Thursday, June 30, 2005

Let's All Compromise

The two decisions the US Supreme Court made on the 10 Commandments issue are considered by many Americans to be irrational. The next decision they made was completely rational. After giving the separation of church and state pot another good stirring, they decided to leave town. In the meantime, they have left in their wake a continuing bitter controversy. It is likely that the American Episcopal Church will be very disappointed by the pro-Commandment Texas decision. The continuing emphasis on commandments and traditions could get in the way of consecrating transvestite atheists as bishops. This will be a hot topic at the church’s next ecumenical chardonnay tasting. In the meantime, based on the anti-Commandment Kentucky decision, an irate group of dyslexic Evangelical pastors are reportedly organising a march on Los Angeles. It is feared that millions of people will respond to the cry to ‘Stop The UCLA!’

There may be a way out of this mess that the Supremes created. A careful legal analysis of the two decisions in question leads to a startling conclusion. In Texas, 10 Commandments carved on a 12 foot, 8,000 pound block of granite that could stop a Hummer are ok. In Kentucky, 10 Commandments typed in 12 point Times New Roman that you need 20-20 vision to read from more than 2 feet are not ok. Clearly, the religious text in question can be used as a lane divider on an interstate highway but not in an eye test. More importantly, in the legal analysis, the Law of Averages comes into play. In Texas, 10 out of 10 Commandments are ok. In Kentucky, 0 out of 10 Commandments are ok. So the average number of ok Commandments in Texas and Kentucky is 5. This is perhaps a way forward – a Commandment Compromise as it were.

Selecting which 5 Commandments are ok is not difficult. The ‘no false gods one’ is only unpopular with Hollywood stars who like to be false gods. (In fairness to Tom Cruise, he thinks he is a true god.) #1 is a keeper. The ‘no graven images’ thing is a problem. All the Elvis portraits on black velvet and the Statue of Liberty would have to go. Forget #2. The prohibition on taking the Lord’s name in vain, #3 is probably ok. If you are pulled over for a DUI it’s just as easy to say ‘son of a bitch!’ as it is to say ‘Jesus Christ!’ ‘Remember the Sabbath’ is a big problem. No NFL games. Dump #4. ‘Honour your father and your mother’ is definitely in. No one could get elected to anything if they didn’t pretend do that, so #5 is a must. ‘You shall not commit murder’ is a bit of a problem. On the one hand, a lot of people think the announcers on Court TV are pretty foxy and some people prefer watching Nancy Grace to going to the dentist for a root canal. On the other hand, most people don’t want to be murdered. #6 probably squeaks in by a narrow margin. The next one is easy. If no one committed adultery you would not have decent singles bars or a reason to go to Victoria’s Secret. #7 is out. In an ideal world, ‘thou shalt not steal’ is a very good idea. It is clear, however, that we do not live in an ideal world. As long as we have politicians and personal injury lawyers, #8 probably has to go. #9 should be ok. People don’t need to bear false witness when there is so much truthful dirt to dish. As to coveting, if we all stop coveting, GDP goes in the tank. Scratch #10. So here’s the H I Winning 5: I, III,V,VI and IX. Conveniently, they fit on one tablet.

The Justices can relax, everyone can calm down; and, from God’s viewpoint, given mankind’s track record perhaps compromising on 5 out of 10 is not such a bad deal.

11 Comments:

Blogger Whymrhymer said...

That's a brilliantly comical (or is it comicaly brilliant) solution.

My solution (completely humorless I'm afraid) would be to keep the 10 Commandment displays in churchs and in homes where they belong. But what do I know, last time I saw a burning bush I wasted a can of beer putting it out.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Cynikell said...

I'm not sure that one set of "ideal five" will fit every individual. Can we go with a "choose any five of these ten" instruction for a more personalized approach?

I would probably go for the five that Mel Brooks dropped.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Homo Insapiens said...

Whymrhymer...your perfectly sensible suggestion would be a disaster for cynical satirists (or is it satirical cynics)! But thanks for the idea and conserve the beer.

Cynikell...taking the multiple choice approach may serve you well. However association with Abby Taylor will require you to answer an essay question as well if you have any chance of redemption

2:55 PM  
Blogger Abby Taylor said...

I guess my idea of selecting the five by throwing darts with blindfolds on is a poor idea?

6:53 PM  
Anonymous kitty teltscher said...

You are obviously a Brit at heart. Your 5 commandments are straight out of Monty Python. How John Cleese would enjoy your articles...

Kitty Teltscher, London

8:49 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

Any time someone refers to the SCOTUS as "the supremes" I get a vision of Diana Ross in a black robe. Not good.

But I like the idea of dyslexic Evangelists protesting the UCLA.

(*)>

10:27 AM  
Blogger Matt Gregg said...

I think that you have missed an important distinction between acceptable and unacceptable displays of the 10 commandments. Regardless of what the Supreme Court said, it is clear that a display that bears a close resemblance to what Moses originally brought down from the mountain can be permitted merely as a reproduction of an historic artifact.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I see no satire in any of your stuff, just cowardly naked prejudice.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous dv said...

I take it we are to assume that anonymous's comment is, by definition, cowardly naked prejudice.

3:35 AM  
Anonymous dv said...

... and anyway, what's wrong with that?
Apart from, perhaps, being discreetly clothed as befits the subject of the article

3:36 AM  
Blogger Abby Taylor said...

Take it from me. He's not a coward. And he's not prejudiced. So you're only right on one out of three, Anonyous.

9:32 PM  

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