Bring the "Hammer and Chisel”

I am often perplexed at the contention that the Ten Commandments are the strong and certain backbone of our laws. I wonder which of the ten pertain.

The first says that God will not allow any other Gods but himself.

The second one says you shall not make any pictures or statues of any of those other Gods of which God does not approve.

 The third says you should not say the name of God in any nasty manner.

 The fourth says to make sure you keep the Sabbath holy, which I think any Jewish person could tell you, in their book, is Saturday.

The fifth is to honor your parents. Thank goodness, we don’t jail people for breaking that commandment or 98% of us would have been issued an orange jumpsuit as teenagers.

 The sixth is very important and orders that we not kill. Does that include things like “collateral damage”?

Number seven is a real humdinger:

No sex with someone if you are married to someone else. OUCH!

 The eighth suggests we should not steal. What of the man whose children are starving?

 Number nine tells us that one should not indulge in the spreading of nasty rumors. I’m at least happy I can report that I have never encountered this where I live.


The last one on the list is that we should not wish for the things our neighbor has if we don’t have them. Boy, there goes capitalism right down the tubes. We have a national economy based upon everybody wanting what everybody else has; (Time to turn in those new Nikes and fill in the swimming pool.)


Reflecting back on the bunch, eight of the ten have no connection whatsoever to any United States law. The Founders felt strongly that every person should have the right to see religious questions exactly as they please, without any impediment from anyone, especially the government. The greatest threat to Christians and any other religion is when the government starts telling them how to conduct their business. That can only be assured if religions of all kinds keep out of the business of the government as well. There can be no gray zone or we lose the benefits. We are not all Christians; we are not all Jews or Atheists or Muslins for that matter.

The one thing we all share is this: we are all Americans, and the rights of all Americans must be respected by all other Americans. If it makes people more comfortable to write that down ten times on the face of a big block of granite then I’ll be happy to bring the hammer and chisel. Amen.

~Sam Harris~