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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Glenn Beck Check, Part X: "The Constitution is Based on the 10 Commandments"

It has been a while since I checked in with America's favorite conspiracy theorist/doomsday prognosticator.  To be honest, I've grown tired of listening to this clown, as have most Americans. Glenn Beck's audience numbers (for radio, Internet and books) have been dwindling for quite some time now, as most people with a functioning brain have grown wise to his antics.  For the most part, Beck is left with just the extremists on the right, who gobble up his ilk like candy. If Beck were to say that the Founding Fathers were the Vulcan offspring of Spock they would probably all rush out to buy pointed ears! But since I am looking for a quick blog post to do this morning, debunking Glenn Beck (a relatively simple task) will have to do.

Last week, on his radio program, Glenn Beck was discussing the proposed Satan monument that has been suggested as a compliment for the 10 Commandments monument already standing outside of the Oklahoma State Capitol.  The monument is the brainchild of a small New York-based religious group called The Satanic Temple.

To be honest, I'm in 100% agreement with Beck when he rips into this stupid and insignificant organization that is simply looking to stir the pot and gain attention in the process.  Their movement is bogus and their proposed monument is a mockery.  Pure and simple.

But Beck didn't leave the issue on those terms.  Instead, Beck decided to go on a tirade in which he proclaims that the United States was founded as a "Judeo-Christian nation" and that the 10 Commandments "is a monument of where we got our laws."  See for yourself in the following clip:

Again, I agree with Beck when he essentially argues that our society is not as moral as we could/should be. That's probably a true statement, even though one could argue that today's society is more moral than ever (we've abolished slavery, given women equal rights, etc.).

It is with Beck's assertion that the United States was founded as a "Christian nation" that his argument derails. This argument, which is getting REALLY old as well, simply baffles me.  The notion that the United States was founded as a Christian nation is not only bad for America, but it's bad for Christianity.  The separation of church and state is a good thing, folks...for everyone!  And it's not anti-American or anti-Christian to point out the FACT that the United States was NOT founded as a Christian nation.  But don't listen to me; listen to what these folks said on the matter:
1.) "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." -1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (my abbreviation).
2.) "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded upon the Christian religion." -John Adams, Treaty of Tripoli, 1797 (my emphasis).
3.) "We may safely affirm that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." -Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, Feb. 10, 1814. 
4.) Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions more than our opinions of physics or geometry." -Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1777. 
Those are just four out of literally hundreds of examples of our Founding Fathers explaining (in the plainest of terms) that the United States is NOT a Christian nation. Unfortunately for Beck, who regularly cherry-picks his history, these FACTS do not fit with his political agenda.

The second part of the Beck clip has him ranting through his microphone that, "the 10 commandments" is "where we get our law...We get our law from the laws of Moses."

It completely baffles me how anyone who HONESTLY thinks about what Glenn Beck said could actually believe it.  Sure, it sounds good to our Christian and patriotic instincts to say that the 10 Commandments serve as a foundation for our Constitution but reality is this couldn't be further from the truth, and either Glenn Beck is too stupid to recognize this or he just doesn't care.  To prove my point, let's look at each of the 10 Commandments and see just how constitutional they really are:

1.) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."  This one should be obvious to everyone.  To force anyone to believe in any god is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. In the good ol' U.S. of A., everyone is free to believe in whatever god they want, as many gods as they want, or to believe in no god(s) at all.  Clearly the 1st Commandment has nothing to do with where we get our laws.

2.) "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." Again, this one is blatantly obvious. Any American is free to have as many graven images as they see fit. There is no law prohibiting it. The 2nd Commandment is out as well.

3.) "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Another obvious one here as well, folks. Yes, it's crass when people swear and use the name of God to do so, but it isn't a crime.  No way, no how.  The 3rd Commandment is out.

4.) "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Heh, if this one isn't obvious then maybe you should just ask the NFL, NASCAR, shopping malls, public parks, etc. if they face any legal repercussions for the various activities they carry out on every Sunday across the nation.  The 4th Commandment is out.

5.) "Honor thy father and thy mother." This is some great advice, and I would hope/encourage anyone I know to abide by this counsel, but is it in our Constitution? The 5th Commandment is out.

6.) "Thou shalt not kill." Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  We have one!  Yes, the laws of our land do not allow you to kill others.  Glenn Beck finally has one in his column.  The 6th Commandment is in.

7.) "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Again, this is some really good advice, and I believe anyone with half of a brain would agree, but it is NOT protected by law. It used to be in some colonies/states, but case law has shown this to be unconstitutional.  The 7th Commandment is out.

8.) "Thou shalt not steal." Here's another one for Beck's column.  The laws of the land do not allow you to steal.  This is considered a crime.  As a result, the 8th Commandment is IN!

9.) "Thou shalt not bear false witness." This is a tricky one. I'm going to go ahead and give this one to Beck (and I'm being VERY generous here) because it is a crime to lie in court and in a few other settings. It's called perjury.  So the 9th Commandment is in...but BARELY!

10.) "Thou shalt not covet." Nope, in America you are free to covet to your heart's content.  Heck, in some respects it is even encouraged.  The 10th Commandment is out.

So, in the end, we have 3 Commandments (and barely 3) that fit with what Glenn Beck is saying, while 7 are clearly out.  Again, this impulse to say that the United States is a "Christian" nation and that the 10 Commandments played a role in the establishment of our laws sounds good and may make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, but it simply isn't based on reality...and we should be glad for this. The separation of church and state is as beneficial for religion as it is for government.

Sorry, Beck, but once again you have revealed to the world just how little you know about history, constitutional law, etc.  Go back to telling everyone to prepare for the apocalypse by stocking up on their supply of pointed Vulcan ears!

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