Steven Williams case and the Ten Commandments cases
mstern at ajcongress.org
Thu Dec 16 06:09:54 PST 2004
This is fundamentally wrong as a matter of fact. There are far more than
10 commandments in what we know as the Ten Commandments.
<>There are significant differences in numbering the commandments,
differences with significant theological overtones. There are important
differences in translations and understanding, again with significant
theological and practical import(Is it a ban on killing or murder? Does
it encompass war or abortion or capital punishment? And there are
crucial differences in the importance of the commandments. Are they as
many Christians seem to think, the sum and substance of binding law
after the advent of Jesus or as Jews think something else-a covenantal
document or a summary of the law, but not its totality. I spell out
these differences in an amicus brief in Orden v. Perry. Professor
Finkleman has an article coming out in an upcoming Fordham Law review
pointing out some of the differences and Professor Lubet had a similar
piece in constitutional commentaries a few years ago.
All of this says nothing of the rights of atheists or non-Judeo
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of JMHACLJ at aol.com
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 7:56 AM
To: religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Steven Williams case and the Ten Commandments cases
In a message dated 12/15/2004 4:52:10 PM Eastern Standard Time,
mnewsom at law.howard.edu writes:
Hm -- and some people say that the Protestant Empire is dead and gone.
If one can display the Ten Commandments (five gets you ten that the only
version we are likely to see in any of these displays is the evangelical
Protestant version) along with other legal documents, that one can
display the Sermon on the Mount etc. so long as it is "contextualized"
with the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, for
And, I must ask, what displays does one suppose that a Protestant Empire
would want to put up? Why they would be the ones that the SG supports
and that Alan has supposed below!
As we worked on aspects of the decalogue cases that our organization has
defended, and the amici we have filed in other cases, I have become more
and more fascinated by the Jewish-Catholic-Protestant dichotomy drawn in
The Decalogue is set out in full in the scripture.
For purposes of catechesis, it is summarized in brief.
Various summarizations exist, but are all based on the same statement in
full of the Ten Words.
Is there any variation in the ten words amongst the versions? No.
Is there any variation in the summarization of the ten words? Yes, a
Is there a difference of significance? Not at all.
Consider this example: Mom tells little Johnny: go potty, wash your
hands and face, brush your teeth, and go to bed. Some variation in the
order of the instructions and the execution of them leads to unfortunate
consequences, for example, if Johnny waits till he's in bed to go potty.
But the ten words don't work that way. And there is no dispute over the
text from which the summarizations are drawn. So, there really is no
"there" there in the teapot tempest over which version will be used.
Jim "Do you have any other arguments?" Henderson
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