It’s been a whole summer since the decision in Giles Co. VA to remove the ten commandments from a public display and replace them with an alternative. This week many students will be going back to school, and some might even notice this new display when they pass by it. Maybe.
I didn’t go up on a mountain, didn’t have a personal conversation with God, and my face is not glowing. But I have read his book, his good book, and I can’t give you any new commandments. Not that I need to.
I remember that God told me that he brought the Jews out of the bondage of Egypt, that he brought me out of the bondage of sin (not that I sin no more, but that Christ’s blood removes the bondage and spurs me to sin less). I remember that, although unnecessary blood of men was shed in a war of rebellion against governing authorities to achieve America’s independence, this independence did bring us out of the bondage of the union of church and state under old Britain.
Christian or non-Christian, for your consideration, here’s what I suggest:
1. You should not have any gods before God. But it’s not up to the government do tell you not to do that, especially if that government said itself that it can’t make a law making you do it (or, of course, forbidding you from doing it).
2. You should not obsess over images of stone. Or cloth. Like a flag. Don’t make an idol out of a flag. Any flag.
3. You should not invest your faith in the ten commandments, which have been rendered annulled by the blood of Christ. That would be vanity. The principles behind them are carried forward into the new law, but the ten commandments do not save anyone, especially not a public school.
4. You should remember that schools aren’t in session on Saturday or Sunday because as part of our heritage we respect the concept of a weekend, a rest. So let’s settle down.
5. You should honor your forefathers, first the spiritual ones (if you are spiritual), then the civic ones (to the extent that they don’t dishonor your spiritual fathers—otherwise, disregard them) :
A) Your spiritual forefathers were the likes of Moses and Elijah (who by the way gave testimony of the Messiah), but one who is greater than Moses and Elijah is John the Immerser, and he came only to pave the way for Christ, the King, who is the son of our father, and who is the foundation of our Way. Since he is the New Law, he gave us the only commandments we need, to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” All else flows from that. We turn to the son of man, not the debt of death in stone, for our commandments.
Also, the teachings and actions of Jesus, as well as the writings of his apostles, indicate that it would be detrimental to Christ’s church to enter into an unholy marriage with any earthly state (John 18:36, Matthew 20:25, Phil. 3:20, Acts 5:29). When the church becomes the tool of an empire, it detaches itself from God.
B)Your civic forefathers, the architects of the Constitution, are worth studying.
a)About eight of the signers we know to have been members of the Masonic Lodge, including George Washington, Ben Franklin and Tom Paine, and as many as seven others may also have been, though we can’t say for sure.
b) Many were Christians:
About 50 of them identified themselves with a Christian denomination of some sort:
*George Mason—wanted the Const. to say “no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.” The final was not worded this way, however.
*Patrick Henry, Gouverneur Morris, John Adams, Ben Rush and John Jay spoke that the Bible was the best book in the world.
c) Some of the signers were mere deists:
*Thomas Paine—”My own mind is my own church”, was a borderline pagan)
*Thomas Jefferson—Wrote in the Const. that man’s rights came not God’s “natural law” (not from his Word), and also tore out sections from the Bible he didn’t like.
*John Adams, James Madison, Ben Franklin, Ethan Allen were some others who were deists in some way. They called this deity “God” and believed it acted in the universe somehow in their favor (especially the Freemasons).
d) Some of them were slave owners, some were not. They debated the issue, but never really settled it. Madison, Washington, and Jefferson were among the slave owners. Jefferson, along with Hamilton, was in the PA Anti-Slavery Society. He later freed his slaves.
e) None of them, to our knowledge, were atheists.
6. You should not kill. Jesus said that if you hate someone, you have killed them in your heart. So if you happen to hate someone because of a decision they made, you have already killed them, and have sinned against God. Also, your speech and mannerisms reflect your heart.
7. You should not cheat. Don’t abuse either the law of God or the law of your earthly rulers just so you can “get the right thing done.” Don’t walk all over people in order to get the right thing done” either. If you manipulate and threaten in such a way, you are in collusion with the devil, and are thus cheating on God.
8. You should not steal any poster of a document from a public display board, no matter how much you disagree with it being there. You should also not vandalize it (Nothing like this happened in Giles, I just want to point out that it would be wrong to do something like that).
9. You should not bear false witness of what the Bible says or what any document says, like the U.S. Constitution.
A) Firstly, the Bible says that the Old Law was good for its time and purpose, but that we are no longer under it. “If the old law had not been faultless, there would be no reason for a new one.” The meaning is not that that first covenant made under Moses had any real faults – or inculcated what was wrong, but that it did not contain the ample provision for the pardon of sin and the salvation of the soul which was desirable. It was merely “preparatory” to the gospel. It had no provision for salvation. It was complemented by a system of sacrifices that pointed toward a final sacrifice, the Messiah. Because the new covenant is new, the old one is obsolete and its presence as law supreme disappeared. It was put in place to lead us to the Christ. The Christ has come, his kingdom is here. The old law was a bus driver, a tutor, and not the Master Teacher.
B) Secondly, the Constitution of the United States is founded on a number of philosophies and principles, drawing from a number of backgrounds:
a) The Magna Carta—a 1215 document that challenged the arbitrariness of the English king and demanded advanced liberties to the citizenry.
b) The writings of Coke and Blackstone on English law.
c) The writings of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes on social contract theory (from which we gain the triad of “life, liberty, and property”)
d) Montesquieu’s writings on checks and balances of state powers.
e) Several other works on republics from Western/European philosophy.
f) The Iriqois Nation’s laws of peace
g) The broad range of social, cultural, and moral texts that were embedded in the founding architects’ heritage that consciously or subconsciously influenced their thoughts, some of which were religious texts, including the Bible, as well as Masonic literature. (The Christian religion, for example, influenced them enough to mention in article 1 that government transactions would not occur on Sunday.)
10. You should not covet power, such as the power to make a decision as to what will or will not be posted in a public place and for what reason. Do not covet the power to make such a decision, and do not think that because you do not like something that is done, that you have the right to place yourself in the position of the one who does that thing. This includes coveting the power of God, which means that you have no place to assume what does and does not make God angry, nor do you have no place to assume what God will or won’t do as a result of someone’s public decision.
Now, if you put these 10 suggestions together, the solution is clear:
If you want to put the ten commandments up in a public school, I will assume you are believe that America has or should made a covenant with God based on those commandments. This tells me that you want us to be under them, and not under the new covenant.
Don’t fret because the commandments are being taken down. If you want to put up a display of the roots of democracy, well, it will mostly be a bunch of Greek writings and American Indian artifacts. The Ten Commandments don’t really make me think of democracy, because they were meant for a one-time theocracy.
If you want to put up a display of the roots of the U.S. Constitution, then you should be fair. Include the Magna Carta, Leviathan, Two Treatises of Govt, The Spirit of the Laws, The Republic, The Iriqois League Laws of Peace, the Sermon on the Mount, The Masonic Constitution, and maybe some other documents. Have all of these in an entire display.
It looks like this is already happening. Sort of. At least people across the board seem happy about it and, more importantly it reflects historical truth.
You bring up a lot of good information. However, I think a display of the Ten Commandments is at least as valid as anything you have said, because even non-believers find value in those laws. Many non-Christian historians recognize that the values expressed in those laws go way beyond a single religious tradition. I agree that if we want the antecedents of the Constitution, we need many of the documents you name, but we still need the Ten Commandments. They absolutely figure in the development of law in the USA, and no level of atheistic rejection can change that.
daddycabal7777 — For the most part, I replied to your comment here.
I agree with qathy. Unfortunately, we have allowed the worse kind of politics to get in the way of education. So most people don’t appreciate what Christian beliefs have contributed to our culture. In fact, many have the stupid idea the Christians start wars.
What is at issue here is not posting of The Ten Commandments. The issue is whether government has the right to impose a secular education upon children. I submit government has no such right. With respect to the Federal Government, the First Amendment prohibits any such authority. With respect to state governments, I suppose the legality depends upon the state. However, the moral issue is clear. When government uses its power to tax and spend other people’s money to coerce parents to send their children to schools they would otherwise not choose, that is dead wrong.
Perhaps government should ensure that all children receive a decent education, but the does not mean we should put politicians nobody trusts in charge of what our children learn. That responsibility rightfully belongs to parents.
Here’s the thing. I want my children to have an education that at the very least does not assault the faith I teach them at home. Government, however, increasingly says that the secular world view is what the schools will teach. Further, government now says that schools will assault any world view that disagrees with the secular interpretation of things. If my children were still in elementary school, they would be taught that homosexual behavior is a normal option, just one of many, and they would be taught that creation is a myth that no really smart person believes any more. Even as I express my outrage at this state of affairs, I ask myself what sort of a culture we would have if we did not have public schools. This problem is extremely prickly.
The Christian culture that predates the secular public school system produced our republic, ended slavery, insisted upon the equality of women, …..
If we were not so well indoctrinated by our secularized public school system, I suspect more of us would worry about what kind culture our secularized public school system is producing. Instead, we worry about things such oddities as Christian and Tea Party bigotry and radicalism, which are next to impossible to find.