West Virginia prosecutor is lying like crazy to support ten commandments monument.

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.”

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Nicole Introvert

    There is no Wyoming County in VA. (I live in VA, sounded weird and I had to check.) Google search shows there is in West Virginia.

    • JTEberhard

      Gah, thanks. I can only plead that I wrote this right out of bed. :P Fixed.

  • Zinc Avenger

    They should start by explaining how the First Commandment is compatible with the First Amendment, and show their working.

  • Art_Vandelay

    That article left out the best part…his research methods:

    Cochrane asked his Facebook friends for feedback and about 280 people of 300 responded in favor of the monument. Those who opposed feared it
    violates separation of church and state, he said.

    • invivoMark

      280 out of 300 people have never actually read the Ten Commandments from start to finish.

      • Art_Vandelay

        …or the Constitution.

  • unbound55

    As Nicole pointed out, this is in West Virginia (per the article as well). Additionally, you probably meant “county” in lieu of “country” in the first sentence.

    • JTEberhard

      Ayup. Both fixed.

  • 23cal

    It is so despicable and disgusting when liars claim the moral high ground. It is no wonder Christians have no credibility with us.

  • Jasper

    Even if the 10-commandments were shared across 18 different religions, the government would still be dictating that monotheism is the correct type of religion, and that polytheists, pantheists, atheists, etc, would be 2nd-class citizens.

    Even that is crossing the line.

    [Edit] – I’m assuming that those 18 religions would all be monotheistic because of commandment #1

    • ZeldasCrown

      Exactly-even if every single religion had the exact same 10 commandments it would still be exclusionary to atheists/agnostics.

      The reason that some of our laws overlap with things in the bible is because there are secular reasons behind them. Note that only 2 of the commandments are coded into law (rather than all 10) because they are the only two with secular justification. If the law was really based on the bible, all 10 would be backed legally.

  • BobaFuct

    It’s even more egregious if you go back to the original news report and read what the monument says…it’s not just the 10 commandments:

    “The monument also reads that the Ten Commandments are: “the laws of GOD for all men. They are anointed by GOD JEHOVA as a promise of everlasting life’”

    Sounds pretty Judeo-Christian specific to me….

  • GubbaBumpkin

    It’s a stupid and ugly monument. Note that each commandment is followed by a Bible citation. This is superfluous because all the verses are consecutive. That means they had to use a smaller font, and the whole thing is less readable. Apparently they felt the need to inform you that this is the ten commandments of Exodus 20, and not the version of Exodus 34, or Deuteronomy 10.

    Also, various Jewish and Christian sects; Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox, enumerate the commandments differently. This is even covered on Wikipedia, which I guess is beyond the research capabilities of a Wyoming County prosecutor.

    • invivoMark

      I’m surprised I’ve never heard Catholics complaining about these monuments.

      Well, perhaps “surprised” is the wrong word – Catholics tend not to know their own religion any better than Protestants. They wouldn’t know they were looking at the wrong Commandments if the first one demanded allegiance to Xenu.

  • Bernard Rieux

    The first commandment as cited in Exodus is referring to the Christian god.

    Well, probably the Judeo-Christian god, right? At most?

    I mean, I imagine there are a whole lot of practicing/theistic Jews who take serious issue with the notion that Exodus “refers to the Christian” absolutely anything.

  • hippiefemme

    I want to say two things, as a West Virginian:

    1) Thanks to you all for not saying, “Oh, it’s WV, what do you expect?” I hear that a lot, and it’s incredibly disheartening and frustrating.
    2) In reading the comments on the article in the WV Gazette, I’m pleased to note that every single person is commenting on the illegality of the monument. That is wonderful! I half expected to see the majority of people defending the placement of the monument.

    Another interesting point in the Gazette article reads, “A group of church leaders raised money and built the monument in front of the courthouse last week, County Commission President Jason Mullins said last week. Mullins said the church leaders did not ask permission from the county commission before building the monument on public land.”

    Can you imagine any other group building a monument on public land without permission? Anyone else would be told to remove the monument immediately or face charges.

  • Ryan Hite

    So he broke a commandment to keep the Ten Commandments. Sorry, god does not approve… Nor does Krishna or Buddha.

  • Highlander

    Perhaps it’s not so much because he’s a lawyer who doesn’t know the law as it is because he’s a politician who knows from where the wind blows. If he wants to be re-elected in Umerca, he’s got to suck Jesus’ cock. Then again, perhaps he is stupid and likes zombie cock.