There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about a privately funded granite monument of the Ten Commandments being ordered removed from the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol. I guess some people find the 10 rules offensive, but why? My guess is because they are God’s Ten Commandments. Were they some government’s or court’s “laws on how to live,” I bet people would be way more supportive of them.
Think about it. What can anyone possibly have a problem with guidelines declaring you to respect your parents, not kill, not cheat on your spouse, not steal, not be envious, and not gossip? Well, surprise, those pretty much sum up much of those ten rules God handed down to Moses, rules that both Christians and Jews believe.
As a refresher, here are the Ten Commandments:
- I am the Lord your God.
- Thou shall bring no false idols before me.
- Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
- Honor thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shall not kill.
- Thou shall not commit adultery.
- Thou shall not steal.
- Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Pretty basic, right?
Okay, I get the whole “God thing” about the first four to a degree if you are not a believer, but after that, what’s the big deal?
It’s easy to see that the first four deal with our relationship to God and how to worship Him, and the rest are about our relationships with other people. “Well I certainly don’t kill or steal” you might say to yourself, but have you ever left someone feeling lifeless just by what you said? Do you bring life to the people you meet or do you leave them feeling empty and unworthy, thereby killing their spirit?
At the same time, “I’ve never cheated on my wife” may come out of your mouth but keep in mind that cheating can be more than sex. Much of society today is sadly indifferent about sex and we live by a “as long as I’m not hurting anyone it’s okay” mantra, but perhaps this is where the “bear false witness” and “steal” enter the conversation. Do you “steal” time away from your husband or wife pursuing your own personal interests? Do you “steal” someone’s reputation through lies or gossip? You may not covet your neighbor’s wife per se, but are you envious of those infamous Joneses? Makes you think doesn’t it?
It baffles me that people find these rules offensive and inappropriate for public display. Let us not forget that our country was founded on Christian principles by Christian men and women and that Christians are still the majority in our country…at least for now. Still, we are somehow being pushed to the back of the room and all liberties and rights are being afforded to everyone but Christians. And don’t start with the whole “church and state” thing because it doesn’t fly. The separation of church and state was created to keep the state out of the church, not vice versa.
I find it amazing that other countries such as Ghana, whose first line of its national anthem is “God bless our homeland Ghana” and Nigeria, whose anthem includes “O God of creation, direct our noble cause,” have no issue with those lyrics and yet “God Bless America” and “In God We Trust” suddenly bother so many Americans. Go figure. Go pray.
Another thing that baffles me is how and why atheists or agnostics are so troubled by the mere mention of God and by things like those Oklahoma Ten Commandments. Even the devil believed in God. Besides, if you don’t believe in something, how can it offend you? Wouldn’t that be like me being offended by public displays of unicorns? Wait, there I go, bearing false witness against my neighbor.