Anti-swearing law

Mon Feb 21 13:09:58 UTC 2000

Somebody's original comment:

The Ten Commandments of Hebrew
and Aramaic > tradition are not at all
the same as those contained in the
Catholic > version of the Bible; King
James and the Revised Standard and
any half > dozen other Bible versions
you might pick up are going to use different
words and different numbers for particular

Anne's reply:

This is true enough.  I've seen various
translations of the Bible, and I know
what you're talking about.  However,
the kind of people who would post
the Ten Commandments in classrooms
or other public spaces are most likely
the kind of people who know only the
King James Version, the New International
Version (a favorite of fundamentalists), or
some similar version.  They are not likely
to know the Ten Commandments in Hebrew
or Aramaic, or they may well think the
other translations are not "literal" enough
to satisfy them.  They have a very narrow
view of faith, as you may imagine.


What kind of a crock is this? One of you
making this allegation please document
these supposedly significant "differences"
for  the rest of us. Does any of you know
anything about these translations apart
from "seeing" them, or how they were made?
And what "other translations" might be
assumed not to be "literal" enough? The
KJV, the NIV, and the Jerusalem Bible
(ecumenical translation) are very different
in form but you can still easily recognize
all the commandments. (This should be an
"of course" for a crowd of linguists.) I think
the person originally raising this is talking
about actual word-for-word identicalness.
Well who cares about that? There's no doubt
about  the content in any of these versions.
It's the application of the 10 general principles
to specific situations that might cause dissension.
(And also, the idea that these ten are somehow
more important than all the other biblical

And it is very telling that anybody would
think they could get away with such
egregious stereotypes as the one above
by Anne. "Imagine" is definitely the
operative word there. I find it highly ironic
that anybody calmly taking for granted
that her audience will swallow her negative
stereotypes about people whose beliefs
are different from hers should in the same
breath talk about a "small group of people
'vocally' imposing *their* ideas of 'decency'
and 'morals' on everybody else, while the
rest of us 'just go along with it to avoid
argument'. How does this huge and laughable
myth, that the poor secular majority is being
oppressed by a handful of religious people, rather
than the reverse, survive???? Maybe in the U.S...

I write this as a serious question about
American dialects.  In today's > setting,
how can "swearing" be defined in secular
terms?  Can the job be > done at all, or is
the essence of "swearing" intimately tied to
> religious belief?

Yes, everything that is important to people is
intimately tied to religious belief. It's simply
a question of the definition of religion in such
a way that everyone is seen to have one.  So
it's not that the job of a secular definition "can't
be done at all," it's that it's not worth doing.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list