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If we are part of that Judaic-Christian tradition proclaimed (even if not held) by the founding fathers and mothers, as well as by those who added “under God” to our pledge of allegiance in the fifties, then the Ten Commandments should be our guide. If we are part of any other tradition, we might still agree that this set of ancient laws is a good way to rule ourselves or, at the very least, that they should be used to judge the fidelity or the hypocrisy of those who claim to be adherents.

Hypocrisy

But is it practiced by those who proclaim it? Let us look at our federal government, so proudly claiming to be righteous.

(This uses the King James Bible. Though varying mostly in numeration and detail, the commandments are basically the same across versions.)

First: “You shall have no other gods before me."

They may say that this vindicates their cursing of followers of other faiths but, in reality, we know that these adherents are worshiping the same God – one who is ultimate and beyond comprehension – whether they use the name “God,” “Allah,” “Jehovah,” “Wakan Tanka,” or any other name. But deifying money, nation, or individual is having false gods.

Second: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image ...You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God and only worthy of worship..."

They call the act of burning the U.S. flag it’s “desecration,” which is to say the “de-sacred-izing” of it, revealing they hold the flag to be that image to which we must bow down and worship.

They invoke the name of God when they slaughter innocent people and insist that we invoke it when pledging our allegiance to them.

Third: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain...

They invoke the name of God when they slaughter innocent people and insist that we invoke it when pledging our allegiance to them.

Fourth: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work...

They slaughter people seven days a week, making every day unholy. Also, they who would command the government to follow the Bible generally say nothing about companies refusing to let workers rest on any day.

Fifth: “Honor your father and your mother..."

They separate children from their mothers and fathers through detention centers, jails and prisons. Historically they have taken enslaved children from their parents and have forcibly sent indigenous children away from their parents to schools where they were taught to be contemptuous of their parents and their traditions. When they saw the Cuban Revolution triumph, they were complicit in fabricating and spreading the rumor that the new government planned to send their children to the Soviet Union, causing thousands of unaccompanied children to be sent to the U.S. And in schools today, children from non-English-speaking homes are often taught that their home languages are inferior, breeding contempt for parents who don’t have the opportunities to speak the “superior” language.

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Sixth: “You shall not murder."

Uh... War kills. The death penalty kills. Poverty kills.

Seventh: “You shall not commit adultery."

They too often shield sexual predators, including adulterers.

Eighth: “You shall not steal."

This country, founded on the theft of land from indigenous people and the theft of people from Africa, as well as the theft of wages from those enslaved or indentured, continues to steal minerals, lumber, water, and other resources from those they neocolonize. They regularly uphold the practice of capitalists stealing wages from workers, even today, at home and abroad.

Ninth: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

They bear witness falsely against neighboring peoples who rise up against cruel dictators, calling them “communists,” “terrorists,” “anti-Semites,” or such, simply because the people are challenging systems of oppression that profit the one percent. Also, they use similar lies against labor leaders and other activists in the U.S.

Tenth: “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”

They generally break the other commandments – bearing false witness, killing, etc. – because they covet everything that they value but don’t yet possess.

Hypocrisy, thy name is U.S. government.

carolfrances likins

And as far as Jesus consolidating the ten commandments into two, we cannot judge who genuinely loves God and who does not. However, as far as “love you neighbor as yourself”?

As the bumper sticker says, “When Jesus said, ‘Love you enemies,’ he probably meant don’t kill them.”

Carolfrances Likins