Once again, the epic drama of slavery and freedom is upon us. No, I’m not referring to Ferguson, although others have written extensively on links there to the nation’s history of bondage, legal violence, and avoidance of justice. While others protest, this weekend millions of moviegoers will behold Exodus: Gods and Kings. “Let my people go” will square off against law and order. The fish will die; so will the first born males. The Red Sea will separate, for a time, and then its crashing waters will destroy an army.
Exodus has been with Americans since the nation’s birth.
Rod Dreher revealed recently that he couldn't come up with more than six of the Ten Commandments from memory. He also pointed out the irony of this fact coming from someone who often gets on his "high horse about theological ignorance," so I won't pile on.
I've mentioned before that, while I haven't retained everything I learned at my evangelical grade school, I do recall a catchy song for remembering the U.S. presidents in order. We also performed a lot of musicals, including the popular '80s Christmas program Angels Aware.
The Ten Commandments may soon, by decree, be posted on public school walls. Burnt into wood or graven as images in stone, or merely inked, they will contribute to American moral security. Soft-headed liberals react by pointing out how many Americans are left out by such government endorsements of a particular faith. Many schools have Muslim majorities.
When people get around to prioritizing Old Testament scholars of this generation who have made significant contributions to textual interpretation for the guild and for the church, it is likely that Patrick Miller’s name, like that of Abu ben Adam, will lead all the rest.
Far from the grandstanding around stone tablets in front of an Alabama courthouse comes Losing Moses on the Freeway, a refreshing reflection on the ten great Mosaic laws that is muted yet monumental in its own right.
Georgia governor Sonny Perdue has signed into law two bills that critics say may blur the line between church and state. But First Amendment watchdog groups indicated they will wait to see how the laws are put into effect before filing challenges.
Something’s missing in the current culture war over the Ten Commandments. I knew about Judge Roy Moore, the now-removed chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who waged and lost a stubborn fight to keep a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse. What slipped past me is just how much this monument of his weighs: 5,280 pounds, or just over 500 pounds per commandment.
Though the Supreme Court reached different results in two cases challenging government displays of the Ten Commandments, the court’s message was quite clear: in deciding such issues, context is everything.
Advocates for church-state separation generally gave a collective sigh of relief last month when the Supreme Court ruled that the posting of the Ten Commandments inside two Kentucky courthouses is unconstitutional.