Letter: New mandate is attack on Constitution


American principles are under attack from many angles. There are so many such attacks, I fear we may overlook “lesser” challenges – because we’re so focused on the obvious one(s).

We’re working to sort out the philosophical damage from the Jan. 6 insurrection. Yes, some individual participants in the attack have been tried and convicted. Most convictions were for the criminal aspects (illegal entry, destruction of property, etc.).

While we work to digest the more serious Constitutional implications of the efforts to overturn a legal election, we’d do well to look at different attack on our Constitution. We must be concerned when some states mandate the display of the Ten Commandments in classrooms. Such action sounds pious, but violates the First Amendment. That’s serious!

The hypocrisy of the legislation is seen when contrasted with other actions and values of the legislators involved. Placing the spotlight on the Ten Commandments, for instance, keeps it from shining on the subtle ongoing racism in those states.

Ironically, if those legislators wanted to emphasize Christian values that would transform society, a display of Jesus’ Beatitudes would be more effective. The most visible emphasis of the Old Testament’s laws is what people are not to do. The Beatitudes, on the other hand, point to positive human values – the thoughts and actions that enrich society.

Perhaps more to the point: Why not have those huge highway billboards that display the Ten Commandments offer Jesus’ simple but potent answer to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” He replied with two rules morphed into one: “You shall love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength – and love your neighbor as your self.”

How might our world be different — if all lived by that transparent commandment?

William A. McCartney


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