5 readers online now  |  69 million page views

ten commandments ?

Reader comment on item: Britain's Encounter with Islamic Law
in response to reader comment: Separation of Church and State

Submitted by trans-parere (Canada), Feb 16, 2008 at 09:53

Dear Mitch, re: Judaeo-Christian values and Americas separation of Church from State.

The religious directives against idolatry found in the "Statements" during the time of Moses was something relatively new, considering that polytheism was the normal practice for the people of Judea and the surrounding area. I believe as example, in one temple they worshiped a golden plate and in another a calf. Animal sacrifices to appease the Gods were the norm. The idea of a single God the slaves brought back to the area from their time in Egypt. One God, monotheism, is not Judaeo-Christian but borrowed from another culture. The other, social "statements" as opposed to religious, like thou shalt not steal, commit adultery, lie or murder, were social constructs long in practice by peoples around the world thousands of years before Moses went up Mount Sinai. Again, hardly Judaeo-Christian.

Actually those 'values' were taken from the "codes" of the classical Greco-Roman civilization, brought to the area during the time of the Greeks when they were a major influence in the African/Asian trade routes and that area, the mid-east crossroads, was considered "Hellenized". At the time of Jesus, Greek was still the predominate "universal" language, even though the area was under Roman occupation and Latin was yet the language of Law. Much of the early Bible was written in Greek before being translated to the other languages for mass consumption. There is no such thing as Judaeo-Christian 'values'.

That term is a Christianized Americanization of the idea of 'Western civilization', embodied in the Greco-Roman-Germanic cultural influences in the historical development of Western Europe culminating in what is considered Western Civilization. There is no truth in the statement, Judaeo-Christian values. And people should not use it in reference to Western civilization. There is good reason for no American religious leader. At the time of Americas founding Fathers a religious "Christian" mania had enveloped Europe.

In Britain alone there were more than one thousand "Christian" sects fighting over who said what, when and was the true faith. And many of those founding Fathers were evangelical believing theirs was the one and only true religion. The founding Fathers of America hail from either of two camps. Pilgrim or Puritan. So no official Church could be established with out beginning all the religious strife they had started at home in England and Scotland, and various European States, and had almost got kicked out of their Protestant sanctuary in the Netherlands for trying to convert the local Calvinist. And they were going to renege on their obligations to their investors, like The London Company that administered Virginia, and renege on their oath to King and Country, the Pilgrims finding this fairly easy for once a separatist always a separatist. Of the Puritans many remained "Loyalist" and fled home or to Canada.

Those remaining certainly didn't want people like themselves coming around later, so unlike Britain, no official Church for Government in America. Self preservation of power was more the motivator for the founding Fathers, not anything noble or of high ideals. There was just no way all those different Protestant Christians could ever agree on which sect would lead. And there was many an argument, some so severe that the "rebellion" was in jeopardy.

Today in America the Churches are still quarreling about who's "more right", "more Christian" and Evangelical Christians accept it as their right to convert any and all to their chosen sect. The money still says "In God We Trust", and Christian prayer was for years said at the beginning of school classes, the name of God invoked at the beginning of court hearings and everyone, regardless of religious affiliation swears on the Bible. Really. The idea of an official religious leader in America would seem overkill. :-)

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to ten commandments ? by trans-parere

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)