Admit it, Texas: you want to be a theocracy

Also admit that you’re just trying to recover the title of Worst State in the Union from Florida.

Texas legislators have proposed a bill to require the display of the Ten Commandments in every classroom in the state.

Never mind that this is a blatant attempt to establish an official state religion, or that it’s going to face overwhelming legal challenges, or that every non-Christian child is going to be insulted and harmed by this stupid poster, or that every Christian bully is going to be empowered to torment Jewish and Muslim kids (yeah, it’s a Nazi kind of bill.) This is simply a bad law. I’m sure most teachers in the state, even the Christian ones, would prefer that the state support them with better salaries, more supply money, and better facilities.

Maybe they should also dictate that the posters be mounted on steel plates that can be used as shields, because they’re sure as hell not going to do anything more substantial to prevent school shootings.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    That’s a Protestant version on the 10.
    Won’t somebody think of the Catholics?

  2. markovnikov says

    Who’s going to explain “adultery” and “coveting thy neighbor’s wife, manservant (!), and maidservant” to the six-year olds?

    (Long time lurker, first time poster)

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    This is simply a bad law.

    Not yet. It is only a bill which has been proposed. A bad look, but easily buried in a committee. If it gets passed by at least on legislative chamber, that is far worse. If it gets signed into law by the state governor, then yes, it’s quite bad.

  4. cartomancer says

    The appropriate response, should this bill be enacted, would be to put up said poster, but alongside it to put up dozens of similar lists of rules. Code of Hammurabi, Rome’s Twelve Tables, Rules of Fight Club, that kind of thing. Such that the classroom wall is a whole montage of bullet-pointed nonsense.

  5. billseymour says

    markovnikov @2:  no problem…”bible believers” pay attention only to those parts of the bible that they can use as proof text to assure themselves that their god agrees with them.

  6. says

    Considering that Hamurrabi covered them all, I findit suspicious that the early jews had to wait hundreds of years for their god to come along and basically repeat a bunch of babylonian common sense. Their god’s a pretty sloppy operator.

  7. wzrd1 says

    What I love is, when such proposed laws pass, they then gripe over the expense of defending the indefensible in court. It’s like them pulling out a firearm, shooting their own foot, then complaining about the limp.

    I did hear a fascinating, repeated screed from a minister that I nicknamed “Fractured Fairytales”. He would visit weekly to regale us on how Oswald assassinated JFK because prayer was removed from schools by the courts and then proceeded to continue down history to describe how people came to this country because we were a theocracy. Each claim either requiring a time machine for it to work or not credible at all, as history reflected the polar opposite of what he was claiming.
    Case in point, Oswald was 24 when he killed JFK, prayer in school was overturned in 1962. For that effect to be present would require the usage of a time machine.

    There was another winner, who would weekly come in and regale us about “the armor of God”, then tangent off every time about Roman soldiers (apparently, they were the only people to ever wear armor in human history) wearing boots with spikes as offensive weapons (goose stepping to illustrate the preposterous attacks). That boots were introduced to Europe by invading Mongols in the 1200 – 1500 AD time frame, that was fascinating in and of itself. The notion of a Roman soldier with his foot stuck in a victim, also quite entertaining.
    My takeaway from the ministers and preachers missives is, the entire lot of them are fucking idiots. I’ve met far more intelligent potted plants.

    Oh, there was one other winner. An actually well respected minister bald faced lying about the Canadian government attacking churches, the example given, a church group squatted in other church group’s church, refusing to pay rent or when agreeing to buy the building, refused to pay and they were subsequently evicted. When I called him out on the lies, he sarcastically, in front of all, contemptuously exclaimed, “Well, excuse me! What do you want me to do?”. I looked at him and said, “I’d expect you to stop lying and do better, rather than embracing the Lord of the Lies”.
    That fucker was a former Army chaplain and wore a hat with his old unit affiliation on it and for some odd reason, a work related back brace typically worn while lifting heavy objects.

    They really hated when I began discussing Old Covenant vs New Covenant, as all 10 commandments were supplanted by one, that whole foreign notion of loving one’s neighbor – which Jesus said, but originally was in Leviticus.

  8. says

    At least the kids will be able to see why the adults do nothing to protect them from gun violence.
    There’s nothing in those commandments about protecting children. Simply not a priority.

  9. lasius says

    or that every Christian bully is going to be empowered to torment Jewish and Muslim kids

    To be fair, the commandments are pretty much the same in Judaism anyway (though the numbering may differ). They could then ask their probably christian teacher why there are so many graven images in the classroom.

  10. joel says

    What lasius said. The Ten Commandments are Jewish. It is worth asking when and how Christians decided the Commandments are actually Christian, and why so much of society now agrees.

  11. mamba says

    So Texas says these laws are absolute? Word of god and all so important to put in every classroom? Ok then, let’s see if they can even keep their words straight on the commandments themselves!

    “No graven images”…so every picture and status of Jesus is to be banned form the state buildings? Nobody allowed to use any pictures of Jesus? Just clarifying here, Texas, because you got a LOT of graven images!

    “don’t take the name in vain”. Texans swear using the name Jesus all the time! Like most people actually because it’s meaningless.

    “No killing, stealing, coveting…” You live in Texas FFS! The death penalty capital of the USA! Your politicians steal all the time, usually from teachers in this case but you got lots of examples to go through. And coveting? You’re Texas, the motto being “everything’s bigger in texas”. You pride yourself on coveting shit and grabbing all you can!

    “no false witness against neighbour…” If they are not white or american by birth, there will be lots of false witnesses to crimes, usually by lawmakers and frontline cops. Just look at the news.

    So they failed most of them before the sign’s even up, and this sign in a school is supposed to help things? All it does is show how hypocritical politicians really are when they’re in oppress.suck-up mode.

  12. rietpluim says

    though the numbering may differ

    I’ve never understood why the eleven commandments were called the Ten Commandments.

  13. flex says

    @11, feralboy12, wrote,

    There’s nothing in those commandments about protecting children.

    Sure there is, in the last one.
    Don’t you know that children are property?

    Although, to be fair, while the commandments they don’t say that another’s property shouldn’t be shot up. Just don’t covet it.

  14. says

    Far be it for me to suggest that this legislation is inconsistent with disdain for bilingual education. Ya gotta post the original, ya maroons! I doubt that any of the advocates of this legislation accurately read ancient Hebrew.

    Or Babylonian cuneiform.

  15. lasius says

    @13 joeal

    t is worth asking when and how Christians decided the Commandments are actually Christian, and why so much of society now agrees.

    But they are. Both modern christianity and judaism (and some other religions) descend from the ancient judaism that included the commandments into the Tanakh. Why should judaism have a better claim to them than christianity? That’s like asking why there are still monkeys.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    markovnikov @ # 2: Who’s going to explain “adultery” and “coveting thy neighbor’s wife, manservant (!), and maidservant” to the six-year olds?

    The same people who explain “porn star Stormy Daniels” to them: each other.

    (Remember all howling about “who’s going to explain” Monica Lewinsky to the kids?)

  17. birgerjohansson says

    As I am sure someone else has mentioned by now, there are two sets of different ten commandments.
    Going back to the old times, when rival branches of Christianity fought for control of the new territories and literally burned each other out of towns. Great fun.
    The language issue: demand parallel text in hebrew, aramaic, Oukemoi Greek and latin. Plus, of course, the King James version.
    If The Laundry is willing to help, we could also get a version in Old Enochian.

  18. robert79 says

    Strictly speaking, wouldn’t a poster of the 10 commandments explaining the objections to them meet the requirements to this law?

    The only two I fully agree with are:
    Thou shalt not kill (abolish the death penalty!)
    Thou shalt not steal (specifically when applied to capitalists/super-rich, for example tax evasion is theft)

    which for some reason I don’t think I the Texan interpretation…

  19. wzrd1 says

    Well, that whole thou shalt not kill got followed with laws that specified who got killed and how.
    Indeed, by Trump’s own admission, his adultery should’ve gotten him stoned repeatedly.
    And for some reason, I doubt that there’d be a shortage of neighbors who would refuse to cast a stone.

  20. says

    One fun way to flummox people weilding the 10 commandments is to ask “which version?” Most ‘murricans will think the 10c are the abbreviated version by Cecil B DeMille (half episcopalian, half jewish, hollywood elite) – the original English version I suppose. The county courthouse in Clearfield proudly sports a DeMille version, and I never got a reply to my enquiry as to whether they used a non-biblical version to skirt the establishment clause, or were merely ignorant..?

  21. outis says

    Well well, this could have some unexpected, amusing results.
    Children ain’t generally dumb, and the younger ones tend to take things quite literally.
    So for instance, they read the sacred thing about not killing, and they know damn well that daddy has a motherload of guns at home. Wonder what they are going to think, probably they’ll start forming opinions about how some people are so full of it, they slosh at each step they take. Mmmmm…

  22. says

    “10 Commandments”, bah!

    Where are the ones that say “Thou shalt not rape”, “Thou shalt not enslave others”, and “Thou shalt not commit genocide”? Oh that’s right, god likes those.

    You only need one commandment to be a decent human: “Don’t be an asshole”.

  23. vereverum says

    @ LykeX: don’t forget the Deuteronomy version.

    Subsection (c) has 12 commandments.

  24. wzrd1 says

    Marcus Ranum @25, the Geneva bible?
    @25, stoning was the sentence for adultery, per Leviticus.

    Are we sure they’re 10 or 12?

  25. says

    Arguably, there are only two commandments that are codified into the modern legal system. Thou shalt not kill, and thou shalt not steel. Arguably because maybe baring false witness would be another, but the other seven are “I am the lord thy God” really more of a statement. Thou shalt have no gods before me. And really the rest is a bunch of “worship ME and only ME” bullshit

  26. says

    Arguably, there are only two commandments that are codified into the modern legal system. Thou shalt not kill, and thou shalt not steel. Arguably because maybe baring false witness would be another, but the other seven are “I am the lord thy God” really more of a statement. Thou shalt have no gods before me. And really the rest is a bunch of “worship ME and only ME” bullshit

  27. wzrd1 says

    Ray, a few corrections. Steal, not steel, bearing, not baring.
    Steel is fine with the modern theocratic types, to shove up the ass of those who they don’t like and bare, what they like to do with altar and pool boys, rather than bearing a load of anything beyond bullshit.

    Don’t forget tidbits like “I am a jealous God”, because such insecurity implies perfection or something.
    Yeah, some elevators just don’t make it to the upper floors. :/

    I do have a belief some call lazy, that there may be a prime mover. I just cannot consider that prime mover being also so utterly inept as to design a universe where life is quite probable, comparatively, but so utterly inept as to have to also be a prime micromanager. That said, for all I know, this universe is simply a really large to us lab accident.
    Which is also quite reflective on reality.
    Religions did serve and can serve a purpose in moral guidance, absent other guidance, but societies also are self-guiding by nature and alter any religion or other belief system to suit their desires and eventually, any predatory type assuming control over a complacent society’s desires.
    That’s simply human history 101.
    Given my company is no less than Einstein and Bohr, to namedrop two, enough said.
    And I do agree with Bohr, “Einstein, stop telling God what to do!”. ;)
    Instructing an absentee landlord is rather a fools mission.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    “any predatory type”

    Yup. The austrian corporal had no problem bending the Christian hierarchies to his will, starting with a catholic bigwig that later became pope.
    See the book “Hitler’s Pope”.

  29. mcfrank0 says

    Does anyone know of a site that tracks the fate of these awful bills, especially here in Texas?

    A member of the Lege can certainly write a proposed bill. But I wonder how many are actually submitted, and, from there how many are actually advanced, passed, and signed?

    I wonder especially about all the bills proposed last year before the elections when the Lege doesn’t even meet except once every two years.

  30. says

    The translation they chose doesn’t name which god is giving these commandments: it just says “the lord.” Therefore, I will interpret the First Commandment to mean that Zeus is our god and we may have no other gods before him.

    (Of course, the original Hebrew does make it clear which god they are talking about, but the authors of this bill specified an English translation.)