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Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz

Posted: January 18, 2008 06:19 PM

Huckabee's Confusion Over the Ten Commandments and the Constitution


Mike Hukabee, who wants to be President of the United States, seems to think that our godless Constitution -- the first Constitution to exclude any reference to a deity -- is supposed to be brought in line with the Bible. He has pointed out that the Constitution has been amended, while the Ten Commandments are precisely the same as they were when given by God to the Jewish people more than 3,000 years ago.

Hukabee ought to go back to divinity school. He simply does not know what he's talking about when it comes to the Ten Commandments (to say nothing about the Constitution). The Ten Commandments have been amended on numerous occasions, especially by Hukabee's personal savior, Jesus. Let's start with the Commandment that mandates a day of rest. It specifically mandates the Seventh Day, namely Saturday, as "a Sabbath unto the Lord." And it gives a specific reason for picking Saturday: "For in Six Days the Lord made Heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."

Along came Christianity and amended that Commandment, changing the day of rest from the seventh day to the first day -- Sunday. The reason for sanctifying Sunday was also changed.

Jesus also amended the prohibition against adultery. When God told the Jewish people not to commit adultery, He was very clear about its definition. It prohibited sex with or by a married woman. Married men, however, were totally free to have sex with as many single women as they chose. Jesus improved on that and made the adultery prohibition gender neutral.

And what about the Commandment that says: "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation on them that hate me." When's the last time a minister quoted that commandment? As Thomas Jefferson pointed out, it is the most un-American of all commandments since we believe in personal guilt and not guilt being passed from generation to generation. Indeed our constitution specifically prohibits Bills of attainder which are based on the Ten Commandments.

Finally, the Ten Commandments mentions slavery twice, requiring that slaves be given a day of rest and prohibiting the coveting of a neighbor's slave. You don't see those commandments ever quoted in full in the bumper sticker version that adorns churches and synagogues and that the Hukabees of the world want to see in our schools and courtrooms.

Hukabee cites the constitutional amendments that enfranchised women and abolished slavery. Both were improvements on the Bible, which disenfranchised women and permitted slavery. Bad examples Mike!

So Mike, go back to divinity school and learn a bit more about the Ten Commandments. Then go back to elementary school and retake your civics course and learn about the First Amendment that mandates that our country is ruled by our Constitution, not by your Bible.