In an article that appeared on NewsWithViews.com Pastor Kelly Boggs suggested, tongue 'n cheek, that if the Ten Commandments displayed in the Alabama court house of Judge Roy Moore had been displayed with a 'nude Moses chiseled into its side' then it might have been permitted to stay.
I believe that a great many other people would have found this artistic expression more than a little objectionable, yet, his point is well taken. This is not a question of religious freedom, but rather a question of free expression of ideas or 'freedom of speech'. No one has a right to force their religious beliefs on anyone whether this was a Christian nation at one time or not.
The issue here is freedom of expression which falls under 'freedom of speech' not religion. The Ten Commandments is not the exclusive document or property of any particular religion. Moslem, Christians, including all of the many Protestant denominations, Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Jews as well as dozens of other religious groups claim it.
It is also clearly a major part of the history of mankind and the history of law. People have referred to them as basic guidelines in good government for centuries. They have every much a right in any public building as a display or expression of ideas as does the Magna Charta, the Hammurabi Codes, or the Constitution of the United States.
The religionists out declaring their religious freedom and trying to prove that the United States is a Christian nation are following the strategy of a bull in a bull ring. While charging the red cape of the ADL and atheists they remain completely off the mark and going in circles. They do not understand the purpose of the Ten Commandments.
The fact is those Ten Commandments were the foundational Laws for a nation, not a religious doctrine. Three million people had just been liberated by this guy named Moses who had been a prince and military leader in Egypt. They had left the jurisdiction of the Egyptian government, its courts and its laws and struck out on their own to find a life of liberty under their god given conscience.
For centuries they had been a subject citizenry in a controlled economy. They had to pay 20% of every thing they earned to the government since they had gone into bondage . Through crafts of state this amount had increased becoming a great burden. People were working more than 3 months out of every year just to pay their tax liability to an unresponsive administration who had increased the cost of government through wars, government over spending and corruption. All the gold and silver was kept in the government treasuries, with fiat usurious currency being loaned into circulation by their financial institutions, called temples. Abortion had become common along with the break down of the family unit.
Having been socially crippled by centuries of welfare and control by benefactors who exercised authority the Israelites had a lot to learn about freedom. Once free of such a covetous corruption they needed some rules by which to live together as a nation. They needed rules that would keep them strong as a people. Moses is reported to have brought down these ten laws written on stone from the mountain.
For hundreds years this nation lived and governed themselves according to these laws and a few hundred statutes without any central top down authoritarian government. This system outlawed murder, robbery, strengthened, and guarded the family, which was the foundation of society. They formed a national networking community of charity, trust, and mutual defense.
With these Ten Commandments as the center of their legal system they survived as a nation in a hostile world and thrived as a free people. Like the Twelve Tablets of Rome, The Ten Commandments were the center of their government.
A public display of the Ten Commandments is the expression of ideas fundamental to national laws and has nothing to do with the prohibition of congress in respecting the establishment of religion because the Ten Commandments isn't really about religion. Freedom of speech is not freedom of speech 'if you don't talk about religion'. Freedom of speech is “freedom of speech”.
If there is any power or right anywhere in the government to remove that monument then all religious books in public libraries should be removed. The Bible, Koran, the Bagavatagita must be banned along with any other symbol remotely connected with what is called in the minds of people today "religion".
The Rank of God
I suggest we start with the Capitol Rotunda where Constantine Brumidi depicted "George Washington rising to the heavens in glory" surrounded by Greek gods. On the US government web site concerning this expression of free speech it is stated that the title of the painting "The Apotheos of Washington" "means literally the raising of a person to the rank of a god".
That seems more religious to me than the Ten Commandments or the nativity scene. I am willing to loan some paint scrapers to the Supreme Court in order to begin removal of those religious icons from public display in the Capitol Dome.
The problem in this controversy lies at least in part with the ignorance of religious zealots, who do not understand religion, the Bible or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to the introduction to John Wycliffe's translated 1382 Bible, "This Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People." But like Christ he was thrown in jail and died in their custody. Later the State Church dug his body up and burned it at the stake.
Why was he so hated by the establishment? Not just because he translated an old book into English, but because he realized the simple fact that Israel was a government, not a religion, and that Jesus preached a government that was within your reach, and not a religion where only the dead are rewarded. Wycliffe and the Lollards had realized that worshiping was not just about repeating prayers and emotional displays of devout zeal and singing. They realized the Bible was about governments, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Religion, on the other hand, was about caring for the needy of society by faith, hope and charity without being touched by the welfare programs of governments calling themselves benefactors but forcing contributions of your neighbors.
It should be realized and understood that Abraham, Moses, King David, John the Baptist, Jesus the Christ, and even the apostles Paul and Peter all preached and warned that free will offerings is the only moral and godly way to take care of the needy of society. If the Churches would get their head out of the clouds and see the true nature of the gospel that preached the "kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" they might not find themselves subject to the whim of the Supreme Court.
The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." This does not give the Judiciary the power to muffle the free expression of the people and their ideas or their history or even the exercise of free thought on law and government which is what the Ten Commands is all about.
Maybe People will take a closer look at Brumidi's painting in Capitol dome in Washington and why anyone would think that raising Washington "to the rank of god" is not an establishment of religion. They might be able to get beyond the red cape they think is the problem and finally make contact with the source of their irritation.
The fact is George Washington was the first Apotheos of the United States and George Bush is the present one. Apo Theos can be translated literally "Appointor of Gods". Was George Washington a god? Is the Supreme court an assembly of gods?
The emperors of Rome were called 'gods' too, using the words Apo Theos. This was not because anyone believed that they created heaven and earth. Apo Theos was an office of government. They were the appointors of the judges and magistrates of the judiciary just like the presidents of the United States.
Augustus was the first Apo Theos of Rome. He also held the office of Emperator which is commonly translated "Commander in chief" and the office of President called Principas Civitas, "First Citizen". He was actually elected to those offices by an electoral college under constitutional limitations, for a term of years and was required to run for regular reelection with a campaign platform.
So, who were these gods that Augustus appointed? In the Old Testament the words "gods" and "God" are translated from the single word 'elohiym. 'Elohiym is defined "rulers, judges" and "occasionally applied as deference to magistrates." In the New Testament the word “God” and “gods” is translated from the Greek word theos which figuratively means "a magistrate." Check your Strong's Concordance.
The term god as it was used every day at the time the Bible was written simply meant anyone who has the right to "exercise judgment" over you or enforce the law that you are under. Once this basic fact sinks in the whole Bible should be read in a new light.
Abraham, Moses and Jesus were talking about government not just religious doctrines. These men often conflicted with governments, left them or were willing to live in them, but not of them.
These men spoke about the way the people could rule themselves without the need for a strong central government that often became corrupt and despotic. They knew that if you gave power to men, e.g. made them gods, to exercise authority over you they would almost always become corrupt and "steal your rights through ambuscade".
Judge Moore is a 'lesser god' who is told what to do by higher gods, 'the gods men have chosen for themselves' [Judges 10:14]. The Supreme Court is a panel of gods and the President of the United States is an Apo Theos, Appointor of Gods, just like Augustus Caesar. All this is made possible and is dependent on a series of oaths taken by these men and applications or prayers by the people for benefits. Of course if the Churches were preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ the people would know that he forbade the taking of oaths. [Mt 5:34-37, Jas 5:12]
If the Churches were to wake up to what the Bible is saying, then they would realize what kind of government Jesus the King appointed in Luke 22:29 when he said, "And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me".
When they went out and preached that kingdom, as he told them to do, they would be constantly warning the people as he did in Luke 22:25 "...The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so:.."
Yes, if the United States was really a Christian government it would look less like the government of Rome and more like the government Christ preached and told us to preach. Is it any wonder that the first Appointor of Gods for the United States said, "The United States is in no way founded upon the Christian religion"?
Yes, men may have had some Christian principles when they created the United States Government. One of the most popular Presidents of Rome, Marcus Aurelius, voiced many Christian principles in his "Meditation" and his hope to return to "the Republic", but he still persecuted Christians on a regular basis even though religious freedom was guaranteed by the Roman Constitution which he affirmed religiously.
Why did he persecute those Christians? Because Christianity it was another type of government. Christians did not participate in the entitlement programs of the Roman Benefactor because they had their own system based on Faith, Hope and Charity, and the perfect law of liberty. The Roman system of mandatory and accounted contributions, penalties and guaranteed benefits was contrary to the ways of Christ, anti-Christ.
Christians did not apply to or pray to the Fathers in Rome, but depended upon brotherly love and their Father in Heaven who lives in the hearts of each man of the kingdom. The practiced pure religion without the assistance of the “world”.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
They did not call any "man on earth father" as Jesus instructed. You see all the Senators and congressmen of Rome were called "father" and the emperor was called the Patronus Romanus, Our father who art in Rome.
No, the Ten Commandments is not about religion. It is a government document. It is a founding document of "the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People."
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mt 6:33
Aditional articles on the Ten Commandments:
The Kingdom of Heaven
10 Laws and Orders
Bonds of Freedom from Shavuot to Pentecost #98 .2
Dear Network Networking Letter 98.2
The Apotheos of Washington http://www.hisholychurch.net/sermon/apotheos.HTM