Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Giles County's Unconstitutional Ten Commandments Decision

I know everyone thought I'd been raptured, since I've been terribly neglectful of this blog for the last month, but I promise, I'm still here, and still in Blacksburg, even.

In fact, I'm still meeting up with the Freethinkers, and we are doing epic things this summer! Yesterday's epic adventure was our trip out to the Giles County School Board Meeting to show our support for keeping the “historical documents” display – the one that includes the Ten Commandments – out of public schools. This has apparently been an issue since at least 2004, and probably much longer.

Just to be clear, in my personal opinion, the Ten Commandments has no place in a display of historical documents that were instrumental in the formation of American law. In fact, 70% of the Ten Commandments aren't addressed at all in American law codes. Last I checked, we were still allowed to disrespect whomever we pleased, have whatever deities or idols (or lack thereof!) we care to have (in whatever order we want), party all day on Sundays, swear however we like, covet anything we damn well want, and, in many states, have sex with anyone willing and of age and sound mind (at any rate, there's no federal law governing adultery); only murder, theft, and bearing false witness are illegal on a federal level. Beyond that, I think I can go out on a limb and say that most – if not all – legal codes have always and still do include admonishments against murder, theft, and lying to get other people in trouble and/or cover your own ass. There is no real evidence or support for the claim that the Ten Commandments are historically significant in the codification of United States law.

On a related note, I'd like to put forth that if they wanted to put up something really old that influenced United States legal tradition (and probably legal traditions in much of the modern world), they need look no further than the Code of Hammurabi. It is the oldest recorded legal code ever discovered, after all, and it even covers murder, theft, and false witness.