Friday, June 21, 2024

Idolatry and the Ten Commandments


The theocrats want to put the Ten Commandments in schools for the children's own good. The mere presence is supposed to imbue them with morality. Or would it? I think it isn't about moral instruction of young people so much as a moral win for them. Essentially--it pretty much boils down to letting the children of lesser gods know who is top dog around here. Yahweh. The Storm God of the Near East. You really don't need to venture too far from the first Commandment, or the second, depending on which tradition you follow (because different versions of the Ten commandments exist) to realize that an explicitly "Judeo-Christian" symbol is being put in schools to tell everyone the religious preferences of the dominant culture: "Put no other God before me."

We are told he is a jealous god in the Holy Bible. As a kid, this struck me as weird--who is he jealous of if he's the only game in town? (That, along with "Who the heck is he talking to at creation?" was enough to drop a pretty big silver piece about the traditions that preceded it and the hard work of scrubbing out the "other guys".) But that's not really it, is it?

We are also told humans were made in God's image--it's the other way about. God is jealous because he was made in ours. He throws tantrums--like drowning the world except for one family, or destroying whole cities--not because it is godly, but because the threat of violence is something humans understand: "Someone in power is angry--let's behave for God's sake!" 

The point isn't that the Ten Commandments instruct kids regarding something moral at all--one should be able to figure out that stealing and lying are wrong, and I'm not sure how likely seven- or eight-year-olds are liable to get into murder and adultery. A more concise and general instruction would be The Golden Rule, which resonates in many faith traditions and appeals to people of no faith at all. 

So, what is the big deal with the image of these stone tablets? What do they represent?

It's an idol. A very brazen image, if you will--and it is rumored to have such power that, if you but look at it, you'll just go on and be a better person. It's talismanic. 

Now, think long and hard--do we assume church leaders know the Ten Commandments? In all seriousness--you think they would. Why then, do so many church leaders, often married, covet the underage bodies of their parishioners? It's as if the mere awareness of God's law doesn't, actually, do anything. What do we get from sinners in the pulpit?  This:

The "Jezebel Spirit" of a pre-teen? Blaming the victim? Everyone who understands grooming would understand that the problem isn't the child being rebellious, but scared and obedient, unable to speak out because of fear of reprisal from the church, their family, their community.  The adult is responsible for his actions. The decision to not sin must be his--and not in any of his many readings of the Bible did this important instruction ever occur. 

Let me go one further--this man claims he believes in an all-knowing god. Was that god blind, deaf and stupid on all the occasions when this man raped a child?  Does an atheist have such faith that god is powerless, as this man did that no other man would wring his collared neck for what should be a crime on earth and any sane idea of heaven? 

No god intervened. For years, no man did, either. And this pastor could quote the Bible and knew his Ten Commandments.

So as for me, I would very much like my government to separate itself from such idolatry and hedonism, and please not bring it around our schools. Amen.


Dan Kleiner said...

yeah. i agree with pretty much all of this.

the thing that i get hung up on is the "judeo-christian" crap.

that's SUCH like, the weakest of covers. as a proud, red-sea pedestrian, lemme say this:

we. know. they. hate. us.

they've hated us for CENTURIES.

and, FFS, we think they've gotten SO much wrong.

using jews as a shield, to suggest that their batshit-insane ideas are actually SHARED is just the most LUDICROUS thing imaginable- because every time they think they're alone, they talk about us in the context of camps and soap and lampshades (and sometimes when they're NOT alone, hi nick fuentes!!).

i'm SO fucking over it.

Vixen Strangely said...

Yeah, "Judeo-Christian" goes into scare-quotes for me because the "Judeo" part gets thrown in there as a fig leaf for supersessionism. The Xtian fundamentalists who want the decalogue in schools are fine with some bits of the Old Testament (especially the "eye for an eye" parts) but would happily jettison other bits, like Jews. (Except for Israel, because Armageddon.)

Ten Bears said...

LOL ~ turns out There are 11 commandments in the Ten Commandments bill

Vixen Strangely said...

The true 11th Commandment for Republicans is "Don't get caught." Reagan said it was "Don't speak ill of another Republican", which is why they pretend not to notice when a Republican gets caught. It's a nice set up they have for themselves.

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