Wednesday :: Jun 29, 2005

“The Ten Commandments”


by Marie

Don’t Christians have churches and homes to decorate with the Ten Commandments? Is their faith so fragile that they fear they will stray if not reminded of it constantly? Don’t they have pockets in which they can carry around a pocket sized version of the Ten Commandments as Senator Byrd does with the Constitution? Given the high divorce rate in the red states, they would be wise to highlight that one about coveting thy neighbor’s wife and Paris Hilton. (I’ve given up on the “thou shall not kill” one because they have all filled in a gillion exceptions in the margins of their Bibles.)

The SCOTUS decisions this week aren’t all that contradictory. Government buildings may not contain specifically religious Ten Commandment monuments. Old decorations in government buildings that include the Ten Commandments as one of many historical elements in the development of law need not be torn down. The test for monuments out of doors on government land is only slightly more liberal. If one with the Ten Commandments appears with other historical monuments and is not considered to be a religious monument, it too can remain in place.

Tennessee (the state with the highest average consumption of prescription drugs) thought they could pull a fast one. Instead of blatantly plopping a big rock with the Ten Commandments in a government building, they created a display that included other historical documents. But the SCOTUS recognized that those were only filler to sneak in a specifically religious icon.

Texas is more interesting. First the monument is a few decades old. It wasn’t constructed and placed on the grounds of the state capitol by a church or religious organization. Nobody seems to use it as a gathering place for prayer. And it has historical relevance. Not of religion but commerce.

The religious rightwing has the industry that they love to hate to thank for the favorable ruling on the Texas Ten Commandment case. Inspired not by the Bible and Moses but by Cecil D DeMille and Hollywood . Part of the PR campaign for “The Ten Commandments” was getting people to place Ten Commandment tablets around the country. Perhaps most of them were tinsel town papier-mache or plaster casts and have long since disappeared. Only in Texas would they take a commandment from a movie production facility to make a large and permanent movie promo. Perhaps George Lucas could get them to add a “Star Wars” promo to the collection -- and future generations of rightwingers, having long since forgotten the movies, can embrace it as a symbol of Reagan’s dream of taking earthly wars to the heavens.

Marie :: 5:58 PM :: Comments (15) :: TrackBack (1) :: Digg It!