The Big Ten

On occasion, one hears that (some version) of the ten ‘commandments’ of the old testament are the basis of our system of government.  Is there any validity to this statement? Although there are several versions of the ten commandments in the Jewish Bible, the most commonly recognized set are (from :http://www.bible-knowledge.com/10-Commandments.html)

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

1 – 4 violate both the establishment clause and freedom of expression clauses in the First amendment, as well as modern science, which leaves six.

6 and 8 are not special, and merit no attention, which leaves four.

7 is too narrow: it does not address spousal abuse, for example: only three remaining.

9 could violate the Fifth amendment and of the last two:

5 is the abused child amendment, hardly relevant in our contemporary society, and

10 is the basis of commercial advertising.

The final count of the Ten Commandments which are relevent to our government and life is: Zero

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