Monday, April 27, 2009

Thou shalt not be a moron

I just saw this on Pharyngula, and just had to post it. It's part of the Oklahoma GOP platform:
4. While the objective study of philosophy and religion can be beneficial, public schools should not be endorsing any specific religion or philosophy. We believe that students and teachers should enjoy the right of free exercise of religion.

5. We support posting the Ten Commandments and our Nation's motto, "In God We Trust," in all public schools in recognition of our religious heritage. U.S. citizens. We support teaching the intent of our founding fathers, the original founding documents, and the difference between a democracy and a republic.
That's hilarious! We should not endorse any specific religion, but we should post the Ten Commandments in public schools!

Were they thinking that because the Ten Commandments are part of more than one religion that this doesn't qualify as an endorsement of a "specific" religion? More likely, they just weren't thinking.


  1. But the 10 Commandments show up in both religions Baptists and Pentecostalists, so it's ok.

    What? You didn't know that all the others are evil spawn of Satan made to undermine America?

  2. A few points to consider:

    1. What do they mean by teaching intent of the founding fathers? The founding fathers were all deists not christians, Benjamin Franklin was an atheist. The bible does not allow freedom of religion in any set verse, the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution comes from Jefferson's Quran via the verse on "there is no compulsion in religion".

    2. Which version of the 10 commandments do they want to endorse since various christian denominations, and Judaism all have different versions of the 10 commandments. Judaism, unlike Catholicism and Protestantism, considers "I am the Lord, your God" to be the first "commandment." Catholicism, unlike Judaism and Protestantism, considers coveting property to be separate from coveting a spouse. Protestantism, unlike Judaism and Catholicism, considers the prohibition against idolatry to be separate from the prohibition against worshiping other gods. No two religions agree on a single list. So whose list should we post?

    And once we decide on a list, what translation should we post? Should Judaism's sixth declaration be rendered as "Thou shalt not kill" as in the popular KJV translation, or as "Thou shalt not murder," which is a bit closer to the connotations of the original Hebrew though still not entirely accurate?

    When a government agency chooses one version over another, it implicitly chooses one religion over another, something that the First Amendment prohibits. This is the heart of the controversy.

    One more thing to take note of is that there is no such thing as 10 "commandments" in the Torah. That's a christian misinterpretation.

    In the Torah, they are called Aseret ha-D'varim (Ex. 34:28, Deut. 4:13 and Deut. 10:4). In rabbinical texts, they are referred to as Aseret ha-Dibrot. The words d'varim and dibrot come from the Hebrew root Dalet-Beit-Reish, meaning word, speak or thing; thus, the phrase is accurately translated as the Ten Sayings, the Ten Statements, the Ten Declarations, the Ten Words or even the Ten Things, but not as the Ten Commandments, which would be Aseret ha-Mitzvot.

    The Aseret ha-Dibrot are not understood as individual mitzvot; rather, they are categories or classifications of mitzvot. Each of the 613 mitzvot can be subsumed under one of these ten categories, some in more obvious ways than others. But since christians don't follow the 613 mitzvohs, they never properly understood what the Aseret ha-Dibrot, and misinterpreted them as 10 "commandments" since the church fathers were clueless on the basics of the Torah.

  3. Duh, nobody is supposed to read the entire platform. You're only supposed to read the snippets they quote for you when it suits them.

    shalomo, glad to see that your smarter than all the Christians.

  4. e:

    I am all for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

    And you seem to be misinformed; I am NOT a christian, nor a Jew, nor an atheist, nor a deist, nor a buddhist, nor a hindu (well I do have hindu blood in me lol).

  5. then who are you? Kindly pigeonhole yourself.

  6. A cool quote from Imam Ali:

    "A man is either your brother in faith, or your equal in humanity"

    think of me as your equal in humanity e


  7. as they say in Yiddish, "Don't bang me a teakettle."