The Ten Commandments, the Bible, and our Constitution

Many people claim that our laws are based on the Ten Commandments.  However, they don't state which set of Ten Commandments they are referring to.  To make things simple, we will use the 'typical' list pushed by most Christians (from Exodus 20: 2-17, and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, not Exodus 34:14-26).  A quick examination of each commandment, according to the King James version of the Bible, will reveal that our laws are NOT based on the Ten Commandments.

1. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
This is contrary to the First Amendment, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."  It utterly defies the American concept of religious liberty.

2. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..."
This is also contrary to the First Amendment, as it violates the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of speech.  Furthermore, it is hypocritical of people to insist on putting into government buildings a graven image of a document that prohibits the making of graven images.

3. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."  Again, this contradicts the First Amendment right to freedoms of religion and speech.

4. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
This commandment has indeed influenced our society, but working on Saturdays or Sundays is hardly illegal.

5. "Honor thy father and thy mother."
There is no law requiring children to honor their parents, and in fact, the only laws in this regard are those to protect children from parents who are not worthy of being honored.

6. "Thou shall not kill."
This commandment is certainly a good idea, but all civilized societies have had laws against murder since the Code of Hammurabi, which predates the Bible by at least 1,000 years.  In other words, it is hardly an original law.

7. "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
While committing adultery is usually a bad idea, there are no federal laws against it.

8. "Thou shalt not steal."
Like #6, this is a good idea, but not indigenous to Christianity.

9. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
Also known as "perjury", this commandment, like #6 and #8, is not unique.

10. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
It is not only perfectly legal to covet your neighbor's possessions, our capitalistic economy would be in serious trouble without it.  Note also that the wife is listed with the rest of the man's property, which contradicts our legal concept of gender equality.

We can easily see that only three of the Ten Commandments have corresponding laws, and not a single one of those is exclusive to Christianity.  They are part of a purely religious document, which has no place in government buildings funded by taxpayers of all religions and none.

Many people also maintain that the founding fathers based the Constitution on the Christian Bible.  This is completely false.  Nowhere in the Constitution are the words "God," "Jesus," or "Christianity."  This was not an accidental omission.  The Constitution was deliberately a secular document, and the only references to religion are exclusionary.

The founding fathers made it clear through the blatant absence of religious language in the Constitution that they were creating a nation in which religion and government would remain separate entities.  There are also numerous quotes from Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and others that attest to this fact.  Those who are purposely attempting to subvert the founding fathers' intentions by turning the United States into a theocracy should be considered treasonous, as they are waging war against our constitutional American birthright of total religious freedom.

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