't bear false witness: The only time it's illegal to lie is when you're giving testimony in a court of law, otherwise refer to #7. 10) Don't covet: Our entire economy is in direct conflict with this one. The entire marketing industry is based on peoples' desire for "better" things. Lastly, saying atheists have faith is wrong. There are too many different types (I'm a skeptic, personally, which means any claim presented to me needs solid evidence as proof) to lump them all together.

I will write about what atheism is and is not next, because this is a common myth.


  1. Butch didn't bring up how Enoch went on giving details about why Muslims shouldn't be too bad for Jews and Christians. Whether or not this is true is completely irrelevant and not even missing the point.

  2. Give Butch a big pat on the back for me...his response, breaking down the 10 Commandments...was full of win!

  3. By the way, he told me over dinner that the whole exchange was off the top of his head. He's so awesome. :P
    I'll give him a pat on the back, I promise. :)

  4. I agree Frans. But, as I mentioned to Joe, Butch told me that he was just sort of winging it while at work. He wanted to address the one point and not get into a detailed argument with Enoch.
    Also, this is only part of the conversation. It sort of wandered off tangent and changed direction so I only took the part that I wanted to focus on, which is the 10 commandments and US law.
    Thanks for bringing it up. The one part that Butch didn't answer to my satisfaction was the claim that atheists have more faith than religious people. Gah, that makes me want to scream. I thought I had already done a post on that, but I haven't on HDC, so I am going to cover it tomorrow or the next day.

  5. Appreciate your website and the effort you put in; I know because I run a similar site, and spend a lot of time on it. The Net, more than anything else (well, maybe religion itself), is changing minds and changing the rules. Keep at it.