Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
The Observer is a heathen of some note, but we do love the Bill of Rights, the first of which allows us to do this job without some pencil neck from Our Lord's Glorious United States' Office of Forcible Holiness looking over our shoulder while tapping a red pen against her teeth. While we adore the Freedom of the Press stuff, the other half of the First Amendment is all about religion; specifically, how government shouldn't get in the religion business, nor tell any church how to run its railroad. So, understandably, The Observer was a little cheesed that one of the gifts the 90th General Assembly left for us before its members slouched back to their respective bridges and swamps is authorization for the construction of a shiny new monument to the Biblical Ten Commandments on the lawn of the Arkansas State Capitol.
Now, look, don't get Your Old Pal wrong. Believe what you want. Believe that we're just stardust, thrown together by the cosmic washing machine. Believe in the Father, the Son and the Son's Friend Steve. Believe life was deposited here by Ricardo Montalban detonating the Genesis Device in "Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan." Genuflect to your cat, your favorite tree, your toaster. No skin off the teeth of Yours Truly. But don't try to force everybody else to kneel, dance, dervish, gyrate, prostrate, glossolate or reverate the way you think it should be done. Don't try to force us to pray beside you, and we'll extend to you the same courtesy.
Some folks clearly don't get that. The Observer and James Madison, meanwhile, tend to think that the whole Separation of God and Gubmint thing has been working out pretty well for all of us over the past 223 years, three months and 20-odd days. And if it ain't broke, don't legislate it, stupid.
Still, now that the door to religious displays — ahem, we mean: "historical monuments" — in the shadow of the Capitol dome is open, we're going to go ahead and petition for our own. The Observer is fairly historic our own dang self, and we figure we'd better stake out our slice of public real estate while the gettin's good, before some Cargo Cult from Standard Umstead snatches up all the prime spots. Below is the proposed text for our monument. Rose granite, please, preferably planted right in front of Sen. Jason Rapert's parking spot.
1) Does what you're doing intentionally hurt somebody else? It's wrong.
2) Does what you're doing have a high potential to inadvertently hurt somebody else? Probably wrong.
3) If what somebody else is doing doesn't hurt you, have a high potential to inadvertently hurt you, clean out your checking account or kill your hydrangeas, mind your own gatdamn business. And no, having the delicate snowflake of your religious or personal sensibilities disturbed doesn't count.
4) Tip thy server. Well.
5) Thou shalt not assume I want sauce on my pulled pork sammich, nor pickles on my cheeseburger. Heed my words, for I am large!
6) Corporations employ people, but are not, in fact, people. Stop saying they are, because it makes all us real-life, non-incorporated people hate you.
7) Slow down. Go fishin'. Don't take life so seriously. Remember that in 150 years, unless you whip up the cure for cancer in your bathroom sink, nobody is probably even going to remember your name. Also remember: That's the way it's supposed to work.
8) Anyone who says being gay is a lifestyle choice must submit a notarized affidavit detailing the moment they decided to be straight.
9) Thou shalt watch "2001: A Space Odyssey" at least three times in thy life, with an open mind. It actually starts to sort of make sense the second time you watch it.
10) Be nice to each other, if you can. If you can't, you might want to think about staying home and watching TV.
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