Editing the 10 Commandments

The Louisianna legislature has been trying to edit the 10 Commandments so they cover all three religions that subscribe to that part of the Bible. They failed.

“Plan sidesteps biblical dispute” by Marsha Shuler reports:
The Legislature bowed out of the debate over what version of the Ten Commandments should be used in displays at government buildings.

Instead, the proposed law sent to Gov. Kathleen Blanco on Monday removed the specific commandants from the bill and referred instead to the wording “as extracted from the Bible.”

The House and Senate gave Senate Bill 476 final legislative approval Friday.

The American Civil Liberties Union objected because the measure by Sen. James David Cain, R-Dry Creek, used a Protestant version. Catholics and Jews use different renderings of the Ten Commandments.

The problem underscores the reason why the SB476 shouldn’t be approved, ACLU state executive director Joe Cook said Monday. It violates constitutional provisions aimed at keeping religion out of government.

There were two other things in this report that The Sword of Freedom found especially annoying. One was this:

“It was clearly the intent of the Legislature to introduce religion into public places,” said Cook. And that would put it at odds with U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

by “public places” he means places owned by the public, i.e. government buildings. But by using the word “public” he has set himself up to be dishonestly quoted by the Christianists who love the equivocation fallacy. That is, they will say he doesn’t want them to practice their religion in public, such as preaching on street corners or saying grace over dinner in a restaurant. The ACLU, of course, frequently defends the right of Christians to practice their religion in those kinds of “public” places.

The other bit that annoyed me was this:
The version that went to the governor’s desk also altered the reference to the Ten Commandments as “a foundation of our legal system.” It became “one of the foundations of our legal system,” in the House version.

Either wording is a lie. Seven of the 10 commandments, if codified into law, would be unconstitutional. The legislators, being mostly lawyers, almost certainly know that and therefore their lie is obvious and cynical.

“Corrupt politician” is almost an oxymoron. It’s a given. The corruption of religion should not be a given, but it’s happening in front of our eyes.

thanks for the heads up goes to Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

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