A federal judge suggests that a school post only six of the ten commandments by removing the four that clearly mention God and the Sabbath.
The Narrows High School in rural Giles County in Richmond, Virginia, displayed the Ten Commandments until a parent sued by an appealing to the “separation of church and state.” Not only is it wrong to take away 40 percent of the Ten Commandments, it’s wrong to misrepresent the Constitution. There is no prohibition in the Constitution concerning posting the Ten Commandments. In fact, in Article 1, section 7, the following is found:
“If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a law, in like Manner as if he had signed it.”
Similar wording can be found in many state constitutions. What is the phrase “Sundays excepted” a reference to? The fourth commandment as it relates to the Christian faith.
Commandments have no meaning without the first commandment. If there is no God, then there are no commandments that are carved in stone.
Former Nightline host Ted Koppel said the following in a 1987 commencement address at Duke University:
What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions. They are commandments. Are, not were. The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments is that they codify in a handful of words acceptable human behavior, not just for then or now, but for all time. Language evolves. Power shifts from one nation to another. Messages are transmitted with the speed of light. Man erases one frontier after another. And yet we and our behavior and the commandments governing that behavior remain the same.1
There was a time when Koppel’s views were common because the general population of the United States, from farmers to government officials, knew the Bible and its moral precepts even if they didn’t always embrace all the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Mark Noll comments that “it should not be surprising that even the least orthodox of the founders of the nation paid attention to scripture, for they lived at a time when to be an educated member of the Atlantic community was to know the Bible.”2
Today, the law as summarized in the Ten Commandments has been removed from public view in the places where it is needed most — in our civil institutions which have become a law unto themselves and government schools where there is an atmosphere of moral relativism.
- Ted Koppel, The Last Word, Commencement Address at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (May 10, 1987). Quoted in Robert H. Bork, The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law (New York: The Free Press, 1989), 164. [↩]
- Mark A Noll, “The Bible in Revolutionary America,” The Bible in American Law, Politics, and Political Rhetoric, ed. James Turner Johnson (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), 39–40. [↩]