The Ten Commandments are the first direct communication between a people and God. Designed to elevate our lives above mere frantic, animal existence to the sublime levels humanity is capable or experiencing, they are the blueprint of God's expectations of us and His plan for a meaningful, just, loving, and holy life. Each commandment asserts a principle, and each principle is a moral focal point for real-life issues relating to God, family, sex, work, charity, property, speech, and thought. Written in collaboration with Rabbi Stewart Vogel,The Ten Commandments incorporates lively discussion of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian values derived from it.
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May 30, 2006
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Excerpt from The Ten Commandments by Laura Schlessinger
"I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage."
According to numbers published by the New York Times Magazine (December 7, 1997), 96 percent of Americans said they believed in God; the words "In God We Trust" decorate our money; and a depiction of Moses and the Ten Commandments adorns the courtroom where the Justices of the Supreme Court often pronounce the Ten Commandments unconstitutional when placed on the wall of a schoolroom. Our founding fathers in America acknowledged God as our creator and source of universal, unalienable rights and moral standards. Why do we now appear threatened by that assertion?
Judge Roy S. Moore, the Alabama jurist who is locked in a legal battle to keep a handcrafted replica of the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall, said he is at the center of a debate about Americans' acknowledgment of God. "Are we still one nation under God? Do we still acknowledge a higher law?" he challenged. (Jewish Times, October 24-30, 1997). It would seem that we suffer from ambivalence about believing in God, acknowledging God as our ultimate authority, and publicly teaching that belief and authority to our children.
Jim Senyszyn, a self-proclaimed atheist, wrote in the Greensboro, North Carolina, Record (November 2, 1997) that "since the Bible's basic cosmological model is monarchical, any rights that do occur are by the sufferance of the monarch," and that "Religious symbols [e.g., displaying the Ten Commandments] intimidate and give false authority." An op-ed column by John Tuouy, appearing in the same newspaper, countered that "Nothing in the Commandments prescribes a Gestapo-like authority to enforce compliance. Human beings have free will whether or not to comply."
Universally, people struggle for freedom from despotic domination to determine their own destiny. Personally, adolescents struggle for freedom from parental power, so they can do what they want, when and how they want. Freedom from external control allows for self-determination, self-expression, self-fulfillment . . . oh, oh, too much "self" . . . opportunity, diversity of opinion and ideas, experimentation--clearly a chance to explore the farthest reaches of human individual possibilities. As far as it goes, that is not a bad thing. But should there be limits? How do we judge whether what we are doing is right or wrong? Is all individually desired behavior fair or good for others or society as a whole--and should that even matter? What ultimately makes life purposeful and meaningful?