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HomeCommentaryLouisiana's Latest 'Thou Shalt' Law: 10 Commandments to Save Public Schools (But...

Louisiana’s Latest ‘Thou Shalt’ Law: 10 Commandments to Save Public Schools (But Only if Churches Foot the Bill)


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Commentary by James Downard | FāVS News

The Republican (or should they rightly be called just Trumpistas these days?) majority in Louisiana has just thrown down a lawsuit invitation to the ACLU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) and the Freedom from Religion Foundation by mandating that all public school classrooms display the 10 Commandments (King James Version, of course, not any of those heretical translations that don’t comport to 17th century English standards), and hope to evade constitutional censure by not actually paying for any of it. Instead they are inviting outside parties to foot the bill by donations (wink wink nudge nudge CHURCHES, or their associated interest group buddies).

Governor Jeff Landry signed this nod to the Christian Nanny State surrounded by a small crowd of presumably heated enthusiasts (including one young girl who literally fainted behind him).

So what is it these theocrats want to achieve?

The law requires the Commandments be accompanied by a “context statement” which will stress how they “were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries.”  (So too was statutory slavery during much of that, along with overt racism and endemic sexism, but who’s being finicky?)

As a reminder, here’s the KJV list:

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Just get going, all you who do not follow the KJV’s Protestant Christian faith. Or start some fights with Muslims and Jews and Hindus and whoever else happens to be handy. Religious societies have done that sort of thing in the past, and some keep at it in the present. Perhaps Governor Landry missed that.

2. 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:  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD they god am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Does this mean dinosaur models are verboten? Or horses or fish or bugs? Could be a downer for play time. Or maybe they’re OK provided I don’t stick my Apatosaurus on an altar with candles and incense.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, though, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

So go back to Blue Laws is it, with all the stores and gas stations shut down? I remember those, and the joy my mother felt when finally they were ended and she could go to Sears to buy a hammer on Sunday if she needed to.

And just wondering, how does one make sure ones cow does not work on the Sabbath? We need some rule clarification on that.

5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

Or does this just apply to freelance murder? So if a modern day Samuel should come along to exhort his King Saul to be sure to fully exterminate whatever Amalekite stand-ins are designated, woe to any who do not properly slay on that command. That should be fun.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

And presumably also their cell phones or trendy new sneakers.

In case you were wondering, the occasional italicized words were ones interpolated by the 17th century translators. The original Hebrew being not quite so literally translatable as one might think.

Running through them all in my head, one might use the Commandments posting to remind how many of them the current Republican presidential candidate has ticked off (lying and adultery and stealing being obvious, but if anyone qualifies as a Golden-Plated Calf these days, idolatrously worshipped by his followers, the convicted felon Trump would fit the bill nicely).

Somehow I don’t think that was their intent.

After all, we wouldn’t want to actually apply those standards to people too closely, now would we? Not when hypocritical posturing and sanctimonious double standards can be exploited so shamelessly for political effect by Christian Nationalist ideologues too far removed from the reality of things to let that trip up their expediency.

Jim Downard
Jim Downard
Jim Downard is a Spokane native (with a sojourn in Southern California back in the early 1960s) who was raised in a secular family, so says had no personal faith to lose. He's always been a history and science buff (getting a bachelor's in the former area at what was then Eastern Washington University in the early 1970s).

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