Friday, March 8, 2013

What Ten Commandments?

When President Obama calls, I jump. It's the least I can do for the man who once saved my life in 'Nam. But even I must admit that he caught me by surprise with his latest request, and, no, I'm not talking about a round of golf with Tiger Woods.
     "Jim," he told me, "I need you to condense The Ten Commandments down to, ah, one?"
     It seemed an interesting challenge, but I wondered why.
     "It's this whole sequester thing," he told me. "The United States of America can no longer afford ten of anything, much less the commandments, what with all these automatic cuts coming in."
     So I thought I'd give it a shot.
     But which commandments should I use? The Jewish ones? The Protestant ones? I decided to go with the Catholic ones, because they're so much shorter. Don't believe me? Fine, I'll prove it to you. Take, for example, the Second Commandment. It goes:

II.  Thou shalt not make for thyself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the father upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

     The catholics, in their infinite wisdom, have slimmed it down to this: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.
     Is that all?
     I looked under the refrigerator, between the cushions of the couch, and couldn't find anything more.
     Yup, that was it.
     I don't even think the original commandment said anything about taking the name of the Lord in vain, but that's what the catholics got out of it.
     Before you get the wrong idea, I was born, baptised, and raised a catholic. I go to church every Sunday. Well, almost every Sunday. Okay, I don't go to church, but I will when I need a favor from God. I even took advantage of the Vatican's early voting this week to cast my vote for Pope. Anyway, what I always found interesting was how my religion had no problem adding to or taking away from the word of God.
     The Our Father prayer is a good example of this. When Jesus* was giving the sermon on the mount (more like a hill), He instructed the audience listening to Him on exactly how it was they were supposed to pray, and, for most of my life, I thought the prayer ended with: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. It wasn't until I actually read the Bible myself that I discovered that a final line had been edited out: For Thine is the power, the kingdom, and the glory. Amen. If the Bible is the word of God, then why would you leave out part of what He says? And that's not the only problem I have with the catholic version of this prayer. We're taught to pray: And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. What the Bible actually says is: And forgive us our DEBTS, as we forgive our DEBTORS.
     There's a big difference between a trespass and a debt. The biggest difference being that God tells us to do one, while the catholic church tells us to do the other.
     But I digress...
     So I pulled out my copy of the catholic Ten Commandments and went to work. I immediately had a problem with the first commandment.

I.  I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.

     First off, I find it interesting that God doesn't say that He's the ONLY God, or that there are NO OTHER gods. He only says that we shall put no OTHER God before him. Other Gods are cool, just as long as He's first. But that's neither here nor there, since, ultimately, the first commandment goes without saying. So, if it goes without saying, then there's no point in saying it. So...
     BAM! It's aborted!
     The second commandment goes:

II.  Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.

     The only time I've ever used the name of the Lord in vain is when I've prayed and my prayers weren't answered, which turns out to be ALL of the time, so...
     BAM! It's aborted!
     Now when I pray, I pray to Dick Cheney, because Dick Cheney seems like the kind of guy who can get things done.
     The third commandment seems clear enough.

III.  Remember the sabbath and to keep it holy.

     Only... when is the sabbath? All my life I've gone to church on Sunday, so I've made the assumption that Sunday was the sabbath. Every Christian church worships on Sunday, so surely I'm right, aren't I? Sunday IS the sabbath, isn't it?
     Wrong, blubber-butt!
     The sabbath is Saturday.** God tells us to keep Saturday holy, but man, who obviously feels he knows more than God, decided to make it Sunday instead. I'm not going to blame this on the catholics, although I'm sure they're the ones responsible, but I will hold them accountable for this: Why didn't anybody at least tell me that I was worshiping on the wrong day? That way I could have made an intelligent choice about whether I wanted to obey the word of man, or the word of God. Because of this conflict...
     BAM! It's aborted!
     Which brings us to...

IV.  Honor thy father and thy mother.

     Parents, for the most part, are loving, kind, and protective of their children. But you have those occassional psychopaths who neglect, abuse, rape, injure, and even kill the most innocent and helpless among us, their own children. Under normal circumstances, of course you should honor your father and mother, but in those extreme cases where the parents are their children's worse nightmare, I say no. Therefore...
     BAM! It's aborted!
     Speaking about killing, that brings us to...

V.  Thou shalt not kill.

     Some bible scholars say "kill," some Bible scholars who are not catholic say that the correct translation is "murder." Come on, now. Which is it? I remember once in catechism reading a section of the Bible where God tells one of His prophets of peace to go kill an entire city.***
     "The entire city?" the man asks, not quite believing it himself.
     God says, "Yes, the ENTIRE city. All the men, the women, and the children. Even the animals."
     "Okey-dokey, God," the man answered, and then, much like the way the Nazis would do later, he followed orders.
     Now, I can understand the men. I can understand the women, as long as we put ex-wives at the head of the line. Maybe I can even understand the children, as long as those children belong to someone other than myself. But the ANIMALS? Sorry, God...
     BAM! It's aborted!
     Number six and number nine...

VI.  Thou shalt not commit adultery.
IX.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife.

...both say the same thing, so they cancel each other out.
     BAM! They're aborted!
     Which brings us to the seventh commandment.

VII.  Thou shalt not steal.

     It's kind of hard to argue against this one, although that's exactly what I have to do to justified the money that's stolen out of our paychecks each Friday in the form of taxes. G.E., a billion dollar corporation, paid zero dollars in taxes last year,**** while I  paid a third of what I earned to make sure the huddled masses got their free government cheese. So, just because Obama asked me to...
     BAM! It's aborted!
     Now we're getting near the end. Can you feel the excitement? I sure can.

VIII.  Thou shalt not lie.

     What exactly is a lie? Doesn't a lie depend on your point of view? When the President tells us the economy is getting better, when it clearly isn't, is that a lie?
     Let's see, he still flies on his own private airplane, he still rides in his own private limousine, he still has his own private security force, he still plays golf with Tiger Woods, he still takes his family on expensive vacations. He still does all that and more, yet he never has to take his own wallet out of his back pocket to pay for any of it himself.
     I'd say the economy looks pretty bright in his eyes. Using this kind of convoluted logic, there IS no such thing as a lie, so...
     BAM! It's aborted!
     And that leaves us with a the final commandment, number ten.

X.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

     Hey, have you seen the economy lately? It's in the toilet. You better open up your checkbooks and start coveting some of your neighbor's goods, and fast. Wanting what your neighbor has is what keeps this economic merry-go-round going merrily around.
     How else will you know what happiness is, unless you see your neighbor with it first?
     BAM! It's aborted!
     No, my friends, there is no such thing as The Ten Commandments. Maybe they had a purpose in the time they were written, but they have no reason for existing in this day and age. Just like Rosie O'Donnell.
     When I handed this report to the President, he thanked me.
     "Jim," he said, "you've done a great service for your country."
     "Thank you, Mr. President," I answered, wondering if there would be any financial compensation for all the work I did. There wasn't. Same old Obama.
     "You want to get together later?" I asked him, hopefully. "For old times sake?"
     "Can't," he said, shaking those big ears of his from side to side. "I'm playing golf with Tiger Woods."
*If we are God's children, and Jesus is God's only son, then does that make the rest of us girls? Just asking.
**This is the one thing the Jews have gotten right.
***It's in there, but you'll have to look for it yourself. I'm not getting paid for this, so, if you think I'm going to do the research myself, you're nuts. Make yourself useful, and go look in the King James version of the Old Testament, and, when you find it, send me the proper passage. I'll pay you what Obama paid me.
****At least according to those extreme right-wing pundits I'm brain-washed by, such as Bill O'Really, Rush Limbo, and Michael Sandwich.
And a tip of the hat to George Carlin, who used to pray to Joe Pesci.
American Chimpanzee

No comments:

Post a Comment