Seriously. Can somebody explain this to me? Why do so-called Christians make such a big ruckus out of displaying the Ten Commandments rather than the Beatitudes? I guess I’m mistaken, but I thought the Beatitudes were supposed to be a big deal.
A sizeable and vocal subset of Christians — heavily overlapping the set of Christians most likely to make a ruckus about displaying Christian iconography &etc in official government settings — is oriented more towards judgmental absolutism than towards forgiveness sharing and refraining from judging one’s neighbor.
I’m a former Christian, and I have three guesses:[ul][li]The ten commandments are rules; the beatitudes are more like suggestions.[/li][li]In general, more weight is given to the Old Testament than the New Testament.[/li]Almost all of the beatitudes are open to to interpretation (different definitions of "poor in spirit, “meek,” etc.), while for the most part the commandments are black and white. Folks may quibble over what it means to “honor thy father and mother,” but the other 9 are pretty straightforward.[/ul]Or maybe some combination of all three. But really, who knows why Christians do what they do?
Many Christians (and non-Christians for that matter) believe that the Ten Commandments form some basis for our modern laws (specifically, the last six), and are generally good guidelines to live by. Thus, their display within proximity to legislative and judicial buildings makes sense. The Beatitudes don’t really give any advice, they just give hope to those groups that they describe (the poor, the meek).
Most Christian homes that I have visited do not have the Ten Commandments displayed. They more likely have affirming verses or poetry (the classic example being "Footprints) or artwork depicting shepherds, individuals bowed in prayer, or Christ.
I might add that, in my experience, it isn’t the Christians who are making a big ruckus, it is the perpetually offended atheists who are making the ruckus. I am sure that this group, as extremely vocal as they are extremely the minority, would also screech at the display of the Beatitudes, or any other religious wording or iconography.
That’s a two-way street there, buddy. Whenever someone decides that it might be a good idea to take down a tablet of the ten commandments lest it seem that the courts favor a particular set of spiritual beliefs, we invariably get a throng of screeching protestors lamenting how religion (read: Christianity) is under attack in this country.
Many years ago, there was a wave of 10C monuments installed around the country. Was it from a sudden increase in religion? No, it was Cecil B. Demille promoting his new movie. Demille never made a movie about the Beatitudes, so, no monuments. Today, people see these monuments to a movie, and they make some mistaken assumptions about religion & government.
It really says a lot about the influence one person can have.
It would be rather difficult for them to be perpetually offended if there were not something perpetually antagonizing them. If there weren’t a set of the 10Cs in the lobby of the courthouse, where it shouldn’t be because of that pesky seperation of church and state thing, atheists wouldn’t be complaining.
It’s not “the atheists” who have a problem, it’s anyone who believes that church and state should be completely separate. Some of us are Christian, some are atheist, some agnostic, some Buddhist, etc. On the other hand, some atheists and agnostics don’t give a shit about this issue.
Once more for the folks in the back: it’s about church vs. state, not Christianity vs. atheism.
Speaking only for myself, I don’t care about the fact that it’s Constitutional; I care about the fact that it shouldn’t be Constitutional.