The Ten Commandments and the Culture War
On the surface, it appears the Alabama Ten Commandments Case is simply a dispute over how to interpret the language in the U.S. Constitution. Those who believe in a God revere the part of the 1st Amendment that says, in essence: Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The secular, liberal Left prefers the part that says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
Clearly, our Founding Fathers were men of religious faith. If one reads the Federalist Papers and studies the debates of the Constitutional Convention, it becomes clear they did not want a government that could impose the Church of England as a state religion. But, other than that, the Founding Fathers wanted everyone to be free to worship their God as they saw fit. Even the village idiot can see how heavily the Founders drew on the Bible’s Old Testament “law-givers” as the basis for the setting up of a “government of laws, not of men.”
Because the notion of a God suggests an eventual judgment on how one lived one’s life, even the word “God” is offensive to the secular, liberal Left. And that is why the secular, liberal Left and its minion, the ACLU, want the Ten Commandments removed from public view. Not just in Alabama, but everywhere.
The philosophical roots of the secular, liberal Left are with the Existentialist philosophers Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre and their latter day adherents Hugh Hefner and the late LSD guru, Professor Timothy Leary. Minus all of the philosophical psycho-babble, the Existentialists think an individual can always find circumstances that “exist” to rationalize any kind of behavior. Every action one takes, be it legal or illegal, moral or immoral, “exists” in its own circumstances. But has anyone noticed how by its premise that one can rationalize illegal or immoral behavior, the Existentialists give tacit recognition to the notion of some kind of code of right and wrong?
On the Right, or religious side of the Culture War, are those who believe societies need to live by sets of rules detailing how human beings should treat other human beings. Be they the Code of Hammurabi, the less militant parts of the Koran, the Code Napoleon, the Magna Carta, our Declaration of Independence or the Ten Commandments, all of these codes uphold the idea that we should behave in certain ways and, when we do not, we should be held to account.
Thus, it becomes clear how Alabama’s granite monument bearing the Ten Commandments sitting inside, of all places, a place where men and women are called to account before the Bar of Justice, is such an affront to the secular, Leftist warriors in the Culture War.
Much of Hollywood is known to be in the blame-America-first camp with its movies and TV productions showing the seamy side of American life to both domestic and foreign audiences. But, while Hollywood overdoes the seamy side at the expense of showing the many wonderful things America has brought to the world, there is an unfortunate basis in truth in some of Hollywood’s tales of sexual debauchery, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, murder and mayhem.
That is what gets us in trouble with fundamentalist Muslims around the world. Never mind many of them are hypocrites. But when Hollywood presents the world with the tail of the American dog, they are quick to believe it and, unfortunately, act upon those mistaken beliefs as an excuse to commit violence against America and Americans.
This does not excuse Muslim-sponsored violence against the United States. But it shows how the decadent dregs of our society fuel the fires of anti-Americanism. But wait. The folks on the liberal Left don’t see them as decadent dregs. To the liberal Left, they are simply victims of an oppressive society, which, at most, should only take The Ten Commandments as The Ten Suggestions.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – novels about terrorist attacks on Colorado’s water supply and on the Panama Canal, respectively.
©2003. William Hamilton.