The Constitution and the Ten Commandments
By Bill Fairchild
Below is my email to minister/coach/salt-passer Dave Daubenmire (WorldNetDaily) regarding his Article: “Termites In The Foundation” http://www.newswithviews.com/your_govt/your_government42.htm
All right, so the man is a "patriotic" American "Christian" (pronounced: "Uncritically thinking cheerleader for stupid myths"). Two successive sentences in his third paragraph really pissed me off, since I was filled with the true knowledge of and the same spirit that motivated our Founding Fathers (having just submitted my PT posting on the same subject). I thought youse guys might like to see the email I sent to this well-meaning, misguided dupe. If I ever get an answer, I'll pass that along to you as well
I have read your Internet posting about how the moral underpinnings of the USA have been undermined and eaten away, and I totally agree with you. However, I have two questions for you regarding your linking the Constitution with the 10 Commandments.
(1) You said: "Even a casual reading of early American history will reveal that the 10 Commandments was the model upon which the Constitution was created." I have read early American history not only casually but also extensively, and this conclusion of yours has not yet been revealed to me.
I have read the 10 Commandments dozens of times, and the entire Constitution, complete with all amendments, five or six times, and I cannot see how the U.S. Constitution can be considered to have been modeled upon the 10 Commandments. E.g., the 10 Commandments contain eight prohibitions (having a false god, idolatry, taking God's name in vain, murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting) and two exhortations (keep the Sabbath and honor your parents). The Constitution mentions none of these, either the prohibitions or the exhortations. The whole thrust for the 10 Commandments is as a personal code of morality, whereas the thrust of the Constitution is a means to control the government and keep it from becoming tyrannical over its citizens.
To be more specific, and as an example, the Constitution does not mention murder or killing, and leaves it up to the individual states to do as they wish with this crime. It does say that a President could be impeached if he has committed murder, but it does not specifically say that murder is a crime. Certain human acts are defined as being illegal in the Constitution (such as an executive branch officer also holding an office in the judicial branch), but none of these acts is mentioned in the 10 Commandments, as they are only illegal in the Constitutional sense if they are committed by a President, judge, or other specified officer of the government.
I would be very grateful if you could point me to a web page or other source that explains this concept of yours in greater detail. It may indeed be a true statement to say that the 10 Commandments were a model for the private and public morality of almost all Americans throughout most of our history, but that is not the same as being a model for the Constitution.
(2) In your very next sentence you said: "The United States Constitution and the Decalogue had one thing in common: They were both based on the rule of law." First of all, this statement contradicts your previous statement that the Constitution was modeled upon the 10 Commandments.
If the Constitution were truly modeled on the 10 Commandments, then I would expect there to be a lot more in common between the two than just that they were both based on the rule of law.
Secondly, the Constitution internally codifies the rule of law, so it cannot be said that it is based on the rule of law. E.g., the Constitution (complete with all its amendments) defines ways in which criminal laws are to be applied, how search and seizure is to be conducted, accused people cannot be forced to testify against themselves, etc. These are all aspects of the rule of law, and they are all written down in the Constitution itself.
The Founding Fathers did not choose to leave it up to the enlightened state of others to assume what the Constitution was based upon. They made sure that the Constitution itself spelled out exactly what the rule of law was to be. In other words, the Constitution IS the rule of law, and thus is not BASED ON the rule of law.
Also I cannot find anywhere in the 10 Commandments anything about the rule of law. E.g., one commandment says you shall not murder. No where is it explained in the 10 Commandments what to do if someone does commit murder or is accused of murder. There are plenty of other verses in the Old Testament that discuss procedures for dealing with crimes, and so we can see that there was a rule of law in that society, but the 10 Commandments themselves say nothing whatsoever about any rule of law.
The phrase "rule of law" means something very different from the single word "laws". Rule of law is a method by which a society can control its own government. It means that those in power must also be held accountable for their actions by the same laws they impose on everyone else and that there must be due process. I would be very grateful if you could point me to a web page or other source that explains this second concept of yours in greater detail.
Blanket statements such as these two of yours with which I have taken exception detract from a stirring message. I fear you have either exaggerated greatly in your zeal or you are possibly passing on myths you have gotten from another source.
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