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Saturday, March 12, 2005


Letter to Editor, Contra Costa Times
By Burt Bogardus

The following letter was printed with a few modifications in the Contra Costa Times "Saturday Forum" of Saturday, March 12, 2005. The question posed was "Does displaying the Ten Commandments in a public building violate the principle of separation of church and state?"

Religious Right leaders have bamboozled their very gullible followers into believing that the Ten Commandments form the foundation of America's legal system.

This preposterous claim would be instantly dismissed by anyone who actually opened his Bible and read Exodus, Chapter 20.

Only three are in any way relevant to modern American law: The sixth (don't kill), the eighth (don't steal) and the ninth (don't lie). Furthermore, the ancient Hebrews were hardly the first society in history to recognize the wisdom of proscribing murder, theft and perjury.

Seven of the ten are merely moral or religious guidelines: Don't follow other gods, don't make idols, don't insult God, respect the Sabbath, honor your parents, don't commit adultery, don't envy your neighbor. Seventy percent of the Decalogue is irrelevant to our current legal system!

Why are there no commandments condemning wars of aggression? Genocide? Slavery? Torture? False imprisonment? Abuse of women? Child abuse? Aren't these more important than coveting thy neighbor's ox or ass?

The Decalogue, crosses, menorahs and other religious symbols have no place on tax-supported public property, and should be immediately removed.

Burt Bogardus

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As for your assertion on religious symbols on public property please actually read the first ammendment and also see third comment on "Letter to Editor".
As for the ten commandments versus your list of "more important" laws dealing with Genocide, Torture, Abuse, etc. - have you stopped to consider that it is possible to avoid the need for these "more important" laws if the 10 commandments were actually followed? I am sure you are familiar with "the spirit of the law" - the commandments you have labeled as irrelevant actually have everything to do with the spirit of many of our laws and actually speak to the base or source of the issues that our laws are trying to quash. My assertion is that a man (or woman) who follows the 10 commandments will be headed off the path that would lead to worse or further evils.
Furthermore, true Christianity (represented by some of the public dsplays you have referenced) is not, at it's core, about following rules - it is about an actual relationship with the creator of the universe. God has no need to pin you down with rules - God is waiting to pour out His love into your life - to save you from yourself and what your "rule breaking" nature would/will lead you to.