On Friday, Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association (AFA), best known as a man who hates everything and everyone, caught a ride on the Crazy Bus. He has always been a poster-boy for Ten Commandment intolerance. By that, I mean that he opposes as a matter of principle, everything and anything that is not approved of by his highly selective, ahistorical (meaning unconcerned with or unrelated to history) understanding of “Judeo-Christian” beliefs.
Now, he’s on rocky ground anyway because “Judeo-Christian” is an ideological construct and so his arguments rest on a false premise, but for a Gentile like Fischer, who ignores two points of the Law of Moses for each one he supports, to go on about the need to write them into America law is just a wee bit hypocritical. But it’s far more convoluted and bizarre than you might imagine. Strap yourselves in.
On his AFA blog, Fischer claims “The Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian tradition supplied the foundation for the American political experiment.” The complete and absolute dissimilarity between the two ought to be his first clue that he’s dancing on thin ice but he prefers to turns his dancing into stomping when he tries to legitimize his stupidity by appealing to George Washington, a man who while he was president of the Constitutional Convention did not write the Constitution:
“As George Washington said, ‘Of all the disposition and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensible supports.’”
He can’t actually cite the Constitution itself, since the Constitution mentions neither God nor Bible, neither Jesus nor Ten Commandments. Factually, the Constitution has as its central prop English Common Law, which also has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments.
Yet Fischer rushes to put words in Washington’s mouth to justify his use of the quote: “By ‘Religion,’ Washington meant Christianity, and by ‘morality’ he meant the Ten Commandments. In other words, according to the Father of our country, it is impossible to have political prosperity without building on the platform of the Christian religion and Christian morality.”
A head-scratcher if there ever was one. Stuff like this actually makes sense to fundamentalist Christians. It’s almost as nonsensical as this claim, which I just invented:
“George Washington said ‘Of all the foods which make up a healthy breakfast, fruits and vegetables are indispensible.’ By fruit and vegetables Washington meant apples and asparagus, therefore what he was saying is that you can’t have a healthy breakfast without apples and asparagus.”
Which brings us to the purpose of Fischer’s latest piece of insanity:
But this is the very thing secular fundamentalists despise. So they have, in effect, written their own moral code on tablets of stone, to replace the moral code on which the Founders established our political and cultural life.
Well, yes, we do despise your lies, Mr. Fischer. Absolutely! But to call the Constitution a moral code is a tad bit tendentious – that’s a term we’d use for the Ten Commandments and here you can see what Fischer is trying to do: If the Constitution is inspired by or based upon the Ten Commandments, it must also be a moral code. Mr. Fischer loves false equivalencies.
“These new commandments must be obeyed,” he complains, as though you could have such a thing as commandments which must not be obeyed, another head-scratcher, “and those who flout them will receive the most severe and unyielding punishments” – oh, like the curses that fall upon Israel for disregarding the Ten Commandments? The curses you say are going to fall on our heads if we disobey, like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes? That kind of punishment? No, turns out liberal punishments are less severe than divine wrath: “censure, excommunication, (say, from graduate counseling programs), and fines in the forms of legal fees to the secular imams at the ACLU.”
And hilarity ensued! You almost wonder if Fischer isn’t trying to lampoon himself. It’s not as though religious groups don’t routinely “excommunicate” gay people or others who don’t toe the religious line supported by Mr. Fischer! Nossir! And Fischer seems completely unaware that the ACLU often supports Christians.
But of course he is far from unaware. The trouble with inconvenient facts are that they are, well…inconvenient. They must therefore be ignored. That is why Fischer prefers that quote to this, from George Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1790:
For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.
Notice he did not say “should follow the Ten Commandments” or “be good Christians,” only that we should “demean” ourselves as “good citizens.” Oh those inconvenient facts!
One other observation before we continue: Fischer has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Stanford University but you wonder how he graduated when he says things like this:
“The Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments, therefore we must legislate the Ten Commandments into law”.
Excuse me, but if the Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments, haven’t the Ten Commandments already been legislated into law by the Founding Fathers?
I’m beginning to wonder whose !##% he @#%@# to get his degree. I mean, I also have a BA in philosophy, which included classes in logic, and as my first professor told us, this would teach us to “recognize bullshit when we see it” and to not make similarly stupid statements ourselves.
And on the subjects of stupid statements and bullshit, we come to Fischer’s “Ten Commandments of secular Sharia”:
1. “Government, not Yahweh, is God.” Secular fundamentalists want us to look to government for everything we we were once taught to look for from God. Government is all knowing, all powerful, all wise, all caring. You know, all the things God used to be.
2. “You shall have no gods, period.” The goal of secular fundamentalists is the extermination of any and all mentions of God and Christ in the public arena. The only exceptions to the “no god” rule will be for Gaia and Allah. Gaia is to be worshiped, and any blasphemy against her, by plundering her for such things as the fuel on which the world runs, will be met with the severest punishment and condemnation.
3. “You shall not take the name of the homosexual agenda or Islam in vain.” If you do, we will land on you like a falling safe. Profanity, blasphemy, vulgarity, obscenity, pornography, all are fine. Criticize homosexual conduct, on the other hand, and we will cause the wrath of our god to descend upon you as a consuming fire. You will be silenced, marginalized and treated as a leper. We secularists have freedom of speech but you cretinous conservatives do not. If you have a problem with sexually deviant behavior, you are by definition a homophobic hatemonger and we don’t have to listen to you.
4. “Observe Halloween, Labor Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as holy days. Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, on the other hand, must be wiped off school calendars as if they never existed.”
5. “Honor your father and mother – by which we mean liberal politicians, since they have turned government into your mommy and your daddy.” No husband, no problem: government will be the head of your home. No father, no problem: government will be your provider and raise your children for you.
6. “You shall not murder – unless it’s a defenseless baby in the womb.”
7. “You shall not commit adultery – unless it’s with another man’s wife. Fornication and sodomy without repercussions and penalty are okay too. And we’re working on polygamy and pedophilia.” Anyone who disagrees, and says anything remotely critical of such behaviors, will be subject to the wrath of the holy and righteous prophets of secular Sharia in the out-of-the-mainstream media, who will call down fire and brimstone on those who dare to challenge the sexual orthodoxy of leftist libertines.
8. “You shall not steal – unless it’s to plunder from the producers what they have earned to give to the non-producers what they have not earned.” Anyone who complains about this involuntary transfer of wealth will be judged by the secular mullahs as evil, greedy capitalists and silenced. Right after they have been ripped off.
9. “You shall not bear false witness – unless it is to tell blatant lies about the Constitution, American history, the economy, unemployment figures and drilling for oil.” As long as you are lying to advance the power and reach of government, or get a leftist politician reelected, it’s okay. Secularists have their own version of taqqiya, just like the Muslims do.
10. “You shall not covet anything – as long as it belongs to people who are poorer than you. If they have more money than you, they are evil oppressors who must be plundered of their ill-gotten wealth by our government overlords so it can be redistributed to the lazy, shiftless and irresponsible.”
Fischer wants to know “I miss anything?” and I think I can safely answer this for him: Yes, Mr. Fischer. You missed pretty much everything except the departure of the crazy bus.
The first commandment ought to be, ‘Thou shall not proceed from false premises” and you have broken that one and the punishment is self-evident: Once you begin an argument with “The Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments, therefore…” you have consigned the rest of your argument to logical fallacy hell, from which it will never surface.
The extent to which your followers agree with you is a measure not of the truth of you statement but of their own catastrophic ignorance and bigotry.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.