In 1980 in the case of Stone v. Gramm, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to hang the Ten Commandments on the wall of a school room.6
Think about that for a moment. The Ten Commandments are the foundation of Western Civilization. Our entire legal system is rooted in them.
The reasoning of the Court was right out of the "Twilight Zone." The Court stated that "if the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments." The Court then proceeded to state that these were not "permissible objectives." Is it any wonder that so many of our schools have become jungles of drugs and violence?
Modernizing the Commandments
A man by the name of Ken Matto has revised the Ten Commandments to reflect current values. He calls his revision "The Ten Replacements."7
- Thou shalt create gods in man's image to confirm the deity of man and the evolution of intelligence. Your gods may be created according to self-revelation.
- Thou shalt make unto thyself images and symbols of your beliefs. If your image is a cow or a rock star or a pentagram, that is fine. All things are relative in the evolution of the species.
- Thou shalt take the name of God and Jesus in vain since Jesus was not God, and God is anything you care to make him — or her.
- Thou shalt profane the Sabbath Day because you get double time on Sunday, and your family need not be in church since it is full of hypocrites. And furthermore, isn't making money the important thing?
- Thou shalt dishonor thy father and mother because they are only good to bail you out of jail or put a roof over your head. Too bad they don't possess the wisdom and knowledge of the years like you do, being a 13 year old.
- Thou shalt kill since you will only be acting on pent up rage because your father disciplined you one time when you were 5.
- Thou shalt commit adultery. After all, we have a free thinking and open society, and since your faith is in science, you know they will soon come up with a cure for AIDS or Herpes Simplex II.
- Thou shalt steal, for isn't everybody doing it? When you get out into the workplace you can steal time, pencils, products, and anything else you deserve. After all, didn't you have a deprived childhood because daddy and mommy refused to buy you $90 attitude pants with the crotch down to your knees?
- Thou shalt bear false witness. After all, it really isn't false witness; it is just looking out for number one. If a good lie at the right time saves your hide, come on, why not?
- Thou shalt always covet your neighbor's things because if you outdo them, your self-esteem will skyrocket, and you will finally be someone special. Remember, your pride is the most important thing.
The amazing thing is that in the midst of all this moral depravity, we have the audacity to call ourselves a "Christian nation"! The fact of the matter is that we are a post-Christian nation that is now wallowing in secularism and paganism. The comedian Steve Allen summed it up well in a remark he often made about the American entertainment industry: "We have vulgarians entertaining barbarians."
Where did America get off course? How have we managed to move so quickly from a God-fearing nation to one that thumbs its nose at God?
In the next segment of this series on the decay of society, we'll look at how we as a society got on the road to depravity.
6) Stone v. Graham, 449, U.S. 39 (1980). For a good survey of court decisions that have impacted America's schools in a negative way, see David Barton's book, America: To Pray or Not to Pray, (Aledo, Texas: WallBuilder Press, 1991).
7) Mailed to the author in 1997 by Ken Matto. Ken lives in Edison, New Jersey where he works as a production planner in a coffee company. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Bethany Theological Seminary.