Anti-swearing law

Bruce Dykes bkd at GRAPHNET.COM
Tue Feb 22 11:46:40 UTC 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Anne Gilbert <avgilbert at PRODIGY.NET>
Date: Monday, February 21, 2000 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: Anti-swearing law

>> Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your mind set) the "wall of
>> separation" is not nealy as clear cut as the phrase implies. Most courts

>> the wall. And the 'swearing' statute in Michigan is only the tip of the
>> religious icebergs that clutter the law. For example, sodomy statutes and
>> laws dealing with "perversion", for the most part, reflect nothing more
>than our
>> Puritanical heritage.

>I didn't say the "wall of separation" is airtight.  It obviously isn't, as
>the examples you have given suggest. And there is continual and ongoing
>argument about how airtight this "wall of separation" ought to be.  But
>that's another story, and probably doesn't have much to do with

I think I can drag this thread back to topic...though some kicking and
screaming might be involved. Those with delicate sensibilities may want to
look away...

There is a simple and elegant solution to the whole matter. To my mind,
posting the ten commandments, in toto, would violate the separation clause,
however, I am not a lawyer, so it would take a more learned legal mind than
my own to form an opinion solid enough to argue in court. The problem I see
lies in the fact that while some commandments do have laws that directly
cover them (stealing, murder), other commandments are strictly religious in
nature (thou shalt have no other gods before me). So the answer is to allow
posting of those commandments which correspond directly to laws, and
disallow posting of those commandments which are strictly religious. Now as
to how unhappy that makes people on either side of the argument, not my
concern actually...

(patience, dear readers...we shall approach topicality soon enough)

Now there are all sorts of laws across the US, and if, after such a
compromise, the lawyers want to argue over whether 'thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor's wife' (though I've seen that jokingly translated as 'thy
neighbor's ass,' certainly referring to donkeys. Mmhmm. Is there any
legitimacy to such a translation? See, already getting close to topicality)
is allowed in a jurisdiction with adultery laws, well, maybe that'll keep
them from causing real trouble, and if the lawyers don't like a judge in
juvenile court posting 'thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother,' well at
that point I'll call them petty.

Now here in Bergen county New Jersey, we have 'blue laws' (have you done
this one yet Barry?) which limit what you can buy and what kind of work you
can do on Sundays. Normally this would come under the commandment 'thou
shalt honor the sabbath and keep it holy.' Of course, in Exodus they're
referring to the Jewish sabbath which occurs, as we all know, on Saturday,
not Sunday, while somewhere along the way, the Christians decided to move
their sabbath to Sundays.

Now the question becomes, what does sabbath literally mean, as used in the
scripture, and where and how along the way does it get shifted a day? Why it
gets shifted is presumably to further divorce the common elements between
the Jewish faith and the Christian church, whatever technical reason may be
given, but I'm open to correction on that point.

See? Back to topic. I trust you're all still awake...


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