Steven Williams case and the Ten Commandments cases
mstern at ajcongress.org
Thu Dec 16 08:09:26 PST 2004
Well for starters, the Orden monument left out the words "who took you
out of Egypt" an omission which makes sense on two Protestant
1. The sentence beginning "I am" is not a commandment and the phrase who
took you out of Egypt has no normative content.
2. The commandments are universal in import, and not directed solely at
Israel. See Mathew 19
Jews reject both assumptions. Hence the way the Orden monument
inescapably casts the commandments amounts to a repudiation of Jewish
teaching. And, of course, the focus on the commandments as such is
rooted in a Christian rejection of the totality of the law.
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
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Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 10:52 AM
To: religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Steven Williams case and the Ten Commandments cases
In a message dated 12/16/2004 9:10:19 AM Eastern Standard Time,
mstern at ajcongress.org writes:
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.
Actually, it is fundamentally correct as a matter of fact. The Ten
Words as set out in full are precisely what they are.
And you are, of course, also correct, in that when we move away from
literally reporting and repeating those Ten Words, when we move toward
"Finding Meaning" in those commands, differences arise. But in the
words, and even in their summarized various divisions among Jews,
Catholics, and Protestants, the sum and substance of them is unified.
At the far edges of umbra, where lawyers and professors hunt for
significance in difference, there are all kinds of provocations to be
found. But take a parallel Bible and examine the passages in full and
you get better agreement and unity than ever found at the Supreme Court,
even when the issue is just interpretation of an ERISA provision.
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