Louisiana Faces Commandments Conundrum
Ed Brayton finds the Louisiana State Legislature playing God—or at the very least Moses, as lawmakers attempt to come up with a version of the Ten Commandments that Catholics, Protestants, and Jews can agree on:
The bill would allow the display of the Ten Commandments, along with other documents of religious historical significance, in government buildings.
The wording of the bill is designed to comply with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the separation of government and religion.
The committee didn’t settle on the version to include but did amend the more Protestant-oriented version in the bill after a civil-rights lobbyist noted some disparities.
“It says ‘murder’ rather than ‘kill,’” said Michael Malec, noting the Sixth Commandment, which commonly reads “Thou shalt not kill.”
“We can change that,” replied Rep. Peppi Bruneau, R-New Orleans, who handled the bill for its absent author, Sen. James David Cain, R-Dry Creek.
While the committee was at it, Bruneau said it might as well change the spelling of “honor” in the Fifth Commandment — “Honor thy father and thy mother” — which in the bill was spelled “honour.” …
First Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Bob Downing, who at one time displayed the Ten Commandments in his office, said the version should be left up to the group installing the display.
“Generally, people don’t have a clue what the difference is between the Protestant and Catholic versions,” said Downing. “Go to different people and ask them what’s the difference.”
I’m not sure which outcome is worse: a legislative committee deciding to rewrite the Ten Commandments to find a compromise, or various religious groups squabbling over whose version of the Commandments will be displayed in public spaces.