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The Ten Commandments Are Totally Not Religious

Tim Guffey, a Republican county commissioner in Scottsboro, Alabama, wants to erect a Ten Commandments monument there and he’s trying to mask the religious endorsement by adding the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to the monument. And he wants you to know that the Ten Commandments are totally not religious anyway.

Tim Guffey told AL.com that “I’m trying to…erect a monument of historical documents. It’s the Constitution, the Ten Commandments and the Declaration of Independence. I feel like that’s what this country was founded on. These documents helped America become the greatest country in history.”

He said that the Ten Commandments were only included because of their historical value, arguing that their influence on the other documents is a matter of historical, not religious, import. “I just can’t see how you could explain a Constitution – why it was written the way it was written — without understanding why those men wrote it the way they wrote it,” he said. “I feel like taking that document out, if that document wasn’t there to guide them, then our Constitution wouldn’t be what it is today.”

“The Ten Commandments is a historical document and it has nothing to do with religion,” he continued. “It shows that these founders had great beliefs in God and the Ten Commandments and His Word and it helped them get to the point where they were. Their feeling was God helped them build the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. If you read all of the writings of John Adams, Patrick Henry, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, they speak about how that was their foundation that helped them interpret and write a great Constitution.”

So. Much. Nonsense. As I’ve pointed out many times, this claim that the Ten Commandment was the basis of the Constitution is simply ridiculous. 7 of the 10 commandments would be unconstitutional if passed into law in this country. That fact alone makes the claim utterly ludicrous. And I’d certainly be interested in hearing Guffey defend his false claim that those men said that the Ten Commandments was the “foundation” that helped them write the Constitution (especially Patrick Henry, who opposed the Constitution, for crying out loud).

He then expressed admiration for state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who erected a monument to the Ten Commandments in 2001 that was taken down in 2003. However, he noted that “when Judge Moore did the monument, it was for the Ten Commandments. It was for religious purposes. And I commend him. He believed it was his right to put that up and he was going to stand on it.”

“This situation is not that situation,” Guffey insisted. “I’m trying to show people where [the historical documents] came from.”

So this whole thing is just based on one big falsehood. And it’s been tried before. McCreary County, Kentucky tried an identical display and it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2005.

Comments

  1. Michael Heath says

    It’s interesting how conservative Christians are so wedded to the 10cs when it comes to their political behavior. How often do we hear this same population of Christians promoting the Beatitudes within the same context? It might be zero observations for me; I think I’d be shocked enough to remember if it ever happened.

  2. D. C. Sessions says

    McCreary County, Kentucky tried an identical display and it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2005.

    That was a different Supreme Court. Better luck this time around?

  3. Larry says

    I forget, which clause of the Constitution am I violating when I covet my neighbor’s hot, young wife?

  4. AsqJames says

    “I just can’t see how you could explain a Constitution – why it was written the way it was written — without understanding why those men wrote it the way they wrote it,”

    Someone needs to give him a crash course in Enlightenment philosophy and Locke in particular.

  5. Alverant says

    “7 of the 10 commandments would be unconstitutional if passed into law in this country. ”
    And the other three are often ignored by christians when they become inconvenient. Wait, I was wrong, ALL of them are often ignored by christians when they become inconvenient.

  6. says

    Michael Heath “How often do we hear this same population of Christians promoting the Beatitudes within the same context? It might be zero observations for me; I think I’d be shocked enough to remember if it ever happened.”
    The Beatitudes are for me, to remind me how great I have it. The 10Cs are for other people, to remind them of their place. And since I don’t have it so great, all I have is pushing around those below me.

  7. busterggi says

    Fine, post the Ten Commandments but then post the ones actually called the Ten Commandments in the bible, you know the set icluding the one about boiling baby goats in their mother’s milk because that’s quoted right in the Constitution.

  8. says

    He then expressed admiration for state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who erected a monument to the Ten Commandments in 2001 that was taken down in 2003. However, he noted that “when Judge Moore did the monument, it was for the Ten Commandments. It was for religious purposes. And I commend him. He believed it was his right to put that up and he was going to stand on it.”

    “This situation is not that situation,” Guffey insisted. “I’m trying to show people where [the historical documents] came from.”

    Moore erected his mounment in order to make America a Christian nation. Guffey is trying to show that America has always been a Christian nation. See? Totally different!

  9. sinned34 says

    I forget, which clause of the Constitution am I violating when I covet my neighbor’s hot, young wife?

    Or which clause of the Constitution I’m violating when I have other gods before Yahweh. Gods such as, in no particular order: Mikael Akerfeldt, Martin Brodeur, and Charlie Papazian. (Note: this is a horribly incomplete list of those I consider greater than the biblical god.)

  10. scienceavenger says

    “The Ten Commandments is a historical document and it has nothing to do with religion,” he continued. “It shows that these founders had great beliefs in God and the Ten Commandments and His Word…

    In other news, Sports Illustrated announces that the swimsuit edition has nothing to do with sex appeal. It shows some really hot babes.

    Seriously, do these people hear the words that come out of their mouths any more?

  11. matty1 says

    @1 and 6

    The wingnut beatitudes are used all the time.

    Blessed are the warmakers for they shall grow rich
    Blessed are the wealthy, cause that’s obvious right
    Blessed are the white of skin for they shall be called sir by police officers

  12. Reginald Selkirk says

    I feel like that’s what this country was founded on.

    As I’ve pointed out many times, this claim that the Ten Commandment was the basis of the Constitution is simply ridiculous…

    Ed, don’t confuse the issue with facts. He has a sincerely held religious belief that the country was founded on the 10 commandments. Why do you hate freedom of religion?

  13. John Pieret says

    7 of the 10 commandments would be unconstitutional if passed into law in this country.

    But that’s only now after the War of Northern Aggression and those commie cronies of Abe Lincoln passed the 14th Amendment and made the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. Up to then the states were free to establish whatever religion they wanted and violate the rights of anyone they wanted.

  14. says

    So a list of commands made on humans by a deity has nothing to do with religion.

    Wingnuts seem to believe that they can win any argument merely by redefining words to mean the opposite of what they normally mean.

  15. D. C. Sessions says

    Wingnuts seem to believe that they can win any argument merely by redefining words to mean the opposite of what they normally mean.

    Based on the record, they seem to be right.

  16. Michael Heath says

    sinned34 writes:

    Gods such as, in no particular order: Mikael Akerfeldt . . .

    I’m a fan; my favorite time to listen to Opeth is when I’m snowshoeing on a dark stormy day. I see only the nordic gods out and about on such days.

  17. says

    I’m reminded of the many Christianists who have pushed for the “civic deism” interpretation of “under God” in the Pledge and “In God We Trust” on money: they are so focused on getting their religion presented that they have no problem denigrating it as something that should be completely ignored.

  18. Chiroptera says

    7 of the 10 commandments would be unconstitutional if passed into law in this country.

    And the other three aren’t provisions in the Constitution.

  19. njosprey says

    “I am the Lord thy God…” vs. “We the People..” Commandments vs. democracy.

    Not only do these Xtians completely leave out the Beatitudes, these constitutional experts completely miss that Article VI states, “but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    You’d think that the Founders, influenced as they were by the Ten Commandments, would leave out this particular clause.

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