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Republicans should rethink this Ten Commandments thing

By Amanda Marcotte
Sunday, April 24, 2011 13:31 EDT
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Happy Zombie Jesus Day!  A couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal let outspoken atheist Ricky Gervais write an article explaining how he follows the Ten Commandments better than most Christians.  It was amusing, but I feel he missed talking about one of the strangest ways that the Ten Commandments crops up in the modern era, which is because right wing nuts are pushing the list of ancient pronouncements of Yahweh to the Hebrews as some kind of moral formula for 21st century Americans. Louie Gomert in Texas is the latest example, as he's trying to get Texas to recognize "Ten Commandments Weekend" in the first weekend in May.  There's only one reaction to Republicans doing this nonsense, which is to try to catch them unawares and ask them to recite the Ten Commandments, which always has hilarious results.  Conservatives like the idea of the Ten Commandments, but don't know much about the actual Commandments themselves.  They just get hard thinking of commanding stuff. 

It's too bad, because one thing that strikes me about the Ten Commandments is they're not only silly for modern humans, but they're really incompatible with 21st century conservative ideology.  If they actually bothered to read them, they might rethink the whole idea.  So, to prove this theory, I thought I'd do a list like Gervais's, except to show how Republicans really shouldn't stand behind the Ten Commandments.

One: You shall have no other gods before Me. The commandment forbidding idolatry is one that Republicans should shy away from.  This commandment is a problem for Republican idolatry of money, corporate power, and Ayn Rand.

Two: You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  This is more anti-idolatry stuff, and Republicans are big time violators of this commandment with their heavy duty nationalism. Every time they wave a flag or paint some sentimental portrait implying that our founders agreed with them politically, they break this commandment.

Three: You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. Broken by every Republican who does something like demands a Ten Commandments monument or holiday without even knowing the content of the Commandments.  Also broken by politicians aping piety and anti-choicers who imply that the entire Bible is an anti-abortion diatribe. 

Four: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Depends on your opinion of preachers using the pulpit to get votes for Republicans.  I feel that's a violation of keeping the Sabbath holy.

Five: Honour your father and your mother. Obviously, this is a personal one, but I think Republicans are in constant violation of the spirit of this one when they claim that our country's founders were pushing a Christianist agenda.  Blatantly lying about the Founding Fathers is not honoring them!

Six: You shall not murder.  Needless to say, this commandment interferes with the murderous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were started under Bush.

Seven: You shall not commit adultery. This one would wipe out half of the politicians pushing the Republican agenda in one fell swoop if they took it seriously.

Eight: You shall not steal. Tell the Republicans who busted their ass to make sure the votes in Florida's 2000 election weren't counted.

Nine: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. This one means that you shouldn't claim that Iraq has WMDs and that Fox News would have to shut down.  Andrew Breitbart, James O'Keefe—oh fuck the entire right wing media—would be out of work.  This commandment is flouted thousands of times day.  Maybe more.  Yes, Obama is your neighbor and claiming he isn't and is instead a Kenyan national is a violation of this commandment.

Ten: You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s. Capitalism, the true religion of the right, would completely collapse without covetousness.  The American economy is based on looking at your neighbor's house, car, etc. and keeping up with the Joneses.  As for the "neighbor's wife" thing?  Let's just say sex sells in our economy.  Republicans can't support this commandment.  This commandment is socialism. 

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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