The Ten Commandments in front of government buildings? We might be better off as a society if we just erected a plaque with the words of Abraham Lincoln, instead | Street Jazz

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Ten Commandments in front of government buildings? We might be better off as a society if we just erected a plaque with the words of Abraham Lincoln, instead

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 4:02 PM

“Be excellent to each other.”

Yes, I know - and you know - that the the quote above is from a movie - Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) - but let’s face it - it’s probably as true as any film which has the deadly warning “Based on a true story.”

Besides, I have the sinking feeling that, like most folks, as a group the Men With Bad Haircuts in Little Rock probably fall into the category of folks who believe it when a movie brags about being a true story.

Those whose mantra is “Less government, unless we can pander to our base” crowd would like to see the Ten Commandments posted in Little Rock on the state capitol grounds, following the lead of other states which can’t quite figure out where the dividing line between religion and politics is.

No, I’m not going to launch into a bigoted sreed against Christianity, but instead am wondering about the constant cry that the Commandments form the basis for American law. Similar arguments could be made for posting the Code of Hammurabi in front of the state house, when you think about it.

Abraham Lincoln may not have said the above in precisely the manner in which he quoted, but in essence, much of his life was devoted to that one, simple philosophy.


Back, after substantial rewriting

Well, here is where putting aside a piece for a few hours, and judicious editing comes in. I had written his long - and ultimately boring - piece about each and every commandment, but literally thousands of people have done that for me already over the years.

There was nothing I had written which was particularly original, or even very interesting, truth to tell.

Stealing is bad, as is killing. We should have laws about that sort of thing.

There - three hundreds words replaced with just one line.

Don’t bear false witness? Well, libel or slander aside, perjury itself is rarely prosecuted - which might come as a surprise to those who trumpet the tired old line about perjury being “against the law,” as if the Ten Commandments were somehow responsible for perjury laws.

I’ve never been all that impressed with folks who insist we take the Sabbath off - no matter which day of the week they might choose - but spend that day watching sporting events - in short, watching other people work, and working pretty damned hard while they are at it.

Still, I’m okay with not making laws about it.

No, if the Men With Bad Haircuts in Little Rock, or anywhere else around the country want to put something inspiring up, they can’t go wrong with the most excellent words of Abraham Lincoln.

And maybe he didn’t utter these exact words, but they certainly echo things he really did say, and that’s good enough for me.

they are, truly, most excellent words for us all to live by.


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