Archive for August, 2011

The Politics of the Ten Commandments

August 15, 2011

KJV 20:1-17

1And God spake all these words, saying,  2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.  7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.  8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:  11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.  12 ¶Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.  13 Thou shalt not kill.  14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.  15 Thou shalt not steal.  16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.  17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

 

NIV 20:1-17

1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Welcome to the ten commandments. I’ve read these many times, and always been inspired by them. They confirm what I know in my heart: that I am a sinner, and need God’s forgiveness.

When I read them a few days ago, however, I had a new reaction to them. After watching all the nonsense with the debt debate, it occurred to me that one political party, in particular, regularly violates these and encourages people to violate them. The other, while not perfect, is at least less flagrant about it.

My goal, today, is to go through the commandments and look at how the political movements in America react to them. I’m going to present each commandment in the NIV translations, but sometimes comment on the KJV as well, because it’s important to also recognize how people will use modern language to twist a much older translation into something it’s not.

1) I am the Lord your God…. You shall have no other gods before me.

Here, I deliberately skipped the part about God rescuing us from Egypt. Unless you are a Jew, or descended from one of the twelve tribes of Israel, it doesn’t apply to you. If you are a Christian you’ve been rescued from a metaphorical Egypt instead: sin.

For the nation of Israel to fulfill this commandment, they had to make religious instruction a major part of the lives of their children. They had religious holidays as special reminders of what God had done for them, and as teaching opportunities for the next generation.

What do we see today? Christians still show a natural desire to publicly display their faith, through crosses on the road, through public prayer, and through talking about Jesus. In the Republican party, this is generally supported. In the Democrat party, this is generally derided. In addition, the ACLU, which consistently supports Democrat causes, actively sues under the mythical “separation of church and state” to remove religious symbols wherever it finds them.

2) You shall not make idols.

Who are we to depend on for our sustenance? What shall be the embodiment of God, our provider, sustainer, and redeemer? For many people, the government fills that role. It used to be that someone in need would go to their local church for assistance, and seek to quickly get back on their feet. Today, those same people go to the unemployment office, the food-stamp office, government rental housing offices, etc. Many of those people never get off the system.

God has been taken out of the safety nets. The strange thing is, they were created by Christians, yet it is the Democrat Party that seeks to preserve them, despite the destructive effects they often have on people. Republicans question the wisdom of programs that fix nothing, and weaken people’s incentive to have relations with Christians.

3) You shall not misuse the name of God.

Let’s be honest. This has become a morass for our entire society. Disrespect for the name of God and Jesus is particularly bad in our entertainment media. Then again, so is mocking God and Christianity.

4) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

For most Christians, the Sabbath has been moved from Saturday to Sunday. In the Bible Belt, you can still find Blue Laws, laws meant to protect people’s ability to go to church by restricting how early most businesses can open on Sunday.

Respect for taking time off, preferably a full day, for time with God is eroding. The more Democrat-leaning a region is, the less respect their seems to be for taking time off to be with God.

5) Honor your father and your mother

As a frame of reference, in chapter 21, the penalty for hitting your father or mother was to be stoned to death. This was a serious command. It is also a command that is being eroded in many ways. How many of our nation’s elderly are subsisting on social security, instead of being taken care of by their children? Even as our parents to care of us as children, so we have a duty to take care of them when they become frail.

Unfortunately, when discussing programs like Medicare, or Social Security, we can’t talk about the adult children’s responsibility anymore. Everything is framed as a “right” to “what I paid into it”. Democrats are the champions of these programs, making the state responsible for honoring the elderly instead of their children.

6) You shall not murder.

Notice the word: murder. It does not say “Thou shalt not kill”. The KJV version does, but you have to remember that translation is over 400 years old! Language changes with time. Think about the phrase “You’ve got mail.” Now think about its meaning 30 years ago.

This is a command against the intentional taking of another person’s life. Chapter 21 clarifies that the penalty is death. Period. If it is an accident, there is no punishment, but deliberate murder has one punishment: death.

Also, note that this does not apply to warfare. That is not murder, though people are killed.

Which political party has moved away from this standard? I see Democrats running around shouting nonsense like “meat is murder”. I see Democrats decrying the death penalty as “inhumane”. I see Democrats calling brave soldiers “murderers”. I see Democrats killing babies in the mother’s womb.

If murder is indulged, you get more of it. I watch Beyond Scared Straight on a regular basis. Look at all the men and women who are serving life sentences for murder there. If you want to scare a kid, take them past the graveyard of those killed by lethal injection for murder. See how cool the kid thinks murder is then.

7) You shall not commit adultery

Just to clarify, God takes sex very seriously. If a man and woman have sex, they have either just become married, or the man has committed rape and is sentenced to die, or one or both of them has committed adultery and is sentenced to die. Sex is NOT a form of recreation!

With that said, which political party hands out condoms to kids, birth control to kids, and abortion on demand? If people are having sex while married, these shouldn’t be necessary. In all other cases, there is adultery going on.

8) You shall not steal.

Sounds pretty simple, right? And yet, the government takes property from the wealthy, to spend on programs that don’t work, that give money to those who are not working. The penalty for stealing was to repay the amount stolen, with an additional ten percent. These days, a thief gets tossed in jail, and the victim rarely gets their money back.

9) You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Tea partiers are terrorists!” “Conservatives are potential terrorists!” “Islam is the religion of peace!” Which party demonizes Christians?

10) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, animals, or other belongings.

Redistributing wealth” is two things: coveting what others have worked hard for, and then stealing it. Democrats don’t look to successful business men and say “Work hard so you can be like them,” they say “We’ll take what they worked hard for and give it to you!” Class envy, entitlement attitudes, these are all forms of coveting. It is the heart of the Democrat play book, and it is evil.