Monday, July 13, 2015
THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW!
Weekly Opinion Editorial
THE PURPOSE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
by Steve Fair
It has been a tough couple of weeks for political conservatives. First, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act tax credits were applicable to those who signed up through the federal exchanges, even though the bill as written had not allowed for that. The second was the ruling on same-sex marriage, where the high court ruled that every state had to recognize every other state’s marriage laws.
The third blow to conservatives was the ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court on the Ten Commandments monument displayed on state property near the Capitol. In a 7-2 ruling, the state Supreme court ruled the monument must be removed because it violates Article II, section 5 of the state constitution. Governor Mary Fallin said the monument will stay and Attorney General Scott Pruitt says he will appeal the ruling. They both believe the Ten Commandments are the recognized historic basis of American law as evidenced by the fact Moses and the Ten Commandments are displayed in the SCOTUS courtroom. A number of Republican state legislators said they will run a Joint Resolution that will allow Oklahomans to vote on repealing the offending section of the constitution. Some conservatives have said this was an indication of how secular our government has become and is a result of the deterioration of our society. Three observations on the three rulings:
First, the ruling on ObamaCare was wrong because the court didn’t interrupt the actual law, but instead ruled on the reported ‘intent’ of the law. That is a dangerous precedent- the court didn’t rule on what was definitive- they ruled on what they believe the ‘intent’ was of those who wrote the law. Intent is key in contract law, but the overriding rule of thumb is if a provision is not expressly in the contract, it doesn’t exist. This ruling was not sound and most objective lawyers(liberals and conservatives) admit that. The ACA decision was political and is another example of an activist judiciary.
Second, the ruling on same-sex marriage was also flawed constitutionally. In his 29 page dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts said the ruling was unconstitutional. In the minority opinion, Roberts and Justice Scali asked the question; how is it possible that great legal minds like Daniel Webster didn’t see how the 14th amendment was applicable to marriage in the past 150 years? Government just needs to get out of the marriage business- period.
Third, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling was based on their belief the Ten Commandments are exclusively religious. The Decalogue is certainly religious, but it has been the recognized basis for human law for centuries. The Mosaic Law has both historic and secular value. Those who object to the public display of the Ten Commandments cite a variety of reasons, but the main one is they are ‘offended by the demands of the law.’ Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, says, “The God who gave us the Ten Commandments fully expects to be God. That's bad news for the idea of a "free, independent, sovereign individual who exists for his own sake."
The vast majority of those scrambling to defend the display of the Decalogue at the Capitol have no idea the true purpose of the Ten Commandments. It is not a guideline for humanity to live by, as Jesus proved in the Sermon on the Mount. In that famous sermon, the Lord took the most well known commandments and showed that ‘sin is in the heart before it is in the hand.’ He said man violated the commandments in their thoughts and intents. In his letter to the church at Galatia, Paul called the Mosaic law a ‘schoolmaster’ to drive man to Christ. Any honest man knows he can’t ‘keep’ the Ten Commandments because he has a fallen sin nature. His only hope is the mercy of God. The law condemns man- Christ liberates him. Woe on a society or country that forgets where the true gauge of right and wrong came from and this court ruling flies in the face our nation’s history.
President John Quincy Adams said, “The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal, as well as a moral and religious code… laws essential to the existence of men in society and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws.”
Displaying the commandments is a noble gesture by society, but displaying them and understanding them are two completely different things. May God open unregenerate hearts in America so they understand the real purpose of the Decalogue.