The Ten Commandments

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You
know, I just love watching those reruns of “The
Ten Commandments
” starring Charlton Heston. It beats the politically
correct “Prince of Egypt” by the distance from Goshen to Sinai.
And as Moses raised the stone tablets and cried “Those that shall
not live by the Law, shall die by the Law!” before shattering them,
I did not fully appreciate there was another battle to shatter stones
inscribed with those divine commands right on American doorsteps
today.

Except
in this case, it is no man of God wielding the stones. Thus, was
the latest instalment of the ACLU versus Christianity in Indiana
and this has all the features of the psychologically obsessed equivalent
of a stuck record needle.

The
new commandment “Thou shalt not display the Ten Commandments in
a public place.” is being pursued (again) with as great a dogmatic
zeal as any medieval heresy hunters would have relished. And “dogmatic”
is certainly the operative word for the absence of such a stone
or plaque would certainly not improve State school exam results
or local government decision-making by one iota. It is quite simply
new theology versus old theology and the ACLU ought to stand for
Atheistic Civil Liberties Union rather than anything which recognises
the role of Christianity in influencing and shaping American history
from the lowliest farm hand to the greatest president.

One
has comparable visions of Stalin bulldozing churches to make way
for the glorious socialist revolution but we haven’t quite got to
the stage yet where public displays of crosses and the like have
to be removed because they might offend a passing Muslim or Hindu.
By way of ironic comment, the statues of Lenin and Stalin were being
torn down just as the churches were being prepared for rebuilding.
God obviously has a wry sense of humour though I do not think it
was humour that prevailed on Stalin’s deathbed as he flailed his
arms against invisible foes come to prepare his descent to the lowest
circle. Christian monument destroyers take note.

Now,
even Bill Clinton, who wouldn’t exactly pass the entrance exam for
a monastery, recognised the role of religion in school life when
he said “Common sense says that faith and faith-based organisations
from all religious backgrounds can play an important role in helping
children to reach their fullest potential.”, though the guidelines
he was endorsing over two years ago added that schools “may not
endorse or favour religious activity or doctrine, coerce participation
in religious activity or seek to impose their religious beliefs
on impressionable children”.

In
that respect, he is following the likes of Voltaire and Hume, who
though atheists, recognised the value of religion in the public
arena. It is just as well they don’t follow this dubious logic through
to banning parents from imposing their religious beliefs on their
children.

But,
this new theology of man as the Supreme Being seeks the supplanting
of the old theology of supernaturalism. This is not something new.
Christianity so effectively eradicated the old theology of Paganism
that one has to watch reruns of “Jason and the Argonauts” or visit
the local museum to get an idea of who the ancient Greeks and Romans
worshipped. Christianity achieved this stupendous victory with the
aid of the State and Constantine was happy to oblige. The ACLU thinks
they can employ the same tactics and revert us back to the pantheon
of Rome or possibly worse for Imperial Rome only sought the destruction
of Christianity when it attempted to assert the royal prerogatives
of its God over the Divine Caesar. If only it had sheepishly acknowledged
the divinity of the Emperor then a statue of Christ may even have
been erected alongside the other gods in the Pantheon.

Such
is the panacea offered by an ACLU inspired vision. A seat at the
table of a polytheistic society but the chief place belonging to
secular humanism whose self-appointed destiny is to hold all these
“patently false” beliefs in check and balance until man “grows up”
and rejects them.

All
the ACLU and its ilk now desires is that the modern-day emperor
has the secular equivalent of “”In hoc Signo vinces” to dazzle his
vision. The trouble is that the product on offer is so Frankenstein
in its insipid fragmented, sterile and uninspiring political correctness
that not even a god could convince anyone that this was a great
market brand.

That
is why such organisations lobby for a socialist-type system where
price and protectionist controls are analogised into beliefs control.
Each “product” must be kept under strict anti-competitive laws,
which forbid them from having too much market share. Thus, the brand-name
logos of Christianity as exemplified in public Decalogue monuments
are the equivalent of a historic monopoly that must be subjected
to anti-trust laws and broken up.

In
effect, they view plaques displaying the Ten Commandments outside
County Courts as akin to Internet Explorer being packaged with Microsoft
Windows. Christianity has spent centuries building up its brand
name; Christian CEOs (such as bishops, superintendents and moderators)
should not allow the products they have been employed to promote
be so easily demoted.

To
this end the ACLU’s interpretation of the First Amendment is vital.
What would blow it clean out of the water would be the privatisation
of the public school system. The majority of the American population
is overwhelmingly christian in profession which makes this ban on
public christian symbols all the more ludicrous and putting education
to float in the free market would revitalise the christian-school
sector so much that the ACLU would become a veritable voice in the
humanist wilderness. There isn't a thing they could do about private
Christian schools erecting a forest of Ten Commandments monuments
right outside their own offices!

Of
course, we would also get a minority of Muslim, Jewish and Hindu
schools but I am far more comfortable with this consumer realism
than the hotchpotch secular solution foisted on spiritual America
today.

In
one sense, even if the secularist’s view of the First Amendment
was correct, public sentiment, as expressed in the Free Market would
produce a private sector expression of Christianity, which would
challenge it and indeed begin to influence it again for the good
– just like it did nearly 1700 years ago at Milvian Bridge.

So,
a God-less interpretation of the First Amendment in collusion with
a State-run education system that promotes it ensures protectionism
and anti-competitive practises in the spiritual realm. If secular
humanism is so cock-sure about its own ethos and future, it should
let the whole issue float free. I suspect the uptake on humanist
schools will be about as popular as the market for second hand statues
of Josef Stalin.

How
do I know humanist schools would be a resounding failure? Over here
in less religious Britain, people are falling over themselves to
get their kids into the Church of England schools with their added
religious ethos as opposed to the secularised State schools. They
are prepared to move lock, stock and barrel into the catchment areas
of these schools and pay the higher mortgage costs for such popular
areas. I tell you, they are even prepared to feign religion by becoming
members of the Anglican Church for the required minimum qualification
period of six months.

In
conclusion, and going back to free market terminology, the customers
know a proven brand when they see it. Christianity has been around
for millennia whilst Humanism, historically speaking, has the commercial
kudos of a dot com start-up trying to sell paper clips online.

Moreover,
they will find out that there is one inscription of the Ten Commandments
they can never remove – that which God Almighty Himself has etched
onto the very DNA of every man, woman and child.

Go
and sue God, ACLU!

February
27 ,
2002

Roland
Watson [send him
mail
] writes from Edinburgh, Scotland.

©
2002 LewRockwell.com

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Watson Archives

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