FFRF Shreds Oklahoma AG on the Ten Commandments Monument

My friend Andrew Seidel, lead counsel for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has written an open letter to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt about his absurd defense of the Ten Commandments monument that the OK Supreme Court ordered to be taken down this week. Here’s my favorite part:

After the Oklahoma Supreme Court declared the decalogue monument on capitol grounds unconstitutional, you said, “Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong. The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law.”

That assertion is indefensible. There is not a single legal principle that is either unique or original to the Ten Commandments that significantly influenced American law.

First, let’s identify which set of Ten Commandments that were allegedly part of our foundation. Is it the set in Exodus 20 or Exodus 34? Or perhaps it’s the sets in Deuteronomy 5 or Deuteronomy 27? For the sake of argument, I’ll assume it’s the set on the Oklahoma capitol lawn.

This is a big assumption because, as anyone who’s familiar with the bible will realize, the wording on the capitol monument is heavily edited. The monument’s precepts appear to come from Exodus 20, but apparently the original version was too barbaric (or perhaps the monument authors simply know better than god.) Either way, the monument strays heavily from the original.

For instance, the monument leaves out some integral language from the second commandment—the prohibition on graven images. The original includes, “for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation…” Please tell me, Mr. Pruitt, is punishing innocent children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for the crimes of their parents what you meant by “foundation of Western law?”

The whole thing is worth reading.

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  • John Pieret

    Pruitt’s brilliant plan, if he can’t get the OK State Supreme Court to change its mind, is to repeal the part of the OK Constitution that says “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion” because, after all, the monument is about history not religion!

    The Federal judges who would hear the follow-up lawsuit when they deny the Satanists and Hindus their monuments, will have a good chuckle at that.

  • http://hitchhikinginsvalbard.blogspot.com Hitchhiking in Svalbard

    I love this letter. It puts the onus on Pruitt to defend the awfulness that is the 10 commandments. If he’s brave enough to respond at all, he will simply restate his ridiculous claim with no real defense or explanation. My guess is that we won’t see a direct response. They pretend all the nastiness in the Bible doesn’t really exist or isn’t relevant. Since the God character personifies all the nastiness, I guess he doesn’t exist or isn’t relevant, either.

  • throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor

    Please tell me, Mr. Pruitt, is punishing innocent children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for the crimes of their parents what you meant by “foundation of Western law?”

    For the children of slaves, non-whites, immigrants, LGBTQ… Yeah, seems to be a pretty solid foundation of Western law in practice, if not, at times, explicitly coded as such.

  • theDukedog7 .

    Whew!

    We came close to an Establishment of Religion in Ok: a minute or two longer and we would have had a National Church of The Decalogue, where everybody was forced to worship and recite the Ten Commandments ten times each day.

    Thank goodness (sic) we had the FFRF to censor us to save us. It is particularly noteworthy the the FFRF had the strength to take on this vital fight, given all of the recent work they’ve done denying the Star of David had any relevance to the Holocaust and carring water for Holocaust deniers.

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/07/freedom-from-religion-fanatics-demand-removal-of-star-of-david-from-holocaust-memorial/

    The FFRF is on the job–those damn Jews just won’t stop defiling our public spaces with their religious symbols.

  • The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    Hey, you brainless fucker–why don’t you go back to the Darwin thread and deal with the innumerable eviscerations of your ludicrous lies? Oh yah, because you can’t! Chickenshit fucknugget.

  • theDukedog7 .

    A note of caution to the FFRF on their legal strategy:

    Your policy of sandblasting Christian and Jewish symbols from the public square will backfire on you, when you reach your goal and impose laws requiring Jews and Christians to wear yellow crosses and stars on their clothing. If they can’t wear them on public property, it’ll be awfully hard to keep track of that monotheistic swine when it comes time for you to round them up.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @5:

    [Hey, you brainless fucker–why don’t you go back to the Darwin thread and deal with the innumerable eviscerations of your ludicrous lies? Oh yah, because you can’t! Chickenshit fucknugget.]

    Your post doesn’t seem to have the rhetorical zing it must have had in the original German.

  • zenlike

    Yes yes Dukie, demanding that the government remains neutral on religious matters is exactly like prosecuting christians. Do you know how rediculous you sound? Probably not.

  • The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    Shit, Egnor–you’re the most egnorant* fucknozzle on the internet.

    *What a coincidence!

  • Pierce R. Butler

    It’s all about ethics in monument placement!

  • dan4

    @6: Are you being serious? Your comment here sounds like some sort of Colbert-esque parody.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @8:

    Yea. Da ‘Freedom From Religion’ Foundation is all about neutrality.

    No religion at all in the public square is neutral as hell.

    And besides, the Constitution demands religious neutrality–it’s in the Neutrality Clause, right next to the Abortion Clause and the Same-Sex-Marriage Clause and the Separation-of-Church-and-State Clause and the No-School-Prayer Clause and the No-Decalogue-on-the-Courthouse-Lawn Clause.

    If you’ve ever been to the National Archives, you can see how the ink is fading on the venerable old document. Luckily “Justice” Kennedy has special glasses to see words the proles can’t. Unfortunately Kennedy’s glasses have a glare spot right where the Constitution says “Free Exercise of Religion”, so he is blind to that.

  • theDukedog7 .

    @11:

    No I’m dead serious.

    When we monothesists have to wear stars and crosses, we won’t be able to wear them on public property, which will make FFRF’s job even harder.

    How can you keep track of monotheist swine if they can’t wear their mandatory badges everywhere?

  • theDukedog7 .

    @8:

    [Yes yes Dukie, demanding that the government remains neutral on religious matters is exactly like prosecuting christians.]

    Neutrality is like that. I went to the art museum a couple of days ago, and the curator asked me what I thought of a painting. I told him I’m neutral about it, so I made him rip it off the wall.

    Neutrality about something means you have to destroy it. It’s in the dictionary.

  • The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    Die, you asshole. Just fucking die already.

  • Die Anyway

    > “…punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation…”

    person who has just suffered a calamity: “Why me Lord?”

    booming voice from the clouds: “Because your great grandfather committed adultery.”

    person: “Wha???”

    voice: “Yup. Read it and weep. LOL.”

  • dan4

    @13: Oh, you’re “dead serious?” Too bad for you, because that means you’re batshit crazy…no, I take that back. Believing that the FFRF wants to round up Jews and Christians for a new “final solution” because they don’t think that a government-sponsored Ten Commandments monument on state capitol grounds is legally sound is a perfectly reasonable and rational position to take (*rolls eyes*).

  • theDukedog7 .

    @17:

    [they don’t think that a government-sponsored Ten Commandments monument on state capitol grounds is legally sound]

    Government neutrality about religion is in the Constitution. If you take all the letters of “neutrality” from other words and put them together, it spells “neutrality”. Right there in the constitution. Justice Kennedy is satisfied.

    I’m neutral about my neighbor’s new car. So I took a sledgehammer to it and towed it off his property.

  • D. C. Sessions

    dan4, it’s projection. Rule or ruin, get it? If he can’t keep all of us firmly under the bootheel, then we would surely rise up and oppress him. Basic Christian ethics: “do unto others as they would do unto you.”

    Some people, alas, don’t really seem able to imagine any other way of life.

  • Chiroptera

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2015/07/03/ffrf-shreds-oklahoma-ag-on-the-ten-commandments-monument/#comment-436691“>theDukeDog7, #13 When we monothesists have to wear stars and crosses….

    Why would Christian evangelicals be made to wear stars or crosses? They’re already pretty easy to identify by how they’re always whining and screaming about how everything little thing is offensive to their beliefs.

  • dan4

    @18: That wasn’t even the point of my comment @17 that you were supposedly “responding” to, you jackass….or should I be charitable and read your non-response “response” as an indication that you realize that your claim of the FFRF desiring a slaughter of Jews and Christians is indefensible and stupid?

  • Quantum Mechanic

    @7:

    Oh no, you called someone else on the Internets a Nazi! He’s undone, all of the shitty arguments and lies you’ve made are now golden rhetorical genius, and we’re all melting! Mmeeeeeeltiiing!!! What a world, what a world!!! Who could have thought a bigoted moron like you could destroy our beautify wickedness?

  • thebookofdave

    Jesus H. Christ, DukeDog. At least try to see the silver lining in all this. The same ruling banned Baphomet from the capitol grounds, after all. Also, you’re missing (or dismissing) the whole point of this article: the Decalogue in question wasn’t even the actual Ten Commandments. Real evangelicals should be relieved that some heavily distorted abomination wasn’t permitted to represent the actual words of their god.

  • Michael Heath

    Many of us point out that as absurd and evil many right wing leaders are that Ed blogs about, even worse is that people exist that are influenced by these wingnut leaders.

    I do not understand why any reasonable and intelligent person would read and respond to Dukedog7 a second time. This forum’s commenters have allowed this troll to take over nearly all the comment threads in this forum. So the marginal benefit we could have dialoging only with reasonable insightful people is compromised.

    It doesn’t matter if you destroy Dukedog7’s arguments, he wins because we’ve wasted our time. No one learns much of anything when someone shoots fish in a barrel; plus it’s disgusting to watch.

    So as much as nearly all of us malign the first population I reference at the top, the commenters in this forum that respond to our resident troll also aren’t acting in a manner that I perceive to be rational or intelligent.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Michael Heath, I agree. I’ve blocked dukedog using the killfile addon, but it’s still tiring to see the thread flooded with comments responding to his idiocy. You can’t reason with people as far gone into madness as dukedog. If Ed won’t get rid of him, the rest of us need to stop responding to him.

  • colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #24

    I have been advising for over a week that the folks who read this blog download the extension Blog Killfile for Chrome and Firefox and put Schmucknor on [hush][hide comment]. This will remove the temptation to respond to him and if nobody who visits this blog reads his comments, he will soon go somewhere else.

  • D. C. Sessions

    No one learns much of anything when someone shoots fish in a barrel; plus it’s disgusting to watch.

    Hey, it’s going to be Independence Day tomorrow. In honor of the season, I prefer dynamiting fish in a barrel. Plus mocking them before, during, and after.

    But, all in all, yes: even my cats get tired of playing with crippled insects and lizards.

  • colnago80

    Re #25

    If everybody who visits this blog and reads the comments followed this advice, he would soon go elsewhere.

    I have to wonder whether Brayton is not doing this because the presence of comments by Schmucknor is bumping up his page views, as someone on another thread theorized.

  • whheydt

    Re: tdd7 generally…

    Did it occur to you to ask *which* version of the Ten Commandments is on that monument? If you aren’t aware of it (and you should be), there are multiple versions in the Bible (and–much to the point–multiple versions of the Bible) and different versions of Christianity parse the lists differently. It’s a pretty much odds-on bet that the monument uses a *Protestant* parsing from a *Protestant* Bible…and that would disagree with the Catholic versions–that is, *your* version.

    Thus, this decision by the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, stating that the placement of the monument on state property and based on a part of the Oklahoma *State* Constitution put in place by Christians. It is a protection of *your* beliefs and to keep them from being infringed upon.

    If the OK Constitution is amended to remove that section, *then* the debate (and cases) will be over whether the area is a limited public forum–in which case *any* religious group would be able to place a monument there–or if there will be no religious monuments at all to prevent the state from violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

    In short…be careful what you wish form. Catholics have been discriminated against before and if you get the kind of laws you say you want, it could happen again. It would then be the ACLU, atheists, humanists, and secularists coming to your defense. You may not want to be careful who you alienate.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    I quoted a sample of Egnor’s silliness to Ed on Facebook a few days ago (remember the Starnes thread?) Ed was amused and said, “I bet my commenters are eviscerating him.”

    Swatting this troll really doesn’t take much time; he’s easy. By all means don’t participate if you don’t feel like it, but I sort of like knowing what sorts of paranoid fantasies motivate Discovery Institute hacks to lie so blithely, despite their putative moral values.

    And if tdd’s angry, fearful id is gonna sit here in the thread, somebody might as well address it with a fact or two.

  • Artor

    I’ll attest to loving the Killfile Addon. I haven’t had to look at a single turd from Egnor, except for the blockquotes from people responding to him. I wish people would stop doing that so he could fade from my awareness completely.

    Seriously guys, give it up. He’s shown time & again that he’s just not interested in learning anything, or in having an honest debate. All he does is lie and spew hate & ignorance. By responding to him, you’re allowing him to derail what could have been an intelligent, informative discussion. The Dukedog7 will never be a part of that discussion. Never.

    Ed? Do you ever look at your comment sections? Someone left a burning sack of dogshit on your front porch. You should really do something about that.

  • https://plus.google.com/107095827599382907783 NS Alito

    The LAWD has given me Killfile Add-on for Fahrfox, and Ah re-JOICE!

    (Testify! Testify!)

  • whheydt

    Re: Artor @ #31…

    Ignoring trolls (in hopes they’ll go away) can be a successful tactic, but it is very difficult in a–basically–unmoderated forum. And if a forum is really moderated, the troll comments simply won’t survive moderation, anyway. The risk with ignoring trolls is that bystanders may think the troll actually has some points if no one steps in and refutes what he says. Thus, ignoring trolls is a two-edged sword.

    An alternative tack is to rebut the troll, but on the actual arguments made and do so without name calling or other abuse. This has several advantages. It refutes the troll’s substantive erroneous statements. It does it in a way that is much friendlier to the lurkers by not complicating refutation with personal abuse. It also drives trolls absolutely mad with rage when they fail to get a rise out of others. Once the spiral of mad troll versus calm, reasoned debaters takes hold, the troll will likely give up and go away, at least from a given thread. If repeated often enough in enough threads, the troll will go away altogether because the troll isn’t getting the kind of argument he came for.

  • zero2cx

    @18

    Thanks, bud. Our neighbor’s was for some reason parked in my front yard. When you decided to call a tow truck to remove the thing from my property over to his own driveway, you did the whole block a favor.

    Nicely done. I’ve just made a small donation to the FFRF Towing company in your honor.

  • http://atheist-faq.com Jasper of Maine

    Surely you aren’t contending that the chosen people thought murder, theft, and lying perfectly acceptable before a burning bush told them otherwise?

    I’ve ran into a few people who thought this. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were others.

  • tfkreference

    Late to the party, but I’ve come to agree that ignoring trolls is the best option. In the Jindahl thread, dukey started to engage, almost reasonably, but burned out quickly in a flash of scatological expletives. I know another Catholic, in meatspace, who reacts to any disagreement as if it were an attack and sees anyone with different views as a foe. Unlike dukey, however, he admits that he is uninterested in rational discussion (he’s also a teenager).

  • culuriel

    Is it just me, or is Seidel’s letter simply a more polite version of George Carlin’s riff on the Ten Commandments?