Ten Commandments in the Public Square

Religious intolerance and religious persecution are generally symptoms of a society in deep turmoil. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom posts “Countries of Particular Concern”. Among the usual suspects are China, Sudan, and North Korea where the restriction of religious freedoms is assuredly only one of a whole host of human rights violations regularly perpetrated.

“Thankfully, America has not fallen to those levels, but the “Rule of Law” itself will deteriorate without the support of religious ideals. Ben Franklin, that likeable skeptic, speculated: "If men are so wicked as we now see them with religion, what would they be if without it?"

The Ten Commandments should be posted–both in schools for students to follow, and in courtrooms for citizens and the judiciary–as a deterrent to unethical behavior. The Commandments can be a reminder that gives people of all ages and backgrounds the strength to act responsibly and morally. We are living in a time when the world seems to be at war with its Creator and the battle cry is, “Don’t interfere with my good time.” Genuine happiness and authentic joy is being abandoned for temporary thrills and life altering spills. The carnival barkers of societal decay are flooding in through modern “entertainment”. Our jails and hospitals are filled with broken promises and shattered dreams.

Many in our society seriously misunderstand what God intended when he gave us His instruction manual. For instance, theft destroys the basis of trust needed in a civil society. Adultery destroys families and casts chaos into future generations. The morality expressed in the Ten Commandments reflects the nature of the universe. These are words of wisdom from the manufacturer. They simply say: for best results, do it this way.

Many critics have argued that the sight of the Ten Commandments may offend people of other religions, but that’s an extremely weak argument. (I’m usually offended whenever I watch TV on the public airwaves!) People who enter the courthouse do not have to acknowledge or respect the Ten Commandments. America’s antagonistic courts are, in effect, endorsing agnosticism, atheism and humanism over a school of thought and a wealth of beliefs and practices that have brought us through the last several thousand years! This is not just a matter of changing horses in mid-stream, it is just jumping off and diving, alone and unguided, into the unforeseeable rapids.

There are about 4,000 monuments to the Ten Commandments in city and county courthouses across the United States. Look at the Speaker’s dais in the House of Representatives and on the wall of the Supreme Court. To be honest and consistent, we will now have to strip every monument from every public building in America. Then justice will not only be blind, but it will be naked as well.

Our plaques of the Ten Commandments are not “graven images” that we wish to see worshipped. They should hold the exact meaning, no more and no less, for which they were intended – as the simple, visual reminders of the principles on which all of Western Civilization is founded


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