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The Ten Commandments Controversy


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Hans Zeiger

August 25, 2003

In a recent piece of hate mail, I was taken to task for using the term �God-given rights.� �GOD doesn't give rights; the CONSTITUTION does,� wrote the critic from Surf City, California. Actually, the constitution acknowledges the rights that are established in the Ten Commandments of God. Like Mr. Surf City, Judge Myron Thompson misunderstood the relationship between God and government when he ruled that Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore cannot display the Ten Commandments.

In this iconic battle between American values and liberal secularism, every political and social debate that is worth the fight will be won or lost. The Ten Commandments must remain on display in Montgomery, Alabama and in the hearts of Americans from coast to coast.

We are blessed to live in a nation where the Ten Commandments are the basis of our system of law and justice, as well as of our common moral code and culture. The law of God alone contains the actual rights to life, liberty, and property. The commandments are universal repudiations of every attempt by individuals and governments to murder, enslave, and steal.

The Founding Fathers recognized that government cannot grant rights by the same token that it cannot take them away. Instead, �All men are created equal . . . they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.�

The genius of the constitutional Bill of Rights is that it respects the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property granted by God. Instead of granting or creating rights, the Bill of Rights plainly asserts that government lacks certain rights. �Congress shall make no law . . .� �The right of the people . . . shall not be infringed.� �The right of the people . . . shall not be violated.� The Bill of Rights tells us what government cannot do.

But to become acquainted with the actual establishment of rights, we must turn to the moral law of God.

The First Commandment is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." In response to this commandment, the Left talks about �freedom from religion.� Yet from the First Commandment to the First Amendment, there is no such thing as freedom from religion.

In fact, the First Amendment doesn�t even grant freedom OF religion. God does. The first amendment simply says, �CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.� In other words, the federal government cannot touch our inalienable right to worship God, and to do so as we choose. But just as no person has the right to murder or to enslave or to terrorize, no person has the right to escape the presence of Almighty God.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court of 1838 described the First Amendment as one that, �embraces all who believe in the existence of God...[The First Amendment] does not extend to atheists, because they do not believe in God or religion; and therefore, their sentiments and professions, whatever they may be, cannot be called religious sentiments and professions.�

The Second Commandment says, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images." Because of this commandment, we don't worship statues of George W. Bush in our cities as the Iraqi people did in theirs under Saddam Hussein.

In the Third Commandment, we are commanded not to "take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." It is with great reverence that the framers of all 50 states acknowledged the guidance of Almighty God in the respective state constitutions.

The Fourth Commandment is, "Honor the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." Contrary to the popular bumper sticker, weekends did not originate from labor unions. The weekend is from the Judeo-Christian tradition rooted in the Fourth Commandment, and it is protected by federal laws, which, among other things, prohibit the delivery of mail on Sundays.

The American family is protected in the Fifth and Seventh commandments: "Honor thy father and mother"; "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

"Thou shalt not murder." The right to life is sacred. If the Left had its way with the Sixth Commandment, abortion would be unchallenged.

"Thou shalt not steal." The right to property is sacred. Without the Eighth Commandment, the possibilities for income taxes and property taxes could be limitless: universal health care, universal welfare, and universal diversity training.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." The truth is sacred, too. Without truth, there would be no justice and no absolute law.

"Thou shalt not covet." In a spirit of covetousness, the Left has coveted the American experiment � they have sought to claim it for their own.

We can�t let them. God bless Judge Roy Moore.

� 2003 Hans Zeiger - All Rights Reserved

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Hans Zeiger is a Seattle Times columnist and conservative activist. As an 18-year old Eagle Scout, he is president of the Scout Honor Coalition. He can be contacted at [email protected].






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