The Ten Commandments
Bust of Moses in the US House of Representatives*
By now, everyone has heard about the August 5th order by Federal District Judge, Myron Thompson, to remove the monument of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the Alabama State Supreme Court Building, in spite of heroic efforts by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. At the behest of the American Civil Liberties Union and the usual suspects, the Federal Court determined that the "invoc[ation] of the favor and guidance of Almighty God" prescribed by the Alabama Constitution is somehow in violation of the First Article of the US Bill of Rights. The remaining eight Judges of the Alabama high court "chickened out" over Federal threats of a daily fine.
The "logic" goes something like this: "Congress can pass no law regarding an establishment of religion ... the Ten Commandments acknowledge God's natural law ... the Ten Commandments must then be a religion ... Congress can therefore not establish them ... therefore the Sovereign State of Alabama is in violation of the Constitution." Never mind that the First Article of the Bill of Rights, together will the other nine, were enacted precisely to curb the authority of the Federal Government over the States and people. Never mind that the Federal Government obeys the Constitution in very little that it does. Never mind that the Ten Commandments don't belong to any particular religion. Never mind that the Alabama Supreme Court is not the Congress of the United States, and passes no laws about anything. Never mind that the United States derive their limited authority from the several States, and only in matters which the States do not reserve to themselves or to their citizens.
People who revere God and obey His natural moral law can only see a very frightening message in the failure of the courts to uphold the US and Alabama Constitutions. We have become accustomed to having the government violate the law and to the courts telling us that the law means what they want it to mean instead of what it says. We have become used to Federal executives and legislators doing as they pleases with total disregard for what they are authorized to do by the States.
But the equating of the Ten Commandments with some sort of illegal religion is even yet more insidious. Ultimately, it is a refutation government's own authority, and a refusal to obey the Source of that authority. It is an attempt by the Federal court -- as Federal courts are wont to do these days -- to set itself above God. The principles embodied in the Ten Commandments are not uniquely Jewish or Christian, but are principles of the natural law which every man must obey if society isn't to rapidly collapse. Repudiating those principles, insisting that they be hidden away lest they be confused with a State Religion, is to repudiate not only American society but civilization itself.
The Commandments, as they are commonly enumerated, "I" through "X," are not found directly in the Scriptures of the various religions which bother to enumerate them. And even those religions don't even all enumerate them in the same way. They are found in a fuller form than usually enumerated, in the midst of a much fuller code of law in the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. They are also found in the earlier Code of Hammurabi, in the Moslem Koran, in the Hindu Yama and Niyama, and in the writings of any other lasting civilization -- in different order, perhaps, but substantially the same.2, 3, 4 That our society has chosen to enumerate the commands of the natural moral law as it has, is part of our common culture and not the establishment of an Alabama State Church
As enumerated by Christians, the Ten Commandments prescribe no penalties. To most Western people, the punishments prescribed in the Old Testament or by Hammurabi, or in the Koranic law for violating the Commandments sound harsh indeed. Liberal judges, intent on dismantling what is left of Christendom ought to take note of how the non-Christian societies that are likely to fill the void will administer justice to those who break their versions of the Commandments. Without the moderating influence of Christianity, many evils, to which Christendom assigns punishment in the next world, might be punished in the here and now -- with death, beating, or the loss of a hand or an eye.
But Old Hammurabi certainly had one thing right -- judges are supposed to "hold their offices during good behavior"5:
If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.
The last word, however must go Chief Justice Roy Moore who put it this way: