Ten Commandments Day: A confusing message?

May 3, 2006 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Christians around the U.S. are gearing up for the observance of the first annual Ten Commandments Day this Sunday, May 7. The event is a response to recent court rulings against the Ten Commandments, which have resulted in the removal of the Commandments from many public places.

The Ten Commandments Commission, which is organizing the event, aims to “restore the supremacy of the tenants, precepts, and principles contained in the Ten Commandments.”

Additionally, the Commission desires to “create a mechanism by which the Word of God can be restored in every aspect of society peacefully and without violation of the legal system.”

Supporters of the event include such Christian leaders as Chuck Colson, Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. James Kennedy, and Jerry Falwell.


I’m somewhat ambivalent about this day of observance. On one hand, I think it’s great that people are talking about society’s moral foundations and are resisting what they perceive as the secularizing of American society.

On the other hand, the event is also somewhat puzzling to me.

For one thing, Christians as a whole regularly proclaim that they are “not under the law.” I find that view to be a misleading interpretation of the New Testament, but regardless, it seems a mixed message to have a whole day focusing on the importance of the Ten Commandments if in fact they are no longer applicable.

Secondly, I share the puzzlement of the Seventh-day Adventist church over the fact that Christians would call for such an event despite the fact that most Christians don’t observe the fourth commandment. (The fourth commandment calls for observers to keep holy the seventh day of the week, which would be Saturday.)

Am I the only one who sees these two points as slightly confusing? I’m afraid we Christians don’t do much to help ourselves by sending such contradictory messages.

Even if the message itself weren’t contradictory, I’m iffy on the way that it is being presented.

Prohibitions against public displays of the Ten Commandments are one of the central issues involved, and the Ten Commandments Commission is clearly interested in using legislation to restore the primacy of the Ten Commandments.

I sympathize with resentment about the exclusion of Christianity from the public sphere, but I question the wisdom of using governmental force to “restore the Word of God to our nation.”

Technically speaking, God’s law is supposed to be written on our hearts, not inscribed in public displays. Using legislation to further that message is a bit self-defeating, I think—not to mention a little scary for the heavy-handedness involved.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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