Congressman Wants Citizens of ALL Religions to Reflect on the Ten Commandments
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 06:28:17 PM EST
Well, spring is in the air, and that can mean only one thing. It's time for a member of Congress to introduce a resolution proclaiming the first weekend of May "Ten Commandments Weekend." This time, the resolution comes from Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA).

These kinds of resolutions almost always contain a dose of Christian nationalist American history revisionism, and Broun's resolution, H. Res. 1175, is no different. In fact, just like Sen. Sam Brownback in his 2008 Ten Commandments Weekend resolution, Broun includes a quote from John Quincy Adams in one of his "Whereas" clauses.

"Whereas the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, declared the Ten Commandments to be 'laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation, which ever professed any code of laws'"

And, just like Brownback did in his resolution, Broun omits the part of the quote in which Adams made it clear that many of the laws of the Old Testament were "adapted to that time only" and binding only on the ancient Jews. Here's what Adams actually wrote, in a letter to his son:

"The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes adapted to that time only, and to the particular circumstances of the nation to whom it was given; they could of course be binding upon them, and only upon them, until abrogated by the same authority which enacted them, as they afterward were by the Christian dispensation; but many others were of universal application -- laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation, which ever professed any code of laws."

(I think it might be relevant to note here that John Quincy Adams, although personally quite religious, took his presidential oath of office on a law book containing the Constitution rather than a Bible, because he was swearing that as president he would uphold the Constitution, not the Bible.)

Broun borrowed a few of the other historically questionable "Whereas" clauses from Brownback's 2008 resolution, but historical distortion is not the most outrageous thing about H. Res. 1175. While Broun copied his first two "resolves" almost word for word from Brownback, he beefed up the third, calling for citizens of ALL religions to reflect on the Ten Commandments. Even Brownback didn't go this far.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives --

(1) supports the designation of Ten Commandments Weekend;

(2) celebrates the significant role the Ten Commandments have played in the development of significant public and private institutions of the United States; and

(3) encourages citizens of all faiths and religious persuasions to reflect on the important impact that the Ten Commandments have had on the people and national character of the United States.


Apparently, Broun doesn't see any problem whatsoever with Congress encouraging people of "all faiths and religious persuasions" to follow his religion. After all, as he expressed in another of his resolution's "Whereas" clauses, the laws of his religion "transcend the diversity of cultural expression and faith in the United States."

Here's the full text of H. Res. 1175:

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. RES. 1175

Expressing support for designation of the first weekend of May as Ten Commandments Weekend to recognize the significant contributions the Ten Commandments have made to shaping Western civilization and the vital role they played in the development of the institutions and national character of the United States.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 12, 2010

Mr. BROUN of Georgia (for himself, Mr. ROHRABACHER, Ms. FOXX, Mr. BARTLETT, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mr. KLINE of Minnesota, Mr. HARPER, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. GOHMERT, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mrs. BACHMANN, and Mr. CONAWAY) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

RESOLUTION

Expressing support for designation of the first weekend of May as Ten Commandments Weekend to recognize the significant contributions the Ten Commandments have made to shaping Western civilization and the vital role they played in the development of the institutions and national character of the United States.

Whereas from the earliest days of the United States, the Ten Commandments have been part of the Nation's basic cultural fabric;

Whereas the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, declared the Ten Commandments to be 'laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation, which ever professed any code of laws';

Whereas the Ten Commandments are a widely respected code of personal conduct and a declaration of fundamental principles for a fair and just society that transcend the diversity of cultural expression and faith in the United States;

Whereas a marble relief of Moses, the bearer of the Ten Commandments, is prominently displayed over the gallery doors of the chamber of the House of Representatives, in the United States Capitol;

Whereas images of the Ten Commandments are prominently displayed in many Federal buildings, such as the United States Supreme Court, National Archives, and Library of Congress; and

Whereas in addition to being understood as an elemental source for United States law, the Ten Commandments have become a recognized symbol of law in the Nation's culture: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives --

(1) supports the designation of Ten Commandments Weekend;

(2) celebrates the significant role the Ten Commandments have played in the development of significant public and private institutions of the United States; and

(3) encourages citizens of all faiths and religious persuasions to reflect on the important impact that the Ten Commandments have had on the people and national character of the United States.




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