The Ten Commandments in Public Spaces
I learned them like this:
Number one, we've just begun: God should be first in your life.
Number two's the idol rule: Those graven images aren't nice.
Number three: God's name should be never taken in jest.
Number four: The Sabbath's for God's worship and for rest.
Number five: We all should strive to honor father and mother.
Number six: Don't get your kicks from killing one another.
Number seven: Life is heaven when you're true to your mate.
Number eight: Don't steal and break these rules for goodness's sake!
Number nine: Don't be the kind who goes around telling lies.
Number ten: Don't covet when you see your neighbor's house, or wife.
Hard to see why four commandments about worshiping God and six commandments for getting along with others which (we should have learned as children) need to be more promenant in the nation's concience. Especially when those ideas aren't present in the own congressman's head.
Oh, wait. We must be talking about the *idea* of the Ten Commandments. This imagines that the Ten Commandments are a set of rules that 1.) I'm already living and 2.) if others also lived by, society be perfect.
Notice the things the Ten Commandments do not talk about: Feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, providing homes for orphans and widows, charging only a reasonable amount of interest on loans, not taking away livelihoods when developing a business interest, being hospitable to all immigrants -- illegal or not. Perhaps these items, which the Bible spends a whole lot more time on than the Ten Commandments, are a bit inconvenient for our legislatorial friends. Perhaps they are more comfortable with telling others what to do with their Sunday than they are asking themselves if their actions are making people poorer.
Also notice that the Ten Commandments do not prohibit flag burning, or homosexuality, or speech criticising the king. They do not tell women they should be subordinate to men and they do not tell men they are justified in taking home a larger paycheck. They do not tell people to read the bible or to go to church or to keep their hair short or long depending on gender. They don't mandate a nuclear family, or make English the national language. They don't require prayer in schools or at the beginning of baseball games.
One thing they do tell us, though: Thou shalt not use the name or images related to God in a way that does not honor God. To my mind, this includes trying to post copies (usually graven) of the ten commandments in places where it makes the stranger or the outsider wonder if they're going to get a fair trial.