Thou Shalt Display The Ten Commandments In Georgia Schools

A new bill moving forward quickly in the statehouse in Atlanta would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in all Georgia government buildings, including schools.

A primer on the Old Testament: the Ten Commandments appear twice in the Hebrew Bible, in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. According to the story in Exodus, God inscribed them on two stone tablets, which he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.

They include a reminder that the God of Israel is a jealous god, and you had better not obey any other gods, as well as the directives not to kill, commit adultery or steal. Oh, and don’t covet your neighbor’s wife, manservant, maidservant or ox.

House Passes Bill On A 161-0 Vote

The Associated Press reports that the bill, sponsored by Republican state Representative Tommy Benton, passed the state House unanimously Tuesday on a 161-0 vote, and is well-positioned to pass the state Senate.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Benton, a retired middle-school teacher, argues that the commandments are of great educational and historical value, and a key influence on the American legal system. His bill notes that a “basic knowledge of American constitutional history is important to the formation of civic virtue in our society.”

The bill technically expands an existing Georgia law that now allows the commandments to be displayed only in courthouses and judicial buildings to apply to all state government buildings, but only when displayed along with eight other documents, including the Mayflower Compact and the Magna Carta, as part of a “Foundations of American Law and Government” display. (To be fair, it’s not clear if the existing displays get into the details about the maidservant, manservant and ox, though those are clearly delineated in Exodus 20:17.)

The original Georgia law, also sponsored by Benton, was passed in 2006, with the added documents a kind of workaround after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down commandments displays in two Kentucky courthouses on the grounds that they were promoting religion.

2005 Supreme Court Decision On Ten Commandments

It was in 2005 that a narowly divided Supreme Court issued a split decision on the public display of the Ten Commandments on government property: while forbidding those displays on the walls of two rural Kentucky courthouses, at the same time they approved a 6-foot-tall granite monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol in Austin.

When I went to school in England, we had our religious indoctrination every morning, in the form of prayers and a hymn. But this is America. Wasn’t this country founded on the basis of separation of church and state?

The Ten Commandments may work well for some people, but what if you believe in a different religion? Christianity is not, and never should be the “official religion” of the United States.

What do you think?

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Photo Credit: Loci Lenar


Evelyn M.
Evelyn M5 years ago

Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court judge who started it all by sneaking in a huge granite copy of the Ten Commandments into the Courthouse and was impeached because of it is AGAIN running for the office he was booted out of. Aargh

janet T.
janet t5 years ago

I've never understood why people can't see the difference between school and sunday school. I don't understand why if you want your children to pray, why don't you pray with them? No one is preventing parents from doing this, so why does the teacher have to?? I'v known a lot of religious parents who never taught their kids the ABCs or how to read.

Craig Gosling
Craig Gosling5 years ago

If God wants the commandments to be on display, he will make replicas and place them there himself. Politicians just need to reserve a place for the tablets.

LD B5 years ago

Actually, Mark, the greater portion of the Ten Commandments are secular in nature, ones which espouse principles held by many cultures and religions spanning both the globe and the course of human history.

The problem here is that those who seek to force public use of them is that they seek to co-opt said secular principles, claiming that such are not man-made rules but ones decreed by their chosen god.

pam w.
pam w5 years ago

This is just another tactic in the effort to impose Christianity on every US it or not!

Mark P.
Mark P.5 years ago

The 10 Commandments are a set of rules for two out-dated Middle-Eastern religions, and have no place being in ANY place that if funded with public money. Some of us not only follow other religions, but see Christianity as a hate-crime, and don't want your dogma rammed down our throats. Follow your 2,000 year old death-cult to your hearts content, but leave the rest of us out of it. Freedom of religion ENDS when you make decisions OTHERS have to follow, regardless of their own beliefs.

LD B5 years ago

Appalling to note that 22% of the respondents to the above poll just don't get it, that you cannot keep the State of the Church without keeping the Church out of the State anymore than you can have a one-sided coin.

Martina H.
Martina Hemming5 years ago

@Robert H. But, there are stories in the New Testament about having to give over everything you have to 'the church' (aka greedy buggers like Peter). As told at the beginning of Acts chapter 5 Ananias and Sapphira sold their land but withheld a portion of the sales from Peter. Ananias presented his donation to Peter and Peter angrily replied, "Why is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?" Ananias was immediately struck down and buried. Three hours after Ananias' murder his wife was also murdered for not giving everything to Peter.

Martina H.
Martina Hemming5 years ago

@Jamie C: That's correct to a point. The Jesus character in the New Testament did say that he would not change one iota of Hebrew law. That's because it would be considered heresy to alter Hebrew law (aka god's law). However, one can 'work around' god's law.

To get around charges of heresy for writers of the New Testament (and for the character of Jesus), They wrote as follows... The Hebrew god created a son (which was really him) to sacrifice to himself to correct his own laws (by changing the punishments without actually changing the punishments). For the ever so many things that people would be punished for under Hebrew law, Jesus would now take all the punishment. It's the very basis of Christianity.

Christianity was a much better political recruitment tool. Legal issues of adult circumcision and other requirements for conversion to Judaism were debated for many, many years. People under Roman rule had to pay hefty sacrifices to the Roman gods, but could also worship their own. Imagine the popularity of a political party like Christianity where a god sacrifices his own son to you? Every lazy bastardo fed up with paying sacrifices to Roman gods would find it appealing. Just look at who took the seat of Rome from the Romans.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm5 years ago

Exactly Jamie He came to purify the jewish religion and get the money and Power hungry church officials out of the picture. he told people You don't need THEM to tell you what God means You can sit right out here in the field and talk to God.
He didn't come to create a new religion. Other men did that. He fought against Rome for the same reason. He told them send to Rome what you must. They are here for now. But your God is eternal. Give your money to the Romans but not your religious allegiance. He saw how many of the church leaders cooperated with the Romans and he didn't like it.