Posts Tagged ‘slavery

25
Sep
11

The Real Ten Commandments

{Updated with an additional link.}

The Ten Commandments of GodStone‘ just didn’t appeal to most folks. Ohh, maybe that’s putting it a bit too diplomatically. Even my friends (yes, there are some) wouldn’t read it. That is, they wouldn’t admit to reading it. I gave my Pastor a copy, and he never had time to read it. For a year. So, I get it – folks don’t like the concept of re-writing The Big Ten. Or maybe they detected a degree of hubris in the title. Gee, it is my version – why not an eponymous title?

Some people simply could have been satisfied with the Bible’s original re-write: it’s either Exodus 20:2-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Don’t ask me which was first, much less which is closer to being ‘original’. And do not ask me to stick with exactly ten (10, diez, dix) items for my next version. If the Bible can have sundry versions, with miscellaneous numbers of specific shalts and shalt nots, then I can also.

A n d  h e r e  i t  i s .

We usually discuss religious doctrine (I am herein concentrating on my heritage of Christianity) in terms of its official scriptures and their formal interpretations. It’s time to look at the practical reality of Christianity. The following is The Real Ten Commandments – the rules that certain Christians (Lord bless the many for whom this does not apply) actually hold sacred. Well, sacred for application to others, if not for themselves. I also retained some of The Original’s sticky bits. You might want to follow along with one of the Original versions (some folks might be sufficiently lax to think that I am fabricating things), but a more general knowledge of the Bible and Christian behavior is most pertinent.

  1. God is a jealous, spiteful, vengeful god. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make idols. Building oversized mansions and driving overpowered cars doesn’t count.
  3. Thou shalt not worship the idols that you make. If you do, you’ll probably get away with it, but your kids will get screwed.
  4. If you love Me, a thousand generations will have it easy. If any of them crosses me, the deal’s off.
  5. Thou shalt not use the name of God in vain. If you can get some profit or manipulate someone by doing so, you’re golden.
  6. Observe the Sabbath Day, or whatever day that you feel like substituting, and keep it holy so the football game or round of golf will be guilt-free fun.
  7. For six days thou shalt labor, since you’re gonna count Saturday fishing as work. You, your family, visitors, livestock, and male and female slaves shall take it easy. You can decide whether the hermaphrodite slaves can participate.
  8. It was work for the Lord to create everthin’ in six days, so He rested on the seventh day and his slaves had better rest, too. They should consider it practice for Jubilee. They’ll get to return to the foreign country from which I permitted you to kidnap them. The wives which you took in conquest just get the Sabbath, not the Jubilee.
  9. Honor thy Father and thy Mother so that your brother or sister won’t take the inheritance that you so richly deserve.
  10. Thou shalt not kill unless the person deserves it or a Christian Governor or President says ‘it’s ok’. You shall satisfy your blood thirst with executions and unprovoked wars.
  11. Thou shalt not commit adultery, for serial monogamy is sufficient and wholly acceptable to thy brethren. Thou shalt also not divorce, unless a TV preacher says that it’s ok because your wife has Alzheimer’s.
  12. Thou shalt not steal, for connivance and manipulation will serve as well without the appearance of criminality.
  13. Thou shalt not lie about your neighbor, for gossip is equally effective.
  14. Thou shalt not desire thy neighbor’s goodies, or thy neighbor’s wife, or livestock, or male or female slave. As before, you can figure out what to do with hermaphrodite slaves. Your neighbor’s husband, and anyone else not proscribed, is fair game.
  15. Thou shalt not permit a woman, or anyone acting in a woman’s behalf, to decide her own sexual or reproductive behavior. Women shall know their place.
  16. Thou shalt not suffer the uninsured to live, or at least to live without suffering, for the uninsured and those not self-sufficient have not My favor.
  17. A man shalt not lie down with another man. Thou shalt interpret and extend this injunction in any way that suits your thoughts and fears. But lesbians are pleasing in My sight, and probably in yours, too.
  18. These Commandments shalt be sacred and inviolable until the Lord establishes a New Covenant. Thereafter, thou shalt enforce these Commandments selectively, as it pleases you. Definitely ignore all that Levitical stuff, like avoiding mixing nylon and cotton, unless it suits your purpose. Just don’t get carried away, like Thomas Jefferson did.

All in all, I do prefer Jesus’ answer regarding the two greatest Commandments. May it be so with you.

27
Nov
10

Founded Upon Christian Principles

Some folks assert that the United States of America was founded upon Christian Principles, and that the Founding Fathers relied upon Christian Principles {or here or here} in formulating the guiding documents of our nation.

I have no argument today against that assertion. I do believe it to be irrelevant. When the Founding Fathers provided the means to amend our Federal Constitution, and almost immediately exercised that means via the Bill of Rights, it guaranteed that the Constitution would remain a living document, subject ultimately to what the citizens of America wished it to be. No ‘Strict Constructionist‘ can offer an authoritative exegesis of ‘Original Intent‘ regarding a Constitutional Amendment which was enacted after every Constitutional author was deceased.

The relevant discussion is what an America, guided by Christian principles, would be. It would have been impossible, either shortly after the death of Jesus of Nazareth or just after Christian scriptures had been largely fixated by Emperor Constantine in 325 CE, to predict what Christianity, guided by Christian principles, would be. That does not deter me from attempting to offer some possibilities for America.

Consider first the several ways in which Christian principles have already been used to guide governmental policy.

The Founding Fathers, who are assumed for the purposes of this commentary to have been guided by Christian principles, wrote in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, that apportionment shall include “… three fifths of all other Persons.” That is, slaves were counted as a fraction of a person. Slavery was allowed, de facto, constitutionally. The best exemplar for this, the Christian principle guiding this result, is 1st Corinthians 7:21:

Were you a slave when God called you? Let not that weigh on your mind.

America had a prolonged disagreement with Native American peoples about land rights, etc. Take the Indian Removal Act as an example. The Christian missionaries who opposed this genocidal Act were apparently misguided, since in 1830 there were still Founding Fathers available to correct deviance from Christian guidance. The resulting land cessions and forced migrations brought death and misery to thousands of Native Americans of all ages. I am not a good-enough Christian to provide the basis for this Act of Holy Governance. Most Teabaggers should be able to describe the savage, un-educated and un-Godly lifestyle that prevented Native Americans from being worthy to retain land and rights which only the White Man might use advantageously. Perhaps, as with the Curse of Ham (Genesis 9:20-27) being applied to black-skinned peoples, the often-dark-skinned Native Americans would have been deemed to only exist as ‘servants of servants’.

Such humanitarian scourges have not been confined to racial matters. All Christian religions (it is not just one, don’tcha know?) and denominations (for which there is insufficient space to list here) have disagreed and fought with each other in explicit ways. I was reared as a Southern Baptist. My church would not accept a baptized Christian for membership unless he or she were re-baptized as a Southern Baptist.

And what of a future America, fully guided by Christian principles, instead of being guided by the haphazard application of such principles? European governments of the past are a good model. It was common for non-Christians for have second-class legal status. The word for this in Islam (for non-Moslems) is ‘Dhimmi‘. We can expect, analogous with Saudi Arabia or Middle Ages Europe, to have Dhimmitude of non-Christians. Perhaps we would count Dhimmis as 3/5ths of a person.

I believe that one currently-prominent public discussion would be resolved by Christian principles. Tax policy would be greatly improved by tithing to the government as we all already do (we all do, right?) to our churches. No maximum tax rate of 33% – it would be 10%. No social manipulation by providing deductions for mortgages, medical expenses, or child care. No corporations like ExxonMobil, General Electric, or 2 of every 3 U.S. corporations which paid zero Federal taxes from 1998 through 2005.

We could easily solve a multitude of social problems as a genuinely Christian nation. Poverty would disappear as we followed the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth – Matthew 19:21:

If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

My Grandparents took in a ‘5th son’ during the Great Depression to help families who were even poorer than my Grandparents. We could eliminate government departments of social services in this way.

The earliest church, which most intimately knew and understood the teachings of Jesus, did choose such a form of governance – Acts 2:44-45:

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Bush (and an eminent Conservative), described the dominant non-republican aspect of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He said, “in Iran, you have a theocracy … Iran is governed by jurisprudence that comes directly from Allah. … If the law comes from God, and the only people who can really understand it are the Mullahs, are you really gonna have a vote on whether you agree or disagree with God?” America, which Bolton later described as “the most libertarian country in the world”, would not accept such a system.

Teabaggers, simultaneously seeking minimal and Christian governance, are, in fact, already at war with themselves.




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Basic Understanding

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
- Edward R. Murrow

Intellectual Property Notice

All original material Copyright James R. Stone 2010, except where specifically noted. Some images licensed under Creative Commons, or GNU Free Documentation License, or unlicensed and public domain.

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