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Allison Althoff
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Natalie Lederhouse
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May 14, 2012

The Tablets Are Broken Again

Should four of the Ten Commandments be eliminated?

You may have heard recently of a lawsuit filed by a high school student from Narrows, Virginia, that demanded the Ten Commandments, which are displayed on school property, be removed. Giles County School Board defended the display, saying that it also contained historical documents, such as the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Thus, Judge Michael Urbanski, who was hearing the case, suggested that the school remove the first four commandments, since they’re the ones directly referring to God and leave the remaining ones that deal with human faults and foibles.

“If indeed this issue is not about God, why wouldn’t it make sense for Giles County to say, ‘Let’s go back and just post the bottom six?’” Urbanski asked during a motions hearing in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. “But if it’s really about God, then they wouldn’t be willing to do that.”

Removing the Ten Commandments from schools and other public buildings is nothing new. Courts have only allowed them to remain under very limited circumstances, so the precedence is set. But the press loves to bring it to the fore because it makes great headlines. Robert Knight, of the Washington Times, began his article, “Taking a chisel to the Ten Commandments” (subtitled: Obama judge wants to delete the four rules that mention God) by stating, “God Almighty needs an editor, according to a federal judge in Virginia.” Pretty inflammatory beginning!

Of course, the judge wasn’t really suggesting we remove the first four commandments—it was just an illustration to make his point that it was a religious display and not a merely secular one. And I find his argument convincing—public reaction has certainly confirmed that this is a religious issue. So if that’s the determining factor, I have to admit the judge is right.

So what recourse does this leave for Christians as we live in a society that wants to be completely secular? We look at those around us as an unreached people group. We assume they know nothing about Christ and look for creative ways to introduce him. Rather than clinging to a wish that we were still a mostly Christian population, we instead must understand that we are now on a foreign mission field. We see those around us who need Christ. We study them, seek to understand them, and reach out to them, hoping and praying we can communicate who Christ is so that they can know him too.

As to eliminating the first four commandments? I’m perversely pleased the judge knew that they had to do with God. Most people wouldn’t. Maybe, just maybe, this whole discussion will make some people dust off their Bibles or at least Google the Ten Commandments to read them. And ultimately, it really doesn’t matter what the rest of the world does, but we need to cling to those commandments like glue so that others can see them lived out. We need to make sure we have no other god but the true God, forsake idols (or anything we put before him), make sure we don’t misuse God’s name, and practice a Sabbath to honor him.

What do you think?

Related Tags: government, hot topics, school, society, ten commandments


I think you are very correct. This is an issue about the Lord and whether He will be the Lord of our lives.
So much is written about our schools completely changing and falling apart after a court removed prayer from school years ago.
After teaching several years I wondered if this were true. As I remembered my own supposedly Christian home-I realized I had never heard my mo pray outloud-and only heard my dad do it once of twice a year at a family holiday meal. This even though we were in church every week - tons of times - my folks even helping start a Sunday School when my dad was posted overseas. So I talked to many other teachers and friends who were my age-and I found that prayer had left the homes of America long before it left the schools.
Then I took a look at what we called prayer in our church. There I found that for the majority of the churches in my denomination (after I came to know the Lord as an adult)prayer was short and sweet during Sunday Services, and when a very wise pastor we had tried to go back to full prayer service on Wednesday night-get on your knees, cry out to the Lord and let it change you prayer - it didn't last long-too many people complained bitterly and wanted to go back to Bible study on Wednesday night.
Students -and teachers - at least this one - are definitely praying in our schools, and I know many others who are. Whether you post the Ten Commandments in school or not-as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ-we have the power of the Holy Spirit to use us to make a difference wherever we are. So let's do that-and quit wasting time on court cases.

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