Bill O'Reilly is the highly paid host of a prime time TV show on one of the most popular networks in the United States. I was recently watching this video and one of O'Reilly's statements caught my attention.
About two minutes into the segment, O'Reilly says ...
He (Dawkins) basically says that United States isn't founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy. That's just absurd, I mean our justice system is based on the ten commandments. In fact, what hangs in the Supreme Court? The Ten Commandments.I assume that Bill O'Reilly must be correct because no respectable TV network would allow one of its star performers to tell lies about America.
But there are some problems with the first four commandments. I'm not an American and I'm not a lawyer so I'm hoping that some American lawyer will leave a comment explaining these problems.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.This seems pretty straightforward. The American justice system ought to be based on the idea that you have to worship the Judeo-Christian God and no other. You certainly aren't allowed to be an atheist.
There's a minor problem. When I look at the first amendment to the American Constitution I see ....
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.This is widely interpreted by the US Supreme Court to mean that Americans enjoy the right to worship whatever god they want or even (gasp!) no god at all. On the surface this seems to be in direct conflict with the First Commandment. Where am I going wrong?
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love me and keep my Commandments.This commandment also seems pretty clear. The American justice system should prohibit bowing down before any statues (e.g. Jesus on the cross, the Virgin Mary, Hindu gods, statues of Buddha). The punishments ought to be severe.
Are these Federal Laws that the Supreme Court upholds? Or are they state laws? What's the punishment for disobeying the second commandment?
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.I'm not aware of the blasphemy laws that make the American justice system compatible with the third commandment. Can someone give me a reference? Is it okay to take the name of the other gods in vain?
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.I get this one. Whatever your sabbath day, you can't allow your servants to work, or your cattle. I've always obeyed that part, even though I live in Canada.1
But I'm a little confused about the prohibition on you working on the sabbath. Does the American justice system really insist that people don't work on the sabbath? What about all those employees in the Walmart store on Sunday? Are they all going to jail? For how long?
1. I made my wife work on the sabbath. That seems to be okay since it's not covered by the fourth commandment.