Friday, September 28, 2012

Is it time to update the 10 commandments?

Some things have converged for me recently as I listen to the campaign rhetoric and the political pundits, and I need to write them down.

There's a lot about the 1% vs the 99% and then that whole other 47% thing.

I saw two news items this morning: One about obesity in America and one about hunger in America.

And religion-based law keeps popping up. What constitutes a marriage, what kind of sexual behavior will we ban? We distrust Muslim states that want to enforce Sharia law, yet we seem to get into a snit when someone challenges having the ten commandments in our own court houses. I mean, what is there to argue with around the ten commandments?

I'll go with the Catholic version here, since we were always good about keeping things brief (my Protestant friends were always envious that we could get Sunday services done in under an hour).

1. I am the LORD your God:
you shall not have
strange Gods before me.

2. You shall not take
the name of the LORD your God in vain.

3. Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day.

4. Honor your father and your mother.

5. You shall not kill.

6. You shall not commit adultery.

7. You shall not steal.

8. You shall not bear false witness
against your neighbor.

9. You shall not covet
your neighbor's wife.

10. You shall not covet
your neighbor's goods.

I look at numbers 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10 and come up with a startling revelation:

The ten commandments seem to have been written by rich old men (not unlike the dominant demographic of our secular law makers).

  • We see the stipulation that we must honor our fathers and mothers--not a word against abusing children. Given the recent scandals within the church, that is certainly worth a raised eyebrow.
  • You shall not commit adultery. Hey, if you're a young attractive guy, are you really all that worried that someone is going to steal your gal?
  •  And don't take any of my stuff. You gotta have stuff before this commandment means anything.
  • Whoa, not only can't you sleep with my wife, good-looking pool boy, don't even THINK about it!
  • Lastly, don't be eying my stuff either!
So, you're a poor woman coming to court to get legal action against a husband who is abusing you and your children and failing to support you, and this is what you read on the wall. See the problem? There is nothing in the ten commandments that protects you or your kids.

What if the ten commandments had been written by a working mom with a sense of social responsibility?

1. Thou shall protect and provide for the children.

2. Thou shall not get fat when your neighbor is hungry.

3. Thou shall not own two coats when your neighbor is cold.

4. Thou shall not bully.

5. Thou shall not kill.

6. Thou shall not steal.

7. Thou shall not lie or cheat.

8. And it wouldn't kill you to visit me once a week.

Really, have I missed anything?


Sean Bentley said...

Heck, I'll vote for yours. Especially like #4... covers "a multitude of sins"!

Warren Givens said...

God himself could not do a better job (ducking from lightning). It puts you in strong company, my friend.

There is one issue with "You shall not kill". I understand that the correct translation from the Hebrew into English is "You shall not murder". I find it interesting that one is a moral commandment, the other is a legal one. I'm with you on this, buddy, and the world would be better off to jump on board too. I also like that way you point out our distaste for Sharia law, but feel Christian law is perfectly ok. Ethnocentrism at work.

Warren Givens said...

I had one other thought. You must know that you have upset the religious right (or left?) when you said the Ten Commandments must have been written by rich old men? As we all know, the finger of God etched the Commandments into a book-like tablet on top of a mountain with Moses. See Charlton Heston.

Naveen kumar said...

Thou shall protect and provide for the children - Simply I love it.