The Supreme Court decision
about posting the 10 Commandments
*(This article was written by Jim Pinkoski for the July 6, 2005 edition of the TENNESSEE STAR JOURNAL NEWSPAPER.)
On June 27 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two decisions about when and where the Ten Commandments can be posted in or around public buildings like courthouses.
They decided that the Ten Commandments cannot be put on individual display on the inside of courthouses, but they can be posted outside of the courthouses in displays that do not directly link the display to the personal witness of the judges or the other city employees of the courthouse.
I personally believe that Ten Commandment monuments should only be publicly posted in our churches or in public parks. I am totally supportive of the Ten Commandments, I feel that all ten of them are still binding upon mankind—but since the work of our nation’s courts has nothing to do with enforcing all ten of the Ten Commandments, they should not be posted inside the public buildings that are dedicated to the enforcement of the civil laws of the United States.
Let me explain by reviewing each of the Ten Commandments.
Commandment Number One says, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” The courts of our land have no business enforcing this commandment; everyone in America has the freedom of religion to worship or not worship as they please!
Commandment Number Two says, “Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image.” The courts of our land have no business enforcing this commandment; people can make statues and images and worship them if they wish!
Commandment Number Three says, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.” The courts of our land have no business enforcing this commandment, because all Americans have free speech and can misuse the name of the Lord if they wish!
Commandment Number Four says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The courts of our land have no business ordering people to worship or not to worship, so this commandment should never be enforced by the courts of America (even though there have been days when Sunday Blue Laws have been have been forced upon people, but this is the equivalent of ordering/coercing people to worship, and is not the right thing for the government of the United States to do)!
Commandment Number Five says, “Honor thy father and mother.” The courts have no business enforcing this commandment either. Whether we like it or not, if today’s children want to dishonor their parents, they can! The courts would only get involved if a crime has been committed.
Commandment Number Six says, “Thou shall not kill [murder].” Yes, the courts can enforce this commandment!
Commandment Number Seven says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The courts have no business getting involved in ordering people not to commit adultery! People have the total freedom to do it if they wish to do so! The only time the courts should get involved is when it’s time to grant people a legal divorce if either spouse desires it, whether it’s based upon adultery or other reasons.
Commandment Number Eight says, “Thou shall not steal.” Yes, the courts can prosecute thieves!
Commandment Number Nine says, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” Yes, many liars end up in court, and the legal system of the land can prosecute the people who are caught lying in court, but in their day-to-day life people have the freedom to lie about things if they wish to do so!
Commandment Number Ten says, “Thou shall not covet.” The courts have no business telling us not to covet things. In fact, the capitalistic economy of the United States is based upon people craving to “own” all sorts of things!
What is the conclusion in this matter?
There are only three of the Ten Commandments that the courts should be dealing with inside the courtroom! Only Numbers Six, Eight, and Nine pertain to the work our judges do in our courtrooms, and seven of the Ten Commandments are none of their business. So this actually means that only three of the commandments ought to be posted inside our court buildings!
All ten of the Ten Commandments should be posted in our homes and churches and taught from the pulpits of every single church in the United States! The Ten Commandments are also known as being “God’s Law,” and God is to be openly spoken of and promoted in our churches and our private lives. Every person in America should understand the seriousness of obeying God’s Ten Commandments! But the courthouse is not “the church house.” Our courts exist to enforce the secular laws of the land, not to enforce the religious laws of the Bible.
As an example, have you seen the Judge Mathis television show? Judge Greg Mathis is a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, and in the course of handing out his judgments he often teaches a moral lesson based upon his Christian beliefs, but he does not need to post the Ten Commandments in his courtroom to witness about his faith in God, he can do it just fine with his counsel to the people who come before him!
And what does God say about the Ten Commandments in the New Testament? Hebrews 8:10 says that God wants to put His laws “in our minds” and ”write them in our hearts.” The New Testament says nothing about posting them in our courthouses!
The only monument to the Ten Commandments that really and truly belongs in the nation’s courthouses is a monument showing just the three commandments pertaining to the laws that should occupy the time and duty of our courts and judges, Commandments number Six, Eight, and Nine.
But then we would start having to call them “The Three Commandments,” and this might be a little hard for some people to get used to!
To contact the author of this article, please go to www.Pinkoski.com.
ABOVE: This is the only version of the Ten Commandment monument that belongs on display in public courthouses, “The Three Commandments.” Civil court judges only deal with these three commandments, so only these three commandments should be on any monument that they might want to display in their courthouses. Churches can and should post all ten, because they are churches — courthouses are not churches!