Friday, August 15, 2014

Decalogical fallacies

Via Retinart.
We the People of the United States of America, in order to have no other Gods before you-know-Who, remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy, honor our parents, not kill, not commit adultery, and all that good stuff, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
No, seriously, where does this shit come from? Where County Commissioner Tim Guffey of Scottsboro, AL, explains to the press about his desire to erect a little group of monuments to the Ten Commandments, which according to him have nothing to do with religion, and the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence:
“I feel like taking that document out, if that document wasn’t there to guide them, then our Constitution wouldn’t be what it is today.
“The Ten Commandments is a historical document and it has nothing to do with religion,” he continued. “It shows that these founders had great beliefs in God and the Ten Commandments and His Word and it helped them get to the point where they were. Their feeling was God helped them build the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. If you read all of the writings of John Adams, Patrick Henry, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, they speak about how that was their foundation that helped them interpret and write a great Constitution.”
What do they even imagine they're talking about? Show me the evidence that there's any connection whatsoever, however tangential, between the Jewish Commandments and the Declaration and the Constitution, anything. Where's Sabbath observance? Where's honoring your father and mother? Where's coveting your neighbor's ox or her ass? Wouldn't that be the Declaration's protected pursuit of happiness in opposition to no. 10?

Where, for that matter, are  killing, theft, bearing false witness, adultery? These are not specifically Mosaic issues, but features of every legal code, more or less, that's ever been written. They're not in the Constitution because that's not what the Constitution is about, people. The Colonies had adequate laws on these questions already. What the Constitution is about is putting together a somewhat democratic and moderately powerful form of government, with a well-regulated national debt, things the Commandments really don't address.

But these Yahoos like young Mr. Guffey don't even know what's in the Constitution, or the Ten Commandments either, is the fact of the matter. They don't have a clue. They haven't bothered to look. They're ignorant and stupid and don't deserve any further attention.

I don't mind if they want to tell me about their personal suffering, their lack of education and unemployability or the Bible-belt white-girl teenage pregnancy or the indignity of living on SSI payments or all those things they pretend only happen to black people, but I'm damned if I'll put up with their lecturing me on matters of historical or theological fact.

I'll tell you one Commandments-related thing in the Constitution: the stipulations in Article Six for all the officeholders that there's an alternative to taking the oath of office, in the form of a simple affirmation. That's not just for atheists and unbelievers who don't believe in anything to swear to, although that's part of it, but also for Third-Commandment absolutists who believe God has forbidden them to take oaths, like Quakers. Because Article Six also forbids any religious test for officeholders in the federal government, it is specified that you can interpret the Third Commandment as you wish or totally ignore it. That's what the Constitution says about the Ten Commandments.

By Pinner. This one goes out to Tengrain, though I'll bet in practice she did get laid again, more than once, but not with the right kind of guy.

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