The Watering Hole, Wednesday, October 28, 2015: U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments

So many folks claim the U.S. Constitution is based on the Bible that I thought I’d check it out. Using “The Google” and other advanced research tools, I discovered a rare unpublished U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. McCarthy (1958) 357 U.S. 579, that examined the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments.

In this case, Roe, an unnamed Godless heathen atheist suspected of ties to the Communist Party challenged a subpoena issued by McCarthy’s Communist witch-hunt committee. The Supreme Court largely sided with Roe. Fortunately for McCarthy, he died about a year and a half before the decision was handed down.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the Supreme Court’s holdings.

1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3.)

This Commandment runs afoul of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Congress cannot force through legislation someone who chooses to have some other god before the God referenced in Exodus 20.

2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6.)

This Commandment runs afoul of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech”. This Court has long held the view that freedom of speech includes artistic expressions. [citations] The Constitution itself acknowledges this in Article I, Section 8, clause 8, granting to Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” And, for the reasons stated supra, Congress cannot prohibit people from bowing down to worship works of art. Further, any attempt to punish offspring to the third and fourth generation would violate the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7.)

This, too violates the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and religion clauses.

4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11.)

Once again, Congress cannot, through legislation, require anyone to remember anything. Nor can it mandate a six day work-week. The reference to servants runs afoul of the 13th Amendment banning slavery.

5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12.)

The phrase “honor your father and your mother” is unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous. However, laws that prohibit elder abuse would likely be found constitutional, as the State has an interest in protecting our elders from assault and battery.

6. “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13.)

This Commandment passes constitutional muster. It is against the law to commit murder, either intentionally or negligently. Indeed, this Court has long upheld laws making abortions after quickening illegal.

7. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14.)

This, too, passes constitutional muster. The State has an interest in protecting the sanctity of marriage. This includes regulating sexual conduct within the confines of a marriage, as well as prohibiting sexual conduct outside the marital relationship.

8. “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15.)

Once again, laws prohibiting larceny and theft are constitutional.

9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16.)

This Commandment, too, is constitutional. The State has an interest in prohibiting perjurious testimony.

10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17.)

This Commandment cannot be given constitutional authority. Congress cannot, through legislation, force anyone to not desire their neighbor’s possessions, although it can, to a degree, prohibit people from acting on those desires, by, for example, prohibiting the unlawful taking of one’s neighbor’s possessions.

Further, such a Commandment undermines the very basis of our capitalistic economy which is built upon the desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” We have an entire advertising industry built upon creating desires to have and possess the goods and services enjoyed by others.

As for desiring one’s neighbor’s wife, divorce is constitutional in the United States [citations].

Of the Ten Commandments, only Commandments numbers 6 through 9, inclusive, are constitutional. This being a minority of the Ten Commandments, it is the majority opinion that the Constitution is not based on the Ten Commandments. The petition for extraordinary relief is granted.

******

Unfortunately, this decision was ordered unpublished, which means it is not binding precedent. That means these issues can be litigated again and again. This author found it fascinating to note that somethings have changed since this 1958 ruling. Laws banning adultery and regulating sexual conduct between consenting adults, for example, have been stricken. Roe v. Wade struck down a law prohibiting abortion after quickening, and that debate rages on.

Meanwhile, there are those who still seek to impose the Ten Commandments on everyone, the First Amendment be damned. There is, however, an interesting push-back to their efforts.

A controversial statue that was once going to be installed on the Oklahoma State Capitol’s front lawn was unveiled in Detroit.

The Satanic Temple unveiled the bronze goat-headed statue in Detroit over the weekend.

According to WDIV, hundreds of supporters and protesters turned up for the event.

The monument was originally intended to be located next to the Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma City until the Oklahoma State Supreme Court banned religious displays on Capitol grounds, including the Ten Commandments monument. … Greaves told The Washington Post the statue will not remain in Detroit. Right now, they plan on installing the statue in Arkansas, where the legislature approved a privately funded monument of the Ten Commandments at the state’s Capitol.

OPEN THREAD

Oh, and on a totally different note, Hillary Clinton, recognizing the boost in her polling numbers against Bernie Sanders following her 11 hours of testimony at the Benghazi hearing is asking behind closed doors that the committee continue its investigation for another full year, promising to appear and testify any time her poll numbers drop.

89 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Wednesday, October 28, 2015: U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments

  1. Tonight. Boulder CO, Colorado Univ. campus in its 11,000 seat “auditorium.” Third Republican “debate.” The RNC has been very generous to U.C. and its 30,000 students. They have allowed U.C. faculty, staff, and student body a total of 150 tickets. Wow.

    We won’t be watching the event. No need to. We just finished binge watching, courtesy of Netflix, all 233 episodes of Criminal Minds. Even the GOP can’t be expected to add anything we’ve not already seen.

    I am glad I remembered the debate is tonight, though. Reminded me that today is garbage day. Time to get the can down by the road. Thanks, GOP.

  2. The Judeo-Xian Ten Commandments pale in comparison to the worship of Crom, the gloomy god of the Cimmerians. Crom could care less about how you govern yourselves, as long as you slay your enemies and keep this religion crap to yourself.

  3. One really big thing I’ve never been able to figure or to make sense of is why so many pay attention to the bible. Baffles me. An antique volume written by faded men that is so completely void of useful content is not something I would ever expect anyone with a functioning brain to indulge in for more than, say, thirty secs in a lifetime. Only thing I can figure is that there must be some really heavy-duty indoctrination out there somewhere. Damn glad I missed out.

    • Because hell is the absence of reason and ignorant people need a crutch and a way to fix blame.

  4. Truly entertaining to read BnF!
    I’m not watching the debate either. I think zombie Reagan would be a better choice than either of the two GOP front runners.

    • Would love to see some Weekend At Bernie’s action with the rotting corpse of Raygun propped up at a podium with sunglasses and a wig…Would be the most intelligent candidate on stage.

    • My autistic grandson is currently suspended from school. He was screaming when asked to transition from an art project. The so-called school resource officer threatened to handcuff him if he didn’t stop screaming. He is 11.

      • That just makes me sick, OIMF. A child behaving like a child, autistic or not, isn’t an effing crime. Heck! A child acting like an adult shouldn’t be a crime either.

        I was a precocious child and Dad had some more colorful descriptions but, since he was largely responsible, they were usually tongue in cheek. About a week into 8th grade geography I realized a few things. The teacher was, first and foremost, the basketball coach and they gave him geography because he could just tell us to color in maps while he talked about basketball and trapping gophers with the jocks and farm kids. I also realized he was a moron. So? The second Monday, instead of going to class, I marched into the principal’s office and told him; “I’m here to learn, not play with crayons and listen to an ignorant savage talk about trapping gophers”. Before he stopped laughing I proposed that I would like to take and pass the final exam and start taking German a year early. Well? Then my parents arrived and we had a very productive discussion and I refused to back down. A week later I took the final exam, scored 100%, and got out of the class but was assigned an extra study hall rather than being promoted to German class. I still got more out of that study hall than I ever would have gotten from spending more time with said “ignorant savage”. I don’t think I had any homework for the rest of the year and I got to read a dozen or so Edgar Rice Burroughs books; except for the one that the study hall monitor took away from me because of the racy cover art. I have little doubt that pulling a similar stunt in today’s climate would have landed me in some sort of “reform program” and/or gotten me beaten within an inch of my life by the “resource officer”.

        • That’s an awesome story. I could be a bit disruptive myself. I would have been beaten for non-compliance as well. I know my poor grandson could not actually have stopped himself. We in the family can generally calm him before he gets to the point of complete meltdown. I’ve no idea why the teacher cannot. I’ve no idea how handcuffing him would be beneficial, Virginia calls the police on students, and refers them to the court system, at the highest rate in the nation. Special needs and minority students are disproportionately affected by this.

          • One of my more notable disruptions: I drew and hung posters depicting lady justice as a whore for sale to whomever had the most money next to all the posters promoting the school’s “Law Day”. I was 14.

  5. Quick question — Does anyone know when god wrote the bible? Must have been before the seventh day when he rested, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard for sure which day it was.

    If only I was in Boulder tonight. I could ask Ben, maybe pHuckabee if Ben doesn’t know.

    • Well there’s, 800 or so BC, then there’s 70 or so AD, and then a few more times between then and the first Latin versions in the 400s. Then I suppose there is about 1600 for the King James, and a few more times up to the 1800s.

      • And this is really strange – that in writing all these versions, none are the same because She mistranslates from one language to the next and so the first one and the last are rad different. And I am skipping the Book of Moron …. that was clearly written by a Moron, that’s why it is called the Book of Moron

      • Yah butt if god could create the entire fucking universe and everything in it in just six days, he surely wouldn’t have needed more than a second or two to write the bible. Right?

        I’m thinking that maybe humans wrote it and then lied about it. I suspect humans still do stuff like that even at this late date.

        Ben would know, brain surgeon and all.

    • It’s funny, I don’t remember evolution being taught my school (class of 62.) Fossils were being discovered and reported in the news and my father subscribed to 10+ magazines, two different newspapers, one with 2 editions on weekdays and the Wall Street Journal. My father also brought home a variety of specialty business magazines and manufacturers’ promotional pamphlets. He also had at least 300 books in the house and I had a library by the time I was 10. I also found stacks of Stars and Stripes papers he collected while serving in WW II and the hiding place of his Playboys! I suppose having absorbed some knowledge about a variety of subjects from the materials I had access to and being a somewhat intelligent boy, by the time I was 14 I had concluded that what was being taught n Sunday school was pure bullshit. But that was also when I began to sing with the youth choir. That was a decision that was made by the non-thinking head!

        • There was A girl, Joyce Marie! While I was in the Navy, she graduated HS and began attending a religious college. After I got out of the Navy she dumped me because she felt I was against everything she was for in her Christian life. She was correct!🙂

          • My main crush in 11th grade was attending Mass with her parents one hot sunday morning. I was standing room only packed into the aisle on the wall. You know, the one with the window I was vacantly staring out of, wishing the torture would end…
            Her parents forbade her to ever speak to me again after witnessing this godless act of sheer boredom.
            Oh well, it never would have worked out….

      • I beat you in the dismissal. I was 13.🙂 As far as evolution is concerned, I don’t recall it being taught in HS, but when I got to college (’60) the concept was not at all weird or strange, so I suppose it was at least mentioned in HS. In S. Mn, however, there was little or no fundie shit, so evolution wouldn’t have been an issue.

        • I took biology during my sophomore year, 1984-1985. The first semester, the publisher of the the 3″ thick text book sent several supplements due to important developments in Aids and DNA research. The second semester we had to purchase an entirely different text book for about $50 and were left with an outdated text with no buyback value!

          • Just remembered — in college biology 60-62 the professor(s) would mention evolution frequently, but they would always say “evolution, quote unquote.” Of course, my first two years were at a Lutheran college in Iowa; spring of ’62 I wised up, went to ASU, and never heard that “quote unquote” shit again.

        • I really don’t remember much about my freshman year in high school…other than walking around with a boner for an entire year.

      • Oh, I know THAT! What I wanna know is which DAY of those six did he do it.

        Of course, I don’t really know why I want to know that. I guess there’s some things we’re just not supposed to know.

        • Coulda been Thor’s day, but that would piss Woden off, so let’s call it Frigga’s day and take off the next two days.

          • Yeah, that could be. Frigga’s day was day six, right? Day of rest came next?

            But what time on Frigga’s day? Morning? Afternoon? Night? So tricky to get to the TRUTH!

            • The FBI would normally be called to investigate communications of such magnitude from a foreigner but they can’t recoup any data from God’s cloud storage.

            • Maybe the Chinese could help? They seem pretty good at hacking.Wikileaks?

              Trey Gowdy and Darrell Issa could handle the follow-up interrogations, that much we know for sure.

    • I was taught that the Bible was inspired, not written, by God. I imagine this is why I still find wisdom in parts of it, I was never forced to believe that every word was literally true. I was also taught evolution in school, and remember being shocked that my friends who went to catholic school had a different textbook with a completely different explanation. I didn’t exactly grow up in a bastion of free thought, so I can’t figure out why there is such a desire to deny reason and accepted science now.

      • You and I apparently share a very similar religious background, one that is a LONG way distant from that which is so vocal today. I’m not sure what’s happened to the gentle discourse of what are to me the ‘old’ days, but this ‘new’ theocratic insistence that “religious liberty” includes the privilege of imposition on everyone else is, to me, alien. And dangerous.

        I cannot even begin to comprehend the ‘reason’ that so many are so willing to deny science, to deny reality, all in favor of their interpretation of an ancient script. As my sainted mother would say, ‘we can never know exactly how god decided to do things. We only know that what we have is real.’

        I respect ‘belief’ whether it be Judaism, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhism, . . . any one or all. I just wish the vicious fundies of any description would do the same. Dare we hope that maybe someday?

        • Dare we hope? I really don’t know. Years ago the fundies were just the odd house in the neighborhood where you got a book about Satan putting razor blades in candy instead of a Baby Ruth on Halloween. Now they seem to be a significant voice in the political arena. I’m not sure if there are more of them, or they’ve just become better organized.

  6. China makes succinct point, thanks the W. the Dumbass.
    South China Sea: Beijing ‘not frightened to fight a war’ after US move
    “Cast-iron facts show that time and again the United States recklessly uses force and starts wars, stirring things up where once there was stability, causing the bitterest of harm to those countries directly involved,”
    Can’t really argue with that.
    Can hear Cheney retort, “What are they gonna do, choke us on the smoke of pallets of burning dollars?:”

    • The more I hear Benny talk the more that I am convinced that he’s either an incompetent boob who, in rightwhiner terms, “took advantage of affirmative action” or he performed unsuccessful surgery on his own brain. Although, to be fair, I suppose it’s possible that he had a stroke or huffed too much nitrous oxide or he’s the only recognized case of a “surgical savant”. The guy’s speech pattern is a random word generator that can rival Bible Spice’s crimes against human language. Personally? I wouldn’t trust him to point to the brain in one of those transparent anatomy dolls.

      • I recently read about Ben’s service on Cosco’s board and some illegal stock transactions and wondered how and why Ben got there, but I haven’t looked into yet. He’s crooked, $$$.

  7. The debaters don’t give a damn about the time limit on their responses nor do they give a damn about the question they were asked as they shift into a stump speech, full speed ahead, la la la la I can’t hear you telling me my time is up. And the Democrats are bad.

  8. Thank you for watching the GOP clusterfuck, my friends.

    I was going to, but then my whole body started screaming “NONONONONONONOOOO!!!!”

    I listened. My neighbors did too, I guess. 😆

  9. Tonight’s juxtaposition:
    Republican debate: Trump calls gun-free zones ‘feeding frenzy for sick people’
    Three people shot at Indianapolis mall: police

    Nuff said.

Comments are closed.