Sharron Angle: America is Violating the First Commandment (and No, I Didn’t Mean Amendment).

Sharron Angle has moved on from Second Amendment solutions to First Commandment ones...

Said Angle in an interview (as transcribed by the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston):

And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government

Having spent most of life in evangelical circles, I am quite familiar with the language deployed here wherein anything not focused on God can be construed as idolatry.   Still, this is a pretty extreme version, especially in the context of practical politics.  Taken to its logical conclusion this means that we don’t need roads, schools, police, or the military after all, let alone welfare programs.

I especially find it to be rather intriguing formulation given that earlier in the interview she stated:

we need a true, battle-tested, proven, Constitutional conservative to take out Harry Reid

Last time I checked, a “Constitutional conservative” has to govern within the framework of the First Amendment, rather than First Commandment.

For those who are wondering, here’s the First Commandment(Exodus 20:3-6)::

3″You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Here’s the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Unfortunately, at least from Angle’s POV, the whole prohibition on the establishment of religion things makes the whole First Commandment thing decidedly not the job of a US Senator.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I do find it somewhat amusing that the contest pits a religious nut against a Mormon.

  2. Matt says:

    “Taken to its logical conclusion this means that we don’t need roads, schools, police, or the military after all”
    Which commandment says that these things can only ever be provided by a government? That’s rather small minded thinking.

  3. An Interested Party says:

    “Religious nut”?  Tsk, tsk, James…you are betraying the fact that you are nothing more than a snobbish elitist…how dare you write such a thing about this dear lady…maybe such words will flush out some of the usual suspects to declare that this is no longer a truly conservative blog, considering the viewpoint of its host…

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Shame on you James for calling this woman a religious nut.  What are you?  Don’t answer that as I know what you are.  How is adherence to the 10 commandments the establishment of a religion.  Seems to me that religion is already established.  Don’t think so.  Go look on the Supreme Court Building.  Bet you can find all the the commandments.  I find it amusing you think at all.

  5. Pete says:

    I was thinking the same. After all, James admits to being an atheist. What are you afraid of, James?

  6. anjin-san says:

    declare that this is no longer a truly conservative blog
    Well, it’s true that James has an IQ over 85, so perhaps you are right…

  7. James Weatherford says:

    John Adams Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

  8. tom p says:

    Shame on you James for calling this woman a religious nut. 

    And I thought James was talking about Harry Reid….

  9. James Weatherford says:

    John Adams Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    Seems the premise is dependent as opposed to independent

  10. floyd says:

    Hi, guys! I just couldn’t stand seeing  the words “10 comments” under the headline[LOL]

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    How is adherence to the 10 commandments the establishment of a religion.

    The Ten Commandments:
     

    ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

    TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.‘ 

    THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.‘ 

    FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.‘ 

    FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother.‘ 

    SIX: ‘You shall not murder.‘ 

    SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery.‘ 

    EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal.‘ 

    NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.‘ 

    TEN: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

    See those first four?  Those are explicitly religious statements.  Monotheistic statements that exclude all other religions.

    And by the way, the 10th is an anti-capitalist, clearly Communist statement.

  12. James Joyner says:

    I actually do wonder what Angle’s religious persuasion is.  There are multiple versions of the 10 Commandments but most Protestant ones have the thing she’s objecting to as the 2nd Commandment, not the 1st.

  13. Dantheman says:

    “And by the way, the 10th is an anti-capitalist, clearly Communist statement.”

    And the 5th calls for expansion of Social Security and Medicare /joke. 

  14. sam says:

    Ah, comes Zelsdorf, thinking he’s a wit (he’s half-right, of course):
    “Bet you can find all the the commandments. I find it amusing you think at all.”
     
    From Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/capital.asp):
     
    “The representation of Moses [on the Supreme Court bldg] present[s] him in a context in which he is depicted as one of several exemplars of lawgivers, not as a religious figure.”
    Moses is depicted flanked by Confucius and Solon — all figures facing front– the tablets he holds are in fact devoid of any inscription.
    Hmmm. An Eastern sage and a Greek pagan.
     

  15. sam says:

    Should have added this:
    Moses is depicted on a frieze on one side of the courthouse building, and the tablet he holds there is inscribed, in Hebrew, with commandments 6 through 10, chosen because they do not have a specifically religious content. He’s depicted in a procession of 18 lawgivers – more pagans, Napoleon, Blackstone, Confucius, all the biggies.

  16. Steve Plunk says:

    Another term in this case for taking things to their logical conclusion is reductio ad absurdum.  Reducing things to the absurd level.
     
    Angle has a valid point that government seeks to supplant itself as the ultimate authority over man.  It has dangers and it is contrary to the traditions of this country.
     
    It has become increasingly obvious Dr. Taylor has a bit of a fetish regarding Sharron Angle and I’m not sure why.  She’s very different than Harry Reid and I suppose different from most academics but she’s very much within the mainstream of American thought and values.  She may misspeak at times and perhaps even fail when trying to convey ideas during interviews.  That’s not exactly news knowing a good number of our congressional members have that same fault.

  17. Steve Plunk says:

    Michael Reynolds,
     
    It’s funny, I see the 10th as explicitly anticommunist and pro private property rights.  Much more akin to capitalism than anything else.  I guess it proves we can see things differently when looking at the very same thing.
     
    Isn’t the 4th commandment something added by the unions?

  18. An Interested Party says:

    “…she’s very much within the mainstream of American thought and values.”

    Uh-huh…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharron_Angle#Social_policy

    “She believes that single-income households are the best way to raise a family.”

    “Angle is pro-life and opposes abortion, including in cases of rape or incest.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharron_Angle#Health_care

    “Angle favors the gradual phasing out of Medicare and Social Security , and moving towards privatization, citing their current insolvency.

    “Angle Sponsored Legislation Associating Abortion With Breast Cancer.”

    Oh yes, she’s very “mainstream” alright…