In a recent editorial in the Courier-Journal, a writer examines the Commandment Myth. There are those who still mistakenly believe that by hanging the Commandments on public walls, America is going to be more righteous and moral. It happens, I suppose, by osmosis. Frankly, hanging the Commandments on public walls will no more make this country moral than hanging a clock on a wall will make people use time more wisely.
Here is a reprint of the Courier-Journal story:
A great myth that has been a basis for the endless postings of the Ten Commandments in public buildings is that the Decalogue as delivered to Moses constitutes the bedrock of American law. It is no such thing.
That distinction instead has its roots in the Middle Ages — in English common law and in Magna Carta — not the code that is widely circulated and includes prohibitions against adultery, creating graven images and the like. There's nothing in the law preventing you from coveting your neighbor's wife, or his shiny convertible — or from worshipping your coffee mug, if you choose to do so.
What is true is that the endless litigation resulting from Ten Commandments postings is a huge waste of taxpayers' and judges' time and resources. Many of the public monuments on statehouse grounds around the country were gifts not from God but from Hollywood showman Cecil B. DeMille, who gave these out to promote his 1956 blockbuster, “The Ten Commandments.”
A generation later, civil liberties groups began challenging posting them, and in 1980, a Kentucky case led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision banning them on public property if they were obvious religious displays. Ever since, people have tried to dodge the prohibition with various ruses. The Grayson County display, upheld recently by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, was simply one more example of such flim-flam. Nothing more.
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