The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 16, 2014: Alabama and the Ten Commandments – Again

Tim Guffey, a commissioner in Jackson County, Alabama, who can best be remembered from me mentioning his name three seconds ago, has proposed doing what got current Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore removed from his office about a decade ago. For reasons defying both logic and common sense, Alabamans not only let the highest judicial officer in their state be elected by the people, they proved this was a bad idea by re-electing Roy Moore as their Chief Justice. Roy Moore got himself in trouble when he installed a monument to the religious aspects of the Ten Commandments on the public property housing the court house and refused to remove it when a federal judge ordered him to do so. Now a county commissioner wants to do the same thing, except he claims the Ten Commandments are a “historical document” and that without them, there would have been no Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution (the real historical documents beside which he wants to place the religious one.) Here’s the primary flaw in that argument: There’s absolutely no historical evidence that the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments is remotely true. So it can’t be an historical document.

What evidence exists, outside the religious texts within which they were included, that the events described about Moses and how he came to be in possession of these tablets are true? None! It’s just a story. If you want to believe it literally happened that way, do you also believe that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and survived inside it for three days only to be spit out onto dry land to live and complain some more? Of course, you have to start with a belief in a god to believe such a story could possibly be true (apart from the lines God had in the story), just as you would have to have a belief in a god to believe that Moses watched the Finger of God write the Ten Commandments into stone slabs on the mountain wall, or however it happened in Cecile B. DeMille’s movies the Bible. Which means it’s impossible to think of the Ten Commandments in something other than a religious context. Speaking seriously (I know my readers), have you actually read the Ten Commandments? Do you know what the very first one roughly translated into English (how convenient) reads? “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shall have no other gods before me.” Would you seriously argue that whatever else it says, it can have anything other than a religious context?

And while it may have influenced some of our nation’s Founders (BTW, Snopes does a great job of destroying some Conservative Christian beliefs as the myths they are about quotes from the Founding Fathers, and of our government buildings. Oh, and John Adams did say, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.”), that does not justify giving it such a place of prominence on the public property of the citizens of a secular nation, which we are. Benjamin Franklin was well-known for being a womanizer, which was used to great advantage in gaining support for our nation in its early history. Should we be putting monuments to his libido on public property? Of course not. It doesn’t matter what influenced these men personally, because it wouldn’t work for everybody. And when as a public servant you try to claim that a religious story should be treated equally with historical fact by the taxpayers, you cross a serious line against which Thomas Jefferson, one of your heroes, warned should never be done. Religious fundamentalism, whether it’s in the Middle East or Jackson County, Alabama, is never a good thing for a people who value freedom.

This is our daily open thread. Discuss whatever you wish to discuss.

88 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 16, 2014: Alabama and the Ten Commandments – Again

  1. “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.”

    Kudos to John Adams — I couldn’t agree more. And Jefferson wasn’t exactly a religious enthusiast either.:

    “Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” ~Thomas Jefferson

    I don’t understand what’s so hard about keeping one’s religious beliefs to oneself, to knock off the proselytizing, to just shut up and live happily and secure within whichever religious cocoon seems appropriate. I must be missing something (and if so and if god wasn’t a myth, I’d thank it — in silence)

    • I’m certain every Christian who supports making this a theocracy assumes that his particular flavor of Christianity would be the law of the land. That’s the path to the kind of sectarian violence we see in other parts of the world, as well as in European history.

      • Christians can’t even play well with other Christians. It is amazing how the One True Word of their God has spawned several thousand interpretations. And only a few are even faintly related to any of the others.

    • “I don’t understand what’s so hard about keeping one’s religious beliefs to oneself,…”
      Fear, and control.
      Fear that their inner doubts about their beliefs might be real. Inner doubts are the still small voices raising questions about the mystery of the world that gave rise to consciousness in the first place.
      Religion as institutions are little more than methods to control labor (people), territory and resources.
      I was bewildered in my youth by the variety of Christian sects and their bickering and infighting, over the past decade knowledge of the even more splintered Muslim based religions is even more dismaying.

      • The louder and more belligerent a person is about their religious beliefs the more they are trying to drown out those inner voices.

        • I think this is also true for beliefs other than religious. Loud and blind adherence to any party line is a search for safety and certainty in a world that guarantees neither.

          • I agree completely. Even the richest people who can buy the finest ‘security’ blankets are going to run out of food, energy and bullets.
            Security is an illusion. Like happiness, it’s a pursuit of a state of mind.

  2. Ted Cruz: ‘I Am Proud To Stand With Rick Perry’

    How about sitting with him — in the same cell.

    • I hope someone will stop me from making a remark about this man’s appearance. I know it’s wrong to judge someone by how they look. I’m sort of stuck with the idea that absent a gun, this individual might have a difficult time projecting authority, and he might feel rather bad about that.

      • I won’t stop you because I had the same thought. Oh well, we be just bad people, and I can’t muster up a command to go to my corner. Sad man who has blood on his hands, low self esteem, and a loaded glock. An American man, a 21st century American man with the authority to execute anybody who stands in his way of his delusions.

        • wordpress needs an edit button. Come on guys ya really can’t provide that service.
          Anyhoo………”who stands in THE way of…blahblahblah

  3. meanwhile, back at the ranch….

    Once upon a time, in a far away land, a little girl lived with her evil step mother. The evil step mother enrolled the little girl in a school that taught the little girl to believe in the evil step mother’s religion. The girl’s real mother objected, and besought the King’s Judges to let her choose which school her daughter would attend. The real mother sought counsel from a wise man who, through great troubles and inconvenience to himself, searched far and wide for authorities to support the mother in her quest.

    Alas, he could find none. For the authorities all stated that the more the evil step mother sought to indoctrinate the little girl into the evil step-mother’s religion, the more the little girl would distance herself from the evil step mother and draw near to her real motherl

    To those who have an ear, they will understand the story. To those who don’t, ’tis ok. This story was not meant for you.

    Peace & Blessings, friends.

    • …the more the little girl would distance herself from the evil step mother and draw near to her real mother!

      Please let that be so, and then the little girl will have a well-rounded education instead of the blindly follow, never question religion of the evil step-mother.

      • if so, then the story wasn’t meant for you. please take no offense. this portends to be a happy ending to a saga that began late last spring. If you’ve been following, then your understanding will be right.

      • He was my favorite. I used to go to a local stationary store, who had a whole card section devoted to Mr. Larson, and laugh my arse off, so much that a young lady came over to see if I was okay. I guess laughing is a sickness, or somebody complained about the loud snorting, and guffawing.

  4. Citizen journalists are the most informative! Unafraid of pushing forward for the truth!
    Again, thanks for the link, house!

    • You’re welcome. I thought the curfew might be worth monitoring. The rain settled things down as much as anything. It really came down hard there for a while.

    • It’s not a joke when a Governor tries to force the head of the Public Corruption unit to resign so he can appoint her replacement, with the objective of getting the heat off his using the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas as a political slush fund. Wendy Davis’ opponent for governor, Greg Abbott, is also up to his neck in the same scandal.

      Unlike Wyatt Derp, it’s not a joke.

  5. Danica starts 14th today at Michigan. She ought to have used up all her bad luck in the last three weeks…

    • No, she just wrecked. The closest car was Jeff Burton in Tony Stewart’s 14 car. I couldn’t tell if he came down or she went up but she hit his left rear with her right front. The car is still on the lead lap, but the aero won’t be as good with the repairs.

    • Right now she’s .2 seconds slower than Jimmie Johnson on tires with the same number of laps on them. Maybe the car isn’t too bad after all.

    • Restart with 17 laps to go, and Danica is back onto the lead lap, in 18th place.

    • She finished 18th, on the lead lap, at the end. It took her almost half the race to get her lap back.

      For Wayne’s mom: Jeff Gordon won!

  6. A million apologies for not posting a Sunday Roast today!! I’m just now leaving Portland, so probably won’t post one today. 😦

  7. Mel, the cat, just showed his ‘jungle side’: run when the old lady attempts to pick you up to be put in the carrier! I’m fortunate that he doesn’t/didn’t bite or claw me. Clawing he is — to get out of the carrier.
    There’s a low cost vaccination clinic – I aim to be in the front of the line so we don’t have to wait too long!

    Here’s hoping Mellow lives up to his name!

    • Good old Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes, almost got it right in tonight’s report on the Obamacare Gap in Appalachia:

      These patients would be taken care of in the 26 states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare. The Federal Government pays the extra cost to the states for three years. But Virginia, and the others that opted out, fear that the cost in the future could bankrupt them.

      And 90% or more from now on. These states have plenty of time to adjust, but Pelley lies by omission.

      Scott, have you been listening to Marco Rubio?

      The federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost of adding new adult Medicaid beneficiaries from 2014 to 2016.

      The federal government will scale down its payments to 95 percent in 2017, 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019, and 90 percent in 2020, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

      The 90 percent level is permanent. States will not have to shoulder more than 10 percent of the cost after that, unless Congress passed a law to change the ratio.

    • Oh you are so perceptive… I have as of this hour finished the kayak, it sits on the grass waiting to be loaded onto the truck for the first time…. an 8 month project in duration, it’s a dream boat if I do say so myself. It may be time to head downriver…………………………………………………………………………. !

    • Attorney: Dorian Johnson confirms he was with Brown at store robbery

      The friend who was with Michael Brown when he was shot and killed by a police officer near St. Louis over the weekend is reportedly confirming that he and Brown had taken part in the theft of cigars from a convenience store that day.

      So, it was a different store? I can’t nail the details down in this story. The Ferguson PD keeps moving the goalposts on me.

      • Okay, so Michael Brown and his friend committed a “strong-arm robbery” (which, I presume, is a legal distinction to mean the use of one’s physical arms, and not with any weapon of any kind.) It doesn’t matter.

        Even if Michael Brown reached into the police car to attack the officer in some way, and the cop fired his gun at Brown, hitting him in the head, accidentally or purposefully, it doesn’t matter.

        What matters is that after Brown was ;lying on the ground, fatally bleeding from the head, Warren fired more shots into Brown’s defenseless dying body.

        That police officer needs to go to prison for a very long time. That was not self-defense, that was an execution.

        • Police officers seem to have anointed themselves judge and executioner, without a trial for the accused.

  8. It’s starting early tonight in Ferguson. CNN and MSNBC are covering live right now.

  9. Move unless you want me to shoot you.

    Eff the police! This is not a war zone…it’s a city in the U.S.
    Not even curfew time.

  10. Report: Teen shot 6 times, including twice in head

    The New York Times reported (http://nyti.ms/1mZThz0 ) that the autopsy by Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner, found that one of the bullets entered the top of Michael Brown’s skull, suggesting that his head was bent forward when he suffered a fatal injury.

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