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The Ten Commandments are now being posted in many public schools in the U.S.
"Thou Shalt Have No Gods Before Me." This refers to Yahweh, the volcano god of the ancient Hebrews. My parents taught me that the tales of Yahweh were fiction. When I read them, I found Yahweh to be quite brutal, unworthy of my admiration. Yahweh is a false god. I resent being told that falsehood is truth, that evil is good.
"Thou Shalt Not Make Graven Images." The Bible ban includes "any thing that is in heaven above." The science teacher had us build a model of the solar system. Roman Catholics omit this Commandment.
"Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord Thy God In Vain." It says I will not be held guiltless -- even though it is not my god, even though I have no clue what it means to take its name in vain. The anthropology teacher said that primitive peoples believed a name had magical powers.
"Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep It Holy." Is this the Jewish Saturday? the Islamic Friday? the Egyptian Thursday? the Syrian Wednesday? the Persian Tuesday? the Greek Monday? No. It is the Christian Sunday, now that our schools establish the Christian religion by posting its laws.
"Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother." My parents are upright and very honorable; to this, all will agree. Bill's father molested him and tried to molest me. I wanted to tell someone. "No," said Bill. "He is my father!"
"Thou Shalt Not Kill." But Yahweh also said to kill all Amorites -- men, women, and children (Dt. 3:1-8). Elsewhere, he ordered them to keep the virgins for themselves (as sex slaves -- Num. 31) and to sacrifice 32 virgins as "the Lord's tribute" (Num. 31:40).
Many say this means "Thou Shalt Not Murder." Should the public schools decide this? And is dashing children against the stones (Is. 13:16; Ps. 137:9) anything, if it's not murder? Yet all this was commanded by Yahweh -- the god our public schools want me to honor. Meanwhile, all nations have laws prohibiting murder.
"Thou Shalt Not Steal." A dog will snarl when another tries to take his bone from him. He needs no god to tell him stealing is wrong. Are we humans so vastly inferior that we need supernatural instruction? Joseph Lewis said this law originally meant don't move landmarks, statues thought to be alive. This is the only law against stealing in the entire Bible. Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow says a good case can be made that it refers to kidnapping. Which is it?
"Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery." Er, children are supposed to know this?
"Thou Shalt Not Bear False Testimony Against Thy Neighbor." Against thy neighbor!? Why only "against thy neighbor"? If it's wrong for one, it's wrong for all, isn't it? Or is it? As I studied the Bible more closely, I discovered that one's "neighbor" is one's fellow religionist. We of other faiths (or no faith) are fair game for false accusation.
"Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods." This includes such property as a man's house and his wife. Yes, his wife is his property, as are his oxen, so don't covet her. Joseph Lewis shows that "coveting," in the biblical sense, means the "evil eye" -- casting a spell to get something for nothing.
No. This must be stopped at all costs.
Copyright ©2000 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon