Officials in Wyoming County, West Virginia (whoever named that county was trollin’) have a monument to the ten commandments on their courthouse lawn. The ACLU apprised them to the fact that this was illegal, and so being a courthouse (which would imply they took obedience to the law seriously) they immediately did the right thing and stopped breaking the law.
Just kidding, they lied their asses off.
Wyoming County prosecutor Michael Cochrane tells the Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/16q2xDy ) that he doesn’t believe the monument promotes Christianity over other religions.
“I researched different religions as far as whether the Ten Commandments is discriminatory or not,” Cochrane said. “Basically a type of Ten Commandments is cut across a lot of religions.”
Cochrane says it promotes laws that are based on some of the commandments. He also says the Ten Commandments are recognized as a universal code of conduct by many people.
There are TEN commandments in other religions? Is he referring to the FIVE pillars of Islam? Or perhaps the EIGHTfold path or the FOUR noble truths of Buddhism? Or maybe he means the Purusharthas, the “FOUR aims” of Hinduism?
The idea that other religions have their own version of the ten commandments is only true if you fudge the numbers, and also if you take the fact that there are commandments in all religions as a similarity and not what those commandments actually…y’know…command. You see, the monument in West Virginia quotes the bible directly (already suggesting it is a distinctly Christian monument):
The first commandment as cited in Exodus is referring to the Christian god. If the ten commandments, as this monument enshrines, are spread across all other religions, I’d be curious to know where in other religions you find admonishments that the only god is Yaweh and believing in other gods is an offense punishable by death. Call me skeptical, but I don’t think you’ll find it.
And the monument promotes laws, real American laws, based on the ten commandments? Which laws? Don’t kill and don’t steal? Yes, because nobody had figured this out before the bible. If the bible had included the sentence “some snakes are poisonous” would you say our understanding that some snakes are dangerous was based on the bible? Or would you say “hrm, most people realized this and so whoever wrote the passage included it”? The bible was just including shit humanity already knew with those two. But as for the rest of the ten commandments, our laws are not based on them. In fact, most of them would be illegal under United States law. Don’t work on Sunday? The Wal-Mart lobby would never have it. No graven images? How does that square with other religions that like their graven images in a religiously free country? And Jesus Fictional Christ, I’ll take the lord’s name in vain if I damn well please. Freedom of speech does not recognize your concern for blasphemy.
And the last bit was the worst:
He also says the Ten Commandments are recognized as a universal code of conduct by many people.
You’d expect a prosecutor to know the law. Or maybe he does and his allegiance to Jesus impacts his honesty (this is more likely, in my estimation). Just because a lot of people like it doesn’t mean it’s not religious discrimination or an abrogation of separation of church and state. The number of people who are Christian has no bearing on their ability to break the law freely. That’s why the separation of church and state exists: to prevent the dominant religion from asserting itself over all others. You can’t say “lots of people believe these religious prescriptions, so it should stay” as evidence that it’s constitutional. Indeed, that’s precisely the type of thing for which the first amendment exists.
Also, on a factual note, the people who do actually think the commandments of Moses represent a universal code of conduct are wrong. The commandments are not universal because not everybody abides by them, nor should they (and this includes all the Christians who work on the sabbath).
And as for the commandment about not lying, Michael Cochrane should go and re-read it. He knows this is a Christian monument. Only an idiot (who expects others to be as big an idiot as he) could think the monument in that picture, a monument which cites the bible exclusively and quotes it to the letter, could be a monument for all religions, or even most religions, or even one other religion. He’s lying to subvert the law, something we expect of criminals, not of the men charged with prosecuting them and discovering the truth in court.
The lengths to which people will debase themselves in the service of Jesus is depressing. If he needed to, Cochrane and those like him who buy the idea that the ten commandments aren’t necessarily Christian would respond to you handing them an apple by saying “That’s not an apple! Lots of fruits have a sweet taste, and seeds, and a core. Hell, lots of fruits are even red! Yeah, I don’t know where you get the idea that this is an apple.”