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 Using “The Google” and other advanced research tools, I discovered a rare unpublished U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. McCarthy (1958) 357 U.S. 579, that examined the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments.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.
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.
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.