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A Little Bible Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

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A number of letter writers have weighed in on the Ten Commandments controversy. Ed Buckner, secretary of the Georgia chapter of Americans united for Separation of Church and State, writes that "nowhere in or on the [Supreme Court] building is to be found any version of the text of the Ten Commandments." This is true. Let's suppose that there were crosses on government buildings or state seals like the one that was found on the seal of the city of Los Angeles? Would Americans United say these were OK because they don't bear the image of Jesus? Notice the faint image of the cross that used to appear on the seal. Why was it removed? Because the cross represented Jesus Christ and the Christian religion. So what do the numerous images of the Ten Commandment plaques represent? The actual words of the Ten Commandments. Then there is the oversize mural of the Ten Commandments hanging in the state Supreme Court building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The commandments are written out. Why hasn't this mural been painted over? Who is Mr. Buckner trying to fool?

Mr. Buckner goes on to claim that "those demanding the right to post the Ten Commandments violate at least two of them as they pretend to honor history. They want a graven image made, and they bear false witness in trying to impose their religious beliefs on others." Let's start with the supposed second violation first. What is he talking about? Who's bearing false witness? Ten Commandment advocates are bearing witness to the one true God and His moral demands. Mr. Buckner is confused.

Now to the first supposed "violation." God made the first set of Ten Commandments. So why would God make something that was a violation of the commandments that He wanted His people to believe and obey? Has Mr. Buckner ever read the second commandment? Quoting the King James version, it reads: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." If this is all the second commandment stated, then it would mean that no one could ever make an image of anything that represented anything else. But the Bible goes on to qualify the prohibition: "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." The prohibition concerns worshiping images. Ten Commandment advocates are not bowing down to the Commandment displays or serving (worshiping) them.

Another letter writer is opposed to the posting of the Ten Commandments because they are a "religious document" that "is not the Georgia or the U.S. Code of Law." In the Georgia General Assembly Unannotated code you will find the following instructions given to the state's archivist: "Encourage the study of historical documents including but not limited to those which reflect our National Motto, the Declaration of Independence, the Ten Commandments, the Constitution of the United States, and such other nationally recognized documents which contributed to the history of the State of Georgia" (45-13-41).

Laws prohibiting murder, theft, bearing false witness (perjury), and adultery are written into every law code of every state. Each and every state constitution recognizes God. These are religious statements. Why are laws laws? Why are certain behaviors prohibited by law? Because the State says so? Take God out of the picture, then everything is up for grabs. See what happens when legislators ever live consistently with the atheistic presuppositions taught in government schools. The only thing holding our society together is the schizophrenic belief that God is behind the law.

This same letter writer then goes on to protest the war in Iraq because it violates the sixth commandment "Thou shalt not kill." She says this law "is central to the Commandments." Now I'm really confused. I thought she just argued that the Commandments are not "the U.S. Code of Law." So how does a commandment that is not part of the U.S. Code of Law all of a sudden apply to the president of the United States?

Of course, anyone familiar with the Bible knows that the sixth commandment prohibits murder. If the sixth commandment prohibited all killing, then the Bible itself would be full of contradictions just one chapter later which supports the death penalty (Ex. 21:23, 29), self defense (22:2-3), and even war (Num. 1:28; 10:9; Det. 20:19; Ps. 144:1). In fact, the Bible says that there is a "time for war, and a time for peace" (Eccl. 3:8). Paul states in Romans 13:4 that the civil magistrate has legitimate authority to use the sword as "a minister of God."

There is a lot of confusion about the Bible, and these two letter writers go a long way to prove it.

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