Pharyngula

Let us stir up a little tempest in Tennessee. An internet poll asks, SHOULD A DISPLAY OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS BE ALLOWED IN OUR COUNTY COURTHOUSE?. The currently leading answer, with 82% of the vote, is “Absolutely. The laws of our land are based on the 10 Commandments and anybody who doesn’t want to look at them (or read them) certainly doesn’t have to do so.”

This poll also has something sneaky. There are 5 possible answers, but they’ve just worded the same thing differently to split our votes. The intelligent options are “Such a display is inappropriate in any public building,” “No way. There needs to be a distinct separation between church and state,” and “No! Our government is prohibited by law from endorsing religion and this is clearly an endorsement.” To make this a bit more challenging, let’s elevate the percentages on all three to crush the two that basically say “Favor Christians in the law”.

Comments

  1. #1 Hideki
    September 29, 2008

    Hihi

    Interestingly, if you clear your cookies you can vote more than once on this one -.o

  2. #2 Queen Amigdala
    September 29, 2008

    Is it possible I’m first (frequent reader, infrequent poster)!

    (added my vote to the poll — let the games begin)

  3. #3 Hanes
    September 29, 2008

    As of now, these are the results:

    “SHOULD A DISPLAY OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS BE ALLOWED IN OUR COUNTY COURTHOUSE?

    Absolutely. The laws of our land are based on the 10 Commandments and anybody who doesn’t want to look at them (or read them) certainly doesn’t have to do so. 62%

    Why not? This is East Tennessee, the “Bible Belt,” where obviously the majority of people take pride in God and Country. 4%

    Such a display is inappropriate in any public building. 2%

    No way. There needs to be a distinct separation between church and state 11%

    No! Our government is prohibited by law from endorsing religion and this is clearly an endorsement. 22%

    Total Votes 351″

  4. #4 Dave Munger
    September 29, 2008

    With such fine reporting as this, do we really want to mess up their survey with our biased responses?

    Wow. Just wow.

  5. #5 Jessica
    September 29, 2008

    I love the poll crashing posts. They make me happy. :)

  6. #6 SteveM
    September 29, 2008

    Sorry to go off-topic, but sheesh when did Pharygula become infested with this “first!” meme? Everybody, please stop it. I used to read the comments at AintItCoolNews and got sick of how the first 10 or 20 comments were all “First!” or complaining about not being first. When I started reading Pharyngula, it was nice to be relieved of that crap. Until recently, more and more topics seem to be starting off with “First!”. Too bad.

  7. #7 Russell
    September 29, 2008

    Booya.

  8. #8 Benjamin Geiger
    September 29, 2008

    “The law says no” (39%) just passed “you don’t have to look” (38%), and both the other sane responses (“not in any public building”, 6%; “separation of church and state”, 16%) are far beyond the other insane response (“bible belt”, 2%).

  9. #9 Sven DiMilo
    September 29, 2008

    tee-hee:

    SHOULD A DISPLAY OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS BE ALLOWED IN OUR COUNTY COURTHOUSE?
    Absolutely. The laws of our land are based on the 10 Commandments and anybody who doesn’t want to look at them (or read them) certainly doesn’t have to do so. 36%
    Why not? This is East Tennessee, the “Bible Belt,” where obviously the majority of people take pride in God and Country. 2%
    Such a display is inappropriate in any public building. 7%
    No way. There needs to be a distinct separation between church and state 16%
    No! Our government is prohibited by law from endorsing religion and this is clearly an endorsement. 39%
    Total Votes 598

  10. #10 Benjamin Geiger
    September 29, 2008

    SteveM:

    LAST! :-P

  11. #11 clinteas
    September 29, 2008

    This has to be the “small town” where those values come from that the Repubs always mention.Intriguing.I shall follow that cheerleader’s career closely from now on.

    Did my thing with the poll too.

  12. #12 Russell
    September 29, 2008

    You need to get some pole crashing music up, something like ghost busters playing in the background. lol Poll Busters!!!

    If there’s somethin strange, in your city hall-
    who ya gonna call?
    POLL BUSTERS!

    Anyone care to do the next verse?

  13. #13 Andrés Diplotti
    September 29, 2008

    The alarming thing is that a majority of poll takers seem to believe that “[t]he laws of our land are based on the 10 Commandments” BS. A cursory examination of U.S. laws reveals that they actually contradict many a commandment, explicitly granting citizens the right to do things that the commandments forbid. And that’s precisely the freedom they claim terrorists hate!

  14. #14 Matt Penfold
    September 29, 2008

    The alarming thing is that a majority of poll takers seem to believe that “[t]he laws of our land are based on the 10 Commandments” BS. A cursory examination of U.S. laws reveals that they actually contradict many a commandment, explicitly granting citizens the right to do things that the commandments forbid.

    It is like the Enlightenment never happened.

  15. #15 Mrs Bastardley
    September 29, 2008

    47% were opting for option 5 when I checked in.

  16. #16 MartinH
    September 29, 2008

    Can I suggest that we favor the “separation of church and state” response? It constitutes a stronger position than the other 2 reasonable responses. In particular, the last objection can be removed by changing the law, not an outcome I think most of us would support.

  17. #17 PZ Myers
    September 29, 2008

    Let me echo what SteveM said — I will not allow the awful vacuous “First!” thing get a toehold here. If you’ve got something to say, sure, say it, but “First” is not something. I will delete posts that just say “First!”.

  18. #18 Giford
    September 29, 2008

    Where’s the option for “Yes, but the list they have is not the real Ten Commandments”?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A31699308
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A31699344

    Gif

  19. #19 Hanes
    September 29, 2008

    Yes, shall we go through the ten commandments?

    First three are on how to treat god. No application to our law.

    No.4, honor father and mother, nope, not in the laws.

    No.5, don’t kill. Hey, there’s one! Um, but that’s a blanket statement that is contradicted in action and command in the bible. Under what circumstances is it ok to kill? War? Capital punishment? Thanks for the vague moral statement, god.

    No.6, adultery. Nope.

    No.7, theft. Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

    No.8, lie. Well we’ve got laws against purgery, but that’s a specific case of dishonesty. And is it always immoral to lie? What about the whole, “would it be moral to be honest with the nazi SS officers about the jews in your basement” question? Thanks but no thanks for the vague moral statement.

    No.9&10, Covet neighbor’s property (including wife; it’s all one sentence, I don’t know why they split it up). Our capitalist economy is built upon people wanting what other people have.

    So final tally: 1 commandment that fits the law, 2 that partially fit, and 7 that have nothing to do with our legal system.

  20. #20 PZ Myers
    September 29, 2008

    Mr Munger is obviously unfamiliar with small town newspapers. The story about Ms Cole is quite typical, and she seems like a nice person.

  21. #21 Noether
    September 29, 2008

    At the church I go to (unwillingly), the eleventh commandment is “Thou shalt not park here.” (It’s on a sign in a driveway)

  22. #22 Benjamin Geiger
    September 29, 2008

    Mission accomplished, sah!

    SHOULD A DISPLAY OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS BE ALLOWED IN OUR COUNTY COURTHOUSE?
    Absolutely. The laws of our land are based on the 10 Commandments and anybody who doesn’t want to look at them (or read them) certainly doesn’t have to do so. 15%
    Why not? This is East Tennessee, the “Bible Belt,” where obviously the majority of people take pride in God and Country. 1%
    Such a display is inappropriate in any public building. 16%
    No way. There needs to be a distinct separation between church and state 21%
    No! Our government is prohibited by law from endorsing religion and this is clearly an endorsement. 47%
    Total Votes 1443

  23. #23 Capital Dan
    September 29, 2008

    PZ Myers | September 29, 2008 10:06 AM

    Let me echo what SteveM said — I will not allow the awful vacuous “First!” thing get a toehold here. If you’ve got something to say, sure, say it, but “First” is not something. I will delete posts that just say “First!”.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I freakin’ hate that nonsense.

  24. #24 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    The poll’s gone. Now it’s about the government bailout of Wall Street.

    The three “no” options were leading just before it disappeared.

  25. #25 Pr0t0ur
    September 29, 2008

    The response should be, “Which one of the three versions would you like to display?” Those that claim to know the babble, have never really read it. There are 3 version of the commandments, and to add insult to injury, the version currently in court houses around the nation don’t match any of the three, let alone close to the last version that is supposed to be sealed in the ark of the covenant.

  26. #26 qbsmd
    September 29, 2008

    Posted by: PZ Myers
    Let me echo what SteveM said — I will not allow the awful vacuous “First!” thing get a toehold here. If you’ve got something to say, sure, say it, but “First” is not something. I will delete posts that just say “First!”.

    I always liked fark.com’s solution: a filter automatically changes the words “first post” to “boobies” and resets the timestamp on the post so it isn’t first. I think a similar solution might be appropriate here: “first” should get converted to “I’m a creationist”, and the timestamp should be set back a few hours.

  27. #27 Natasha
    September 29, 2008

    Hmm… the poll that I’m seeing at that link is “What do you think of the government bailout of Wall Street.”

  28. #28 Interrobang
    September 29, 2008

    I will delete posts that just say “First!”.

    *chuckle* Actually, PZ, you’re kind of lucky that in general people here haven’t hung out on Slashdot as much as I have (six-digit UID that starts with a 2), because you’d probably still be scratching your head over “PIST FROST!” Good luck with enforcing the ban, though.

    After all, IN SOVIET RUSSIA, POSTS DELETE YOU! :)

  29. #29 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    I always liked fark.com’s solution: a filter automatically changes the words “first post” to “boobies” and resets the timestamp on the post so it isn’t first. I think a similar solution might be appropriate here: “first” should get converted to “I’m a creationist”, and the timestamp should be set back a few hours.

    Let me be the I’m a creationist to say I don’t think this is a very good idea. In a couple of hours.

  30. #30 Davey
    September 29, 2008

    No! was up to 48% when they switched to a new question. Congrats!

  31. #31 Capital Dan
    September 29, 2008

    COWARDS! They yanked the poll. They. pulled. the. poll.

    What are you hiding Tennessee? Why must you take our fun away?

  32. #32 Benjamin Geiger
    September 29, 2008

    Interrobang:

    Five-digit ID. (42769.)

    Therefore my genitals are larger than yours. :-P

  33. #33 The Cheerful Nihilist
    September 29, 2008

    “First,” (*wink wink*) I agree with MartinH @ #16. We are a nation of laws, some good, some bad, and many that have been repealed or changed over time.

    Please bear in mind that the foax in Johnson County probably want to repeal Roe, so a logical next step would be to “amend” the First Amendment.

    Your vote matters, not.

  34. #34 Dave Munger
    September 29, 2008

    Mr Munger is obviously unfamiliar with small town newspapers. The story about Ms Cole is quite typical, and she seems like a nice person.

    She seems like a very nice person, I agree. Our town is too small to have a newspaper. We do have a news blog, which does occasionally report on similar fluff-type items. Usually not in such a Jesus-loving self-congratulatory way, though.

  35. #35 qbsmd
    September 29, 2008

    Posted by: tsg
    Let me be the I’m a creationist to say I don’t think this is a very good idea. In a couple of hours.

    If the filter only applied to the first ten or so posts, it wouldn’t be a huge problem.

  36. #36 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    “It is not an easy battle,” said Grayson, who checked with some adjacent counties who have the 10 Commandments on display. “I have contacted the American Center for Law and Justice and am waiting on a reply from them.”

    Someone ought to point the Johnson County Board of Commissioners towards Alabama to a guy named Roy Moore.

  37. #37 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    If the filter only applied to the first ten or so posts, it wouldn’t be a huge problem.

    I was largely being facetious.

  38. #38 Rick Lumb
    September 29, 2008

    The buggers, they pulled it before I could vote.
    Anyone catch the final numbers?

  39. #39 Nerd of Redhead
    September 29, 2008

    I’ve had the chance to be first poster for a number of threads. Since I didn’t have anything cogent to say at the time, I didn’t submit a post. I would never try to be first poster just for the sake of being first poster. What glory is envolved with an inane post saying “I’m first”? This blog isn’t mount Everest.

  40. #40 Tim
    September 29, 2008

    When I was there (around 10:10 AM (eastern-daylight in the US — so it’s 10:55 AM now here) or so) it was 20ish percent for answer #1 (strongly pro-10-commandments) and 49 percent for the last answer (strongly against for another reason) and 20 percent for the next to last (also strongly against).

    So I approximate 70 percent against. I hadn’t notice it was later pulled. I don’t personally vote multiple times.

  41. #41 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    The buggers, they pulled it before I could vote.
    Anyone catch the final numbers?

    I was repeatedly refreshing the page (trying to get an idea how many people were voting) when they pulled it.

    From memory:

    Absolutely… 14%
    Why not?… 1%
    inappropriate…16%
    Separation… 21%
    No way!…48%

  42. #42 Nerd of Redhead
    September 29, 2008

    I tried voting earlier, but when I submitted my vote the financial bailout poll came up instead of the normal vote tallies. Must have been when they changed polls.

  43. #43 Randy
    September 29, 2008

    Nerd,

    It’s a little-known fact that Edmund Hillary’s declaration, upon reaching the top of everest, was “I’m a creationist!”

  44. #44 Emmet Caulfield
    September 29, 2008

    Well we’ve got laws against purgery

    I sincerely hope not. That would be inhuman. Most people purge their bowels several times a week, if not daily.

    Oh, you mean perjury :o)

  45. #45 drb
    September 29, 2008

    #19
    You had me until number 8. “…we have laws against purgery…” Really? Thou shalt not barf?

  46. #46 DuckPhup
    September 29, 2008

    OK… now there’s a poll about where the nice folks in that town go for their news fix. One of the choices is: “I basically only care about sports so I get a copy of the The Tomahawk’s sports section.”

    That seems like the proper choice to me. Since they took down the 10 commandments poll, I think we should help them with this one.

  47. #47 Kimpatsu
    September 29, 2008

    @Benjamin Geiger (#32):
    Therefore my genitals are larger than yours.
    So, you’re the bigger dick…?

  48. #48 Dahan
    September 29, 2008

    From the article that went with the poll before they pulled it

    But in fact our forefathers wrote the first amendment with the protection of persecuted Christians in mind.

    So Christian’s weird persecution complex was alive and well even back then ,huh? Man, there’s some serious crazy about.

  49. #49 Diagoras
    September 29, 2008

    Token lawyer chimes in. Stone v. Graham was the Supreme Court case that said the posting of the ten commandments in school was a no-no. The government just saying their purpose was “secular” was not enough to make it so. The case stated that even if the schools wanted the ten commandments “to be viewed through a secular framework, their historical and religious basis makes them irrefutably religious” and thusly, such displays are unconstitutional because the government is not allowed to endorse, directly or indirectly, any religious message or doctrine.

    As per ACLU v. McCreary County (another Supreme Court case), the posting in court houses was also a no-no without a legitimate secular purpose. In that instance, the display simply asserted the ten commandments was “the moral background of the law.” Just slapping the ten commandments up with a number of historical documents isn’t enough. The documents must “share a common secular theme or subject matter.” Souter articulated that government must remain neutral between various religions as well as between religion and nonreligion.

    O’Connor went on to note that the popularity of the religion doesn’t matter, saying, “It is true that many Americans find the Commandments in accord with their personal beliefs. But we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment. … Nor can we accept the theory that Americans who do not accept the Commandments’ validity are outside the First Amendment’s protections. There is no list of approved and disapproved beliefs appended to the First Amendment…”

    So – in other words, Tennessee. In your face. Courtesy of the Supreme Court.

  50. #50 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    I think someone should put up a bunch of polls that only have one response: “I’m a clueless halfwit that thinks internet polls have any significance.”

  51. #51 Spinoza
    September 29, 2008

    The people here who vote more than once, or use other methods of artificially inflating vote counts… are doing a disservice to atheism.

    Just vote. There are enough of us to make the polls accurate without resorting to childishness.

  52. #52 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    The people here who vote more than once, or use other methods of artificially inflating vote counts… are doing a disservice to atheism.

    Concern noted.

    Just vote. There are enough of us to make the polls accurate without resorting to childishness.

    The point is that the polls are useless, not that the position they are advocating is wrong.

  53. #53 eric
    September 29, 2008

    Dahan: To be fair, some Christian sects *were* persecuted by others (usually, other Christian sects). The Puritans moved to New England to escape religious persecution… and then, of course, just set up their own (which led to the Salem witch trials).

    Apparently the editor who wrote that felt that the Puritans had the right idea.

  54. #54 shane
    September 29, 2008

    Next!

  55. #55 Moses
    September 29, 2008

    Posted by: Dahan | September 29, 2008 11:22 AM

    So Christian’s weird persecution complex was alive and well even back then ,huh? Man, there’s some serious crazy about.

    I know you’re trying to be funny. But it was just stupid. Religious persecution, especially intra-Protestant, was very much alive and well back then. Even in America. Where parts of my family were persecuted for their Mennonite beliefs. Where Quakers were hung by Puritans. Where Catholic children were forced to use the Protestant Bible in schools.

    Never mind their horrors that were happening in Europe. And that many people were descendants of those lucky enough to get out alive and intact.

    So, if you’re going to try to be funny. Try getting it right. Funny-wrong is just wrong.

  56. #56 Natalie
    September 29, 2008

    No.9&10, Covet neighbor’s property (including wife; it’s all one sentence, I don’t know why they split it up).

    Uh, they didn’t. The 10 Commandments are as follows (the two versions are basically the same):
    – Thou shalt have no other gods before me
    – No graven images
    – Don’t take the name of the lord in vain
    – Keep the sabbath
    – Honor father and mother
    – No murder
    – No adultery
    – No theft
    – No false witness
    – No coveting

    The prohibition against coveting wives and coveting your neighbor’s goods have never been separate commandments. I’m not sure where this misconception comes from

  57. #57 Natalie
    September 29, 2008

    Well, Wikipedia thinks the separate house and wife coveting commandments are a Catholic/Lutheran thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Division_of_the_Commandments). That doesn’t really jibe with me because I grew up Catholic and we were taught differently. But maybe my church was just wrong.

  58. #58 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    The prohibition against coveting wives and coveting your neighbor’s goods have never been separate commandments. I’m not sure where this misconception comes from

    Possibly from the Roman Catholic Church itself:
    http://www.the-ten-commandments.org/romancatholic-tencommandments.html

  59. #59 Natalie
    September 29, 2008

    We crossed each other in the tubes, tsg. As I said, I was raised Catholic and this was not part of my church’s teaching. But it was an Irish Catholic community, and it was also quite liberal as far as both theology and politics were concerned, so I’m not sure how that influenced their view of the Decalogue.

    I find the text to be really obviously putting the wives and houses together, as EJ noted they are even the same sentence. So the Vatican opinion makes absolutely no sense. Then again, that’s not unusual for them.

  60. #60 shane
    September 29, 2008

    Where Catholic children were forced to use the Protestant Bible in schools.

    What? There is more than one bible? But it is the word of god.

  61. #61 Bride of Shrek OM
    September 29, 2008

    Nerd

    What glory is envolved with an inane post saying “I’m first”? This blog isn’t mount Everest

    I believe it is a competition to achieve the greatest amount of “twatness” on the intenet. I hope PZ’s serious and pulls the dicks that do it, its already ruined a few good blogs.

  62. #62 DrFrank
    September 29, 2008

    I know you’re trying to be funny. But it was just stupid. Religious persecution, especially intra-Protestant, was very much alive and well back then.
    Ah yes, no one likes to persecute a Christian anywhere near as much as another Christian. It keeps the persecution complex alive ;)

  63. #63 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    We crossed each other in the tubes, tsg. As I said, I was raised Catholic and this was not part of my church’s teaching. But it was an Irish Catholic community, and it was also quite liberal as far as both theology and politics were concerned, so I’m not sure how that influenced their view of the Decalogue.

    I find the text to be really obviously putting the wives and houses together, as EJ noted they are even the same sentence. So the Vatican opinion makes absolutely no sense. Then again, that’s not unusual for them.

    The RC Church got rid of the ban on idolatry (it sort of goes against their idea of having a pope) so they had to split one to get back to the magic ten. It’s one thing to argue about what the ten commandments “really” are, and quite another to say there’s only nine.

  64. #64 David Marjanovi?
    September 29, 2008

    As mentioned, the poll has been replaced, but the accompanying editorial is still there. It merrily claims that the 10 Commandments are the base of US law; there’s no way to comment. Sick, really.

  65. #65 Natalie
    September 29, 2008

    The RC Church got rid of the ban on idolatry (it sort of goes against their idea of having a pope) so they had to split one to get back to the magic ten.

    Ah, that makes sense. Can you tell I left the church at a young age?

  66. #66 Sacoglassan
    September 29, 2008

    That editorial also claims the 10 Commandments were made by Jesus.

    In last week’s Tomahawk, little Sam Allen spoke volumes in his honest and obviously heartfelt letter. “We all need to read and know Jesus’ ten commandments because Jesus didn’t make them for nothing.” I can’t pretend to improve on those words of simple childlike faith and wisdom. We should all be as shocked as Sam at the possibility of the ten commandments being stripped from the walls of our courthouse

    Good grief. You can’t see any way to improve on that bit of wisdom? Wrong piled on wrong

  67. #67 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 29, 2008

    The RC Church got rid of the ban on idolatry (it sort of goes against their idea of having a pope) so they had to split one to get back to the magic ten.

    Bullshit. Like the Jews, the Catholics count worshipping other gods and making images — of them, implicitly — as the same commandment, number 1, and then uses Deuteronomy 5:21, where wife and possession are listed separately (“Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”), to justify counting these as separate commandments (9 and 10). Deuteronomy 5 contains the apparently younger version of the 10 commandments, the older one (which lists the wife among the other possessions) being in Exodus 20.

    And how is the pope an image?!?

  68. #68 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 29, 2008

    Oops, wanted to delete “number 1″, which holds for Catholics, but not for Jews, unto whom “I am the Lord, thy God” is, inexplicably, a commandment (an ought) rather than a statement (an is).

    That editorial also claims the 10 Commandments were made by Jesus.

    “Trinity” means “never having to say you’re wrong”…

  69. #69 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    Bullshit.

    Possibly. I’m just going from the information on the website I linked to.

    And how is the pope an image?!?

    It’s not my claim, but I think the word used is “idol”.

  70. #70 Deepsix
    September 29, 2008

    I live in Tennessee, and, as far as I know, we don’t have the ten commandments posted in our county courthouse. However, we do have a giant confederate flag beside the main highway into town. Kinda like the Statue of Liberty- welcoming newcomers to our great land. Or not.

  71. #71 cactusren
    September 29, 2008

    @ #19

    Actually, the “Thou shalt not covet” is only one commandment. You missed keeping the Sabbath holy (which is #4, after having no other gods, not worshipping idols, and not using the lord’s name in vain). As for lying, the commandment is actually to not bear false witness against your neighbor. This is pretty specific to perjury, and does not include other forms of lying. But in general, you’re right, and I get pissed off every time someone says the ten commandments are the basis for our system of law. That is patently untrue.

  72. #72 Rey Fox
    September 29, 2008

    “A cursory examination of U.S. laws reveals that they actually contradict many a commandment, explicitly granting citizens the right to do things that the commandments forbid. And that’s precisely the freedom they claim terrorists hate!”

    It makes more sense when you realize that putting the ten commandments everywhere has nothing to do with actual history of law, and everything to do with marking territory. It’s basically the Christianist equivalent of peeing on tree trunks. “Courthouse? Mine. Schools? Mine. Seat of government? Mine mine mine!”

    “IN SOVIET RUSSIA, POSTS DELETE YOU!”

    Something else I’d like to know: Why did the meme become Soviet Russia? It’s more succinct, and therefore funnier, to just say “In Russia”. Sure, one could argue that Yakov Smirnov wasn’t referring to post-communist Russia with the comedy routine from which this meme originated, but still, “Soviet Russia” is pedantic, and therefore not funny.

    God damned internet, wouldn’t know humor if it bit it in the TCP/IP protocol.

  73. #73 Benjamin Geiger
    September 29, 2008

    Rey Fox:

    ISTR that Yakov Smirnov himself started using “Soviet Russia” with the fall of the USSR. As I understand it, that’s where the meme originated.

    “Russian Express: Don’t Leave Home!”

  74. #74 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    “Russian Express: Don’t Leave Home!”

    “In Russia, we have two channels on television. Channel one is state propaganda, and channel two is KGB agent telling you to turn back to channel one.”

  75. #75 Diagoras
    September 29, 2008

    Right then. Another issue with this article – Cherokee + Totem Poles. I’d like to see her math there. Totem poles are Pacific Northwest tribes, chica. Not my tribe in the Eastern Woodlands. We don’t all have the same culture. And two – the poles are ways of telling stories. They weren’t objects of worship, despite the notion of Christian missionaries that they were. Basic course of anthropology 101 should clear her ignorance right up. Right? (Probably not, sadly.)

    But her racism doesn’t end there. She doesn’t mind the African-American community looking at the Emancipation Proclaimation in a courthouse. She’d tolerate that, as a Southerner. Well, gee golly. Thanks.

    Difference between displaying those two objects and a clearly religious document is the “clearly religious” part. That makes their display unconstitutional. Sorry if that tweaks her Bible belt sensabilities. I’m not “offended” by her ten commandments in my courthouse. I just think there is no secular purpose for having them there, and, without that – they don’t belong in the courthouse because it’s unconstitutional for them to be there. We don’t count heads before enforcing the 1st amendment. I don’t care how popular your cult is.

  76. #76 tsg
    September 29, 2008

    We don’t count heads before enforcing the 1st amendment. I don’t care how popular your cult is.

    What these people don’t seem to get is that the entire reason for the First Amendment is to protect the minority from the majority.

  77. #77 Diagoras
    September 29, 2008

    tsg – That – and they have no understanding of how our legal system works. And how it has to tell the executive and legislative branches, “No, bad puppy,” from time to time.

  78. #78 complex field
    September 29, 2008

    shane wrote: Where Catholic children were forced to use the Protestant Bible in schools.

    What? There is more than one bible? But it is the word of god.”

    I find it hysterically funny, in an ironic, nauseating way, that Catholics (like my mom) think that which bible you use is actually important, as very few Catholics have ever actually read the Bible all the way through.

  79. #79 arachnophilia
    September 29, 2008

    @complex field: (#78)

    find it hysterically funny, in an ironic, nauseating way, that Catholics (like my mom) think that which bible you use is actually important, as very few Catholics have ever actually read the Bible all the way through.

    actually, i found the ignorance of that question the funny part. and your post doesn’t help. there is more than one bible, and some of them are substantially different. the catholic bible has several extra books compared to the protestant bible, and a few of the books that are shared are a bit longer. the ironic part is that omissions probably don’t matter much in terms in doctrine.

    @Natalie: (#56)

    The 10 Commandments are as follows (the two versions are basically the same)

    they certainly are not! the first set quite arguably does not even number 10. it contains the “no other gods” bit, but not the commandment to break everybody else’s idols. there’s no 7-day feast of unleavened bread commandment. there’s no firstlings commandment. no first-fruits commandment. no commandment against offering blood with leavening. nothing about a kid and its mother’s milk.

    in fact, only three are the same: no other gods, no idols, and keep shabbat. quite far from “basically the same.” it’s a completely different set. as for the division, i think the people above addressed that. different religions count them differently.

  80. #80 Matt
    September 29, 2008

    I work with a YEC, and he insists to me, through his own research, that the bible has remained unchanged since it was finished.

    How can i tell him what a moron he is, in a polite way?

  81. #81 aarrgghh
    September 30, 2008

    i work with a yec, and he insists to me, through his own research, that the bible has remained unchanged since it was finished.

    how can i tell him what a moron he is, in a polite way?

    a good start would be to list the different versions of the bible and ask him which parts are unchanged:

    new international version

    new international reader’s version

    american standard version

    new american standard bible

    the message

    amplified bible

    new living translation

    king james version

    new king james version

    21st century king james version

    english standard version

    contemporary english version

    new century version

    young’s literal translation

    darby translation

    new life version

    holman christian standard bible

    wycliffe new testament

    worldwide english new testament

    new uk international version

    today’s new international version

    and these are just the english ones! (from biblegateway.com)

  82. #82 Ichthyic
    September 30, 2008

    a good start would be to list the different versions of the bible and ask him which parts are unchanged:

    note the qualifier:

    since it was finished.

    I’m sure the YEC in question will just shove the version he has in his grubby little hand at you and say:

    since this one was finished! (as it likely will be either be the new international or new king james)

    if not, and it’s not like I haven’t had this discussion many times, they will qualify instead with the word “substantial” (as in no substantial content changes, just minor word changes as translations “improved”), and continue to move the goalposts endlessly as you try to show how each passage they choose has been changed at one point or another.

    It really is a conversation you have to devote a whole day to to make any progress at all, and you inevitably find that the next day, they have “reset” to square one.

    In short:

    don’t bother unless you feel you want the experience of masochism this will inevitably generate.

  83. #83 Ichthyic
    September 30, 2008

    … I did get SOME traction in one conversation by approaching it from the idolatry angle:

    “Why are you putting your faith in a BOOK?”

    that puts some of them on the defensive.

  84. #84 Rey Fox
    September 30, 2008

    the message

    Flash 1:1

    Do not push me, for I am in closeness to the precipice
    Attempting to prevent the loss of the seat of my thoughts

  85. #85 aarrgghh
    September 30, 2008

    note the qualifier:

    since it was finished.

    note the qualifier:

    “a good start”

  86. #86 Sunshine
    September 30, 2008

    Why the hell should anyone want the Ten Commandments to be displayed in a courthouse? They aren’t law! It’s like asking for Roget’s thesaurus to be displayed in a restaurant despite the fact that it isn’t a menu.

  87. #87 Sunshine
    September 30, 2008

    I think that if the Ten Commandments are displayed in a courthouse, there should also be a display of the punishments dictated by the Bible for breaking said commandments. Death, death, death, death, death, death, death, death, death, death.

  88. #88 Sander van Driel
    September 30, 2008

    @Sunshine – A slight correction: Death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell, death + eternity burning in hell.

  89. #89 Luger Otter Robinson
    September 30, 2008

    Let me be I’m a creationist to say that I find this argument about the numbering of the 10 commandments to be a total waste of time. I have just spent half an hour trying to go through exodus, numbering the commandments (and going cross-eyed in the process), and finally came to the conclusion that Moses made the mistake of not using PowerPoint instead of two stone tablets, and he should have used bullet points to number the commandments instead.

  90. #90 arachnophilia
    October 1, 2008

    @Sander van Driel: (#88) not quite. it’s arguable the christian concept of “hell” and eternal punishment by fire simply does not exist in the old testament, and certainly not the torah. only a grave (literally) or an underworld (slightly more metaphorically) to which everyone, including the righteous, go. “hell” comes from the conflation of this idea, the greek hades, the mention of gehenna in the gospels, and the lake of fire in revelation.

    in any case, the idea that death is punishment for all sin is also a much later christian concept, does not jive with the letter of the law. death is specified as a punishment for break some of the commandments (idolatry, sabbath), but that’s elsewhere, and certainly not all of them. rather, it seems that this is a societal contract with god, not an individual one. the punishment here for breaking the commandments, as a society, was that the israelites would no longer be favored by god. this is, in effect, what some of the prophets (jeremiah) argued regarding the exile in babylon.

    understood in this light, the 10 commandments don’t really belong in a modern american courthouse. the united states of america is not god’s nation whom he rescued from egypt. we are not the “you” being addressed here.

    @Luger Otter Robinson: (#89) i could suggest a better translation? i do think it’s important, because it illustrates two key concepts.

    1) because different groups count them differently, you cannot display a general set that applies to all jews and christians. rather, you are distinctly favoring only one particular sect or group of sects.

    2) that the bible itself is hardly infallible. it is full of duplications and contradictions due its multiple sources. and even if we only had one set, there are still a great many questions about that are quite frankly open to interpretation. this is not a good source upon which to base modern anything, and is decidedly less than divine.

  91. #91 Rick020200
    October 1, 2008

    Hey Lookie Everyone! The Tomahawk has changed their poll again. This time its something of interest to us!

    Do you think the county should fight the removal of the Ten Commandments no matter the cost?

    Yes, I believe we should do everything in our power to keep it. God will provide the money for legal fees. 33%

    I think we should fight it until legal advice tells us it’s hopeless, but we shouldn’t put the county into debt for a lost cause. 7%

    I see no reason to get involved in this issue anyway. That’s what we have public officials for. 0%

    I don’t think we should oppose the removal of the plaque in the first place. It is clearly a violation of church and state. 54%

    I think we should exercise our own rights and display the Ten Commandments in our cars, on our private properties and even on t-shirts, etc. 6%

  92. #92 Paul
    October 7, 2008

    SLIPPING:

    Do you think the county should fight the removal of the Ten Commandments no matter the cost?
    Yes, I believe we should do everything in our power to keep it. God will provide the money for legal fees. 37%
    I think we should fight it until legal advice tells us it’s hopeless, but we shouldn’t put the county into debt for a lost cause. 10%
    I see no reason to get involved in this issue anyway. That’s what we have public officials for. 1%
    I don’t think we should oppose the removal of the plaque in the first place. It is clearly a violation of church and state. 47%
    I think we should exercise our own rights and display the Ten Commandments in our cars, on our private properties and even on t-shirts, etc. 5%
    Total Votes 319

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