published Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Meigs County

Read the related story here.

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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AndrewLohr said...

The Bill of Rights requires the suppression of Godly speech? It requires replacing the 10 Commandments with a blank wall, an expression of the established religion of atheism?

Atheism guarantees good government, as North Korea, Stalin, and Mao illustrate. Uh, maybe separation of atheism and state would be a good idea?

Christianity does not guarantee good government--half the country can see this by looking at President Obama, and the other half by looking at President Bush--but it does lay a good groundwork: Jesus was a perfect man on earth, loving and giving (not taxing), and triune Jehovah models love: the Father loves the Son loves the Holy Ghost. And the average Christian-influenced country has somewhat less bad government than the average atheist or Muslim country. Eh?

Atheism is the theory that it's OK to eat atheists, so atheists have no ground in their own worldview to complain if Christians tax them or post Christian statements.

April 19, 2011 at 12:11 a.m.
Robert59 said...

Another excellent & concise cartoon! The Strunk & White rule Brevity, Brevity, Brevity applied to editorial cartoons. Thanks!

April 19, 2011 at 2:49 a.m.
fairmon said...

The need for a constant reminder and a "code of conduct" in a structure that houses or is used by politicians and those in the legal system is evident. Unfortunately exposure to them by such posting seems to have little to no impact.

April 19, 2011 at 5:37 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

Excellent cartoon Clay.. but I don't think you drew the correct "10 Commandments".

The god character clearly states in Exodus 34:28 that the list from Exodus 34:14-26 is the only list that is called the "Ten Commandments"

Hell.. number 10 alone has more words than I can see on the list you drew... Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.


April 19, 2011 at 6 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Andrew - please explain how you get from a God of love to the notion that Jesus embraces the Gospel of Ayn Rand.

April 19, 2011 at 6:07 a.m.

Only a twisted mind like Andrew can come up with such twisted logic.

Looking at history, it is an undeniable fact, that most crimes were done in the name of a BOOK-religion, christianity or islam, both equally bad. More people were killed in the name of God than for any other reason.

Not to talk about their crime against scientific progress and against independent thinking...

... a path the conservatives still want to follow...

April 19, 2011 at 6:37 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

"Atheism is the theory that it's OK to eat atheists"


Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

April 19, 2011 at 7:02 a.m.
woody said...

"Separation of Church and State" aside, how can anyone, educated to any degree, step up and state "The Ten Commandments" have no place in this or any other court house?

"The Ten Commandments" are the original laws, from whence all other laws were derived. And, unlike those which have been and are still being fashioned by legislatures everywhere, "The Ten Commandments" contain no 'loopholes' for slick lawyers to slide through.

There can be no arguing with "Thou shalt not...." 'loophole' there..Woody

April 19, 2011 at 7:09 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Another thoughtful cartoon today, Mr. Bennett. It’s clear the leadership in Meigs County is either opting to ignore the Bill of Rights or has forgotten the rationale for the “freedom of religion” clause in the Bill of Rights. If they’ve forgotten, it would be good if these people took some time off to read a little early American history, especially chapters discussing the issue of religious perscution, which was widespread at the time. If their leadership is opting to ignore the Bill of Rights, they should be booted out of office for failure to honor the Bill of Rights.

April 19, 2011 at 7:10 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Except, Woody, the 10 commandments presume belief in a supernatural being. I for one don't want a legal system that requires that I believe something for which there is no evidence. Must I believe to receive due process? Can I be convicted of a violation of the 10 commandments when I have not broken a state or federal law?

Keep religion in church and out of government.

April 19, 2011 at 7:12 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Woody said: "Separation of Church and State" aside, how can anyone…step up and state "The Ten Commandments" have no place in…any…court house?”

I don’t believe the Separation of Church and State should be put aside, Woody. The Ten Commandments are given in passages in two books of the Bible, Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, and they represent a particular religious perspective:

2) I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;

3) Do not have any other gods before me. 4) You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5) You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

6) But showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7) You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

8) Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

9) For six days you shall labour and do all your work.

10) But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

11) For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

12) Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13) You shall not kill/murder.

14) You shall not commit adultery.

15) You shall not steal.

16) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Wikipedia link:

April 19, 2011 at 7:55 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I have no issues with the Ten Commandments being posted as they are an example of some of the first laws written down and great rules for basic moral values. But i understand and respect the other view point that there are those that dont want religion crammed down their throats as well. It is a fine line we walk as humans, one that has perplexed mankind from the very creation itself; Learning to live together in unity and in love. No, i dont want to in anyway be a stumbling block to my brothers and sisters. And if seeing the Ten Commandments offends you, then maybe we need to remove them from view. After all, what good does posting the Ten Commandments do if we as Christians dont even follow through with what was etched upon them thousands of years ago. IMO, there are more important issues at hand rather than if we need to post them up or not. Why dont we readjust our efforts instead to feeding or clothing the poor in our own communities rather than taking that money and spending it on a plaque. What if we were to take that effort we are putting into this and use it to teach young people about love and forgiveness? I think that would have more of an impact than posting the commandments. Live them, dont post them. For in your daily walk is where you make the biggest impact. Yes, i understand you want to make a stand for Christ, but i believe Jesus himself would rather you make that stand doing something worth wild that is going to impact your community and individual lives by following his example of love and forgiveness and reaching out and serving and ministering to those that are in need. And the beautiful part of that is even if you dont believe in God, or Christ, it is still a wonderful example to follow. One that would without a doubt change the very world we are living in today. Just try it, for a change, see what happens.

April 19, 2011 at 8:26 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Thanks Clay. Good cartoon, good laugh, good morning all around.

April 19, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.
chet123 said...

hello dao

April 19, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.
chet123 said...

This is a tax payers building..regardless if they are not christian.....

April 19, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.
chet123 said...

hate to tell the good old boys in meig county.....ten commandment,,,are old testament...Judaism and Islam....think they out smart themselves LOL LOL

April 19, 2011 at 8:41 a.m.
limric said...

Nice one Clay. It perfectly illustrates the following. "Fear paints pictures of ghosts and hangs them in the gallery of ignorance." - Robert G Ingersoll.

A country dominated by evangelism would be unrecognizable to the Founding Fathers, who envisioned religion as personal and spiritual, not social and political. No particular variety of religion was intended to control the political agenda, to set the community's moral tone or to judge who are the true believers and members of our society. But this is precisely the objective of the religious right. - Razelle Frankel

Remember, George Bush declared a National Day of Prayer for Peace. This was after he had carefully arranged and started a war. Thus: “So long as men are not trained to withhold judgement in the absence of evidence, cocksure prophets will lead them astray, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans.” - Bertrand Russell

April 19, 2011 at 8:54 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Hi Chet, hope you are feeling well this morning.

You haven't been watching any of those nasty opinion/entertainment shows on fox news lately, have you?

You know that stuff is bad for you.

April 19, 2011 at 8:55 a.m.
caddy said...

Spot on Andrew !

April 19, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Woody - you jest! We have entire social/political/economic system built on the "loopholes" in the commandments against theft, greed and bearing false witness.

April 19, 2011 at 9:43 a.m.
MTJohn said...

L4F - please provide a reference to the ordinance by which Meigs County declared that it was a Christian county.

April 19, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
woody said...

Thank you, MTJohn, for keeping everything in perspective.. Actually, earlier I was really trying to stay focused on the theme of today's 'toon'. I was doing my 'dead-level best' not to bring evolution into the mix.

However, we are far enough along now to appease those who would have us believe we actually came from the proverbial 'one-cell amoeba'..and the rest is evolutionary history.

Now, what I want to know is at what point did our ancestry begin the 'trial and error' process which has evolved into our current legal system.

If, in fact, the Bible, it's writers and the author "Himself" are to be ignored and not given due credit then I want to know, once and for all, just where and to whom the credit is due....

Simple enough..Woody

April 19, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

it's more like freedom with have the right to post them...till it offends somebody..then you have to take them down...which offends you....but unfortunately....for some strange reason...their offense is the greater of offenses?!?! Or something like that....

April 19, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Woody - since you brought evolution into the conversation, I'd suggest that the idea we are the handiwork of the Creator and the result of evolution are not incongruent thoughts.

And, if you want to get serious about living in a nation that abides by God's law, I'd suggest that we would be better off (although the challenge would be greater) if we followed the two commandments - love God and love your neighbor. And, if we are serious about following God's law, lets really follow it and not revel in the loopholes that I referenced with my previous response to you.

April 19, 2011 at 11:43 a.m.
Humphrey said...

Libertarians4Freedom - I'm sorry, but you are not a "libertarian" if you think the government has the right to endorse a religion. You just failed the admission test horribly.

April 19, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.
woody said...

You are not only right, MTJohn, you have "hit the nail squarely on the head." If I have learned nothing else over nearly 63 years, it's that evolutionists and theologians are exactly like conservatives and liberals (OMG, now "The Monk" will be joining in the fray). That is to say neither can see any farther than the end of their respective noses.

And one would certainly believe that for one to acknowledge the possibility that the other's notion could conceivably be intertwined with their own is utter foolishness.

Myself, I've been attempting for quite some time to dispell the notion that God's original seven days was a whole lot longer than some may believe. You millions of years longer, to say the least. And yet, I find the number of those nodding their heads in agreement may actually be fighting their daily naps.

Such is my life..Woody

April 19, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Woody, I know many theologians that accept the science of evolution. It is really not an issue with most religious folks, only literalists.

L4F, your true nature is revealed by your last post.

April 19, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
twharr said...

Libertarian, you must have gone to the University of Rush Limbaugh. I tried to get in but was denied entry because my GPA was too high.

April 19, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Woody - I'm not all that concerned about the length of the days referenced in Genesis. If we believe that each of us is the handiwork of the Creator - and I do - then we also understand that creation was not a one-week event. Instead, creation is a continuous process that began at the beginning of time and will continue through the end of this age. And, on the flip side, evolution is a description of the creation as it is following the initial creative event, not a description of that event.

April 19, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
ITguy said...

L4F said "We say no to Marxism, no to political correctness, no to diversity, no to multiculturalism and yes to America!"

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but America is diverse and multicultural. It has been since its founding. It is precisely for this reason that the 10 Commandments should not be posted in the courthouse. They are clearly religious, and while they are of Jewish origin, the folks who want to post them are almost exclusively "Christian".

How many times do we have to go down this road? It is an incredible waste of time and taxpayers money. Anyone who is not aware of the fact that this has been decided by the Supreme Court is not qualified to hold public office.

April 19, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
woody said...

And to that, I'll keep it short and give a resounding, "AMEN!"..Woody

April 19, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.
limric said...

Displaying the commandments in a public place is nothing more than a childish act of defiance, and any one contesting their ability to do so, reinforces their claim that it is you that are oppressing them because they are not allowed to force you to practice what they do. - more characteristic of the Taliban than the foundations they claim to hold so dear.

"When Jesus Christ came upon the Earth, you killed Him. The son of your own God. And only after he was dead did you worship him and start killing those who would not." — Tecumseh

April 19, 2011 at 1:30 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Woody said: “If, in fact, the Bible, it's writers and the author "Himself" are to be ignored and not given due credit then I want to know, once and for all, just where and to whom the credit is due.”

I don’t have the answer to your question, but I believe America's “freedom of religion” and “separation of church and state” principles evolved from the days when a Calvinist majority was persecuting a small group of Quaker colonists in Massachusetts.

At some point, a small group of brave Calvinist citizens decided enough was enough and submitted what came to be known as the Flushings Remonstrance to the Governor of the colony. Needless to say, the Governor of the colony sent the Calvinist who submitted the petition to prison alongside the Quakers.

Fortunately, this small group of Calvinists did not give up and the right of “freedom of religion” was eventually incorporated into the law. The rationale of the Calvinists was simply that they desired ”not to judge least we be judged, neither to condemn least we be condemned, but rather let every man stand or fall to his own Master.”

April 19, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
canarysong said...


OMG! What a spewing of hateful xenophobic garbage! Topped off by this gem....

"We say to diversity, no to multiculturalism and yes to America!"

--- Like no other in the world, this is a nation of immigrants. Ever read the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty? You don't need to venture into enemy Yankee territory to do so, just look it up. Despite the common catch-phrase 'melting pot', the U.S. has always been more like a 'salad bowl' with ethnic groups often living in homogenous enclaves (usually urban) for at least a couple of generations before becoming more assimilated. Religious beliefs and traditions are often retained and are explicitly protected by our constitution. Cultural traditions such as cuisine, dance, and music from the immigrant groups' countries of origin have added to the richness of all of our lives.

btw...... Might I remind you that at one point your ancestors were also immigrants (outsiders!)? This country wasn't 'discovered'; an inhabited land can't be discovered. It was stolen from the people who had been living here from time immemorial.

I could print and fame your post as the perfect example of why I left the south, but I think that instead I would prefer to remember the warmth, kindness, and down-to-earth nature of those truly good people there that I was fortunate to know.

April 19, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.
MTJohn said...

MountainLaurel - that might be part of the story. I think our history also includes a debate whether to desiginate the Church of England as the national religion (note that the "national cathedral" in Washington is an Episcopal church). And, as part of that debate, it was the Calvinists who were the subject of persecution and, thus, Calvinists who were protected by the establishment clause. I find that piece of our history interesting because, today, it tends to be folks associated with the Calvinist tradition who promote the public display of the 10 commandments, public nativity displays, prayer in public schools, "one nation - under God", etc. etc.

April 19, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.
canarysong said...

Andrewlohr wrote;

"Atheism is the theory that it's OK to eat atheists..."

Andrew, were you engaging in some late night heavy drinking again or are you certifiably insane?

April 19, 2011 at 2 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

MTJohn - Thanks for the additional information. I also find the history surrounding this particular subject interesting. The Massachusett Flushing Remonstrance that I mentioned was signed around 1657, which I suppose only goes to show us how divisive the issue of religion continues to be. As for the religious organizations who are exploiting the issue of religion today, I believe they could greatly benefit from actually practicing what they preach, which would include a Christian basic: ”not to judge least we be judged, neither to condemn least we be condemned, but rather let every man stand or fall to his own Master.”

April 19, 2011 at 2:44 p.m.
canarysong said...

Woody wrote;

"The Ten Commandments" are the original laws, from whence all other laws were derived."

--- Let me start by saying that it truly pains me to criticize your post because you are one of my very favorite commentators. You are calm, fair, wise, and witty. But I feel that you went astray on this one. If you want to argue that the 'original', or oldest, laws from which subsequent laws were modeled have a place in our public buildings, then perhaps an even older law code than the Ten Commandments should be posted instead.

The oldest known law code is the Law of Tehut by King Menes of Egypt from about 5200 years ago. It dealt primarily with issues of property and other secular legal matters.

If you want to specifically cite moral codes of law, the the earliest known example would be the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was an Amorite (Semite) who became King of Babylon.

"Perhaps the most remarkable and influential creation of its time, Hammurabi’s code is the oldest set of [moral] laws known to exist. Hammurabi, king and chief priest of Babylonia from 1792-1750 B.C.E., expanded his empire greatly before focusing his energies toward wealth and justice for his people. He created a code protecting all classes of Babylonian society, including women and slaves. He sought protection of the weak from the powerful and the poor from the rich."

"The Code of Hammurabi is significant because its creation allowed men, women, slaves, and all others to read and understand the laws that governed their lives in Babylon. It is unique in that laws of other civilizations were not written down, and thus could be manipulated to suite the rulers that dictated them. The Code is particularly just for its time. Although it follows the practice of "an eye for an eye", it does not allow for vigilante justice, but rather demands a trial by judges. It also glorifies acts of peace and justice done during Hammurabi’s rule. It symbolizes not only the emergence of justice in the minds of men, but also man’s rise above ignorance and barbarism toward the peaceful and just societies still pursued today."

Centuries of social development in the area of moral law and social controls led to the development of moral codes such as Hammurabi's laws and the (hundreds of) commandments in the Torah (five books of Moses in the Old Testament).

No single ethnic, religious, or philosophical group can lay legitimate claim to exclusive truth or virtue. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was meant to keep endorsement of a particular religion out of our government. The Ten Commandments clearly represent a particular religious viewpoint.

April 19, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.

I really don't care what they do in Meigs County. Why do you? It's not like Meigs County Tennessee is going to influence liberal havens like San Franciso or Asheville much less our own city and county. And for giving credit to Bennett for a great cartoon... please. Claydo has less talent and creativity than a 5th grader at Ganns Middle Valley.

April 19, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.
Musicman375 said...

My point in all of this is, what actual purpose does the hanging of the commandments in the courthouse serve? We're strapped for cash enough as it is and this is just another financial burden on the tax payers that isn't necessary. Keep government and religion seperate. Why is that so difficult to understand? Regardless of whether lawmakers derived the current laws from Christian leanings or some other source (obviously it must have been a combination of the two), there is no reason for someone who helps pay for the courthouse to walk in and see a religious hanging they don't agree with. How would all the Christians who are in favor of this feel if some town/city decided to hang writings from the Quran on their courthouse wall? I know some people complain that the Athiests get their way by leaving the wall bare, but in response to that argument, I challenge any Christian to prove to me that God wants His commandments on display in our public buildings. You can't. Leave the wall blank and spend the tax payers' money where it is really needed.

April 19, 2011 at 3:47 p.m.
woody said...

Canarysong, not to worry, I am not in an arguing mood..and I appreciate the accolades..more, I might add, than I have received from my own wife in quite a long time.

Having said that, and since you indicate you have found older laws than the "Ten Commandments"..I am left with just one question..from whence did the good Egyptian King receive these laws?? I'm sure we both can agree he didn't get them from any of the multitude of idols Egyptians have prayed to over the eons they have been around.

The point I was trying to get across earlier was that I have a book, The Holy Bible, with which I can turn to the exact pages that nail down a nearly specific time and place when "man received his set of laws from his Maker. Now, I am not asking anyone who doesn't wish to believe thusly to buy into my religion..I am only asking anyone who can to do likewise with whatever proof they may have.

And until they can..well..Woody

April 19, 2011 at 4:01 p.m.
Leaf said...

The county commissioners of Meigs county took this oath:

"I do solemnly swear that I will perform with fidelity the duties of the office to which I have been elected, and which I am about to assume. I do solemnly swear to support the constitutions of Tennessee and the United States and to faithfully perform the duties of the office of county commissioner representing Meigs County, Tennessee."

By doing something they know is unconstitutional they have violated their oaths of office. Since they apparently give precedence to ancient Jewish law, it only stands to reason that they now must sacrifice ten goats so they won't get cursed by God.

April 19, 2011 at 4:08 p.m.
Skeptic101 said...

Amen Mr. Bennett, amen!

April 19, 2011 at 4:23 p.m.
canarysong said...

L4F wrote,

"The MAJORITY has rights to! Just because something is exclusively Christian doesn't mean it's wrong, you Christianphobe!"

--- I assume that you consider yourself a patriot and feel that our constitution is worthy of a degree of respect. Early colonists had fled to America to escape religious persecution in their native countries; their particular Christian sects were the MINORITY there. The founding fathers (many of whom were deists, not Christians) that framed the document wanted to insure that the U.S. would not turn into a theocracy that similarly imposed one religious doctrine on minority groups. They felt that the surest way to do this was to keep religion and government separate. God is mentioned nowhere in the constitution, however a prohibition against the establishment of religion is.

An objection to the posting of an overtly Judeo/Christian/Islamic document in our government buildings is not a 'persecution' of Christians, nor is it a 'phobia' as you put it. It is a demand that the intent of the founding fathers to recognize ALL freedom of religion be followed. A recognition of the U.S. as a pluralistic society is essential to breaking down the cultural barriers that divide us and fostering respect and co-operation between ethnic, religious, and ideological groups in this country.

The Treaty of Tripoli (1796) began with this phrase...."As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion...."

"I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state." - Thomas Jefferson, as President, in a letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802

"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination." - Thomas Jefferson, in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

"And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." - James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822

April 19, 2011 at 4:59 p.m.
fairmon said...

Woody, Did you check out the word necessitarian? I was sure I didn't just pull it from you know where. canarysong is a good hearted person and it didn't say for example; see canarysong.

The commissioners could and should develop their own principles to be posted at the court house. Normally posting the ten commandments is an attempt to convey something to people that may or may not be true. The politicians are attempting to show voters just how good and moral they are as they rummage through their wallet for another dollar or two.

A start may be for example; WE WILL: (means herein fail not)

o Avoid showing favoritism to one citizen or group of citizens over another.

o provide avenues of recourse to any citizen that thinks they have been done wrong by the mayor or any commissioner.

o provide documentation and reasons why for any decision affecting the citizens within the county.

o not impose local legislation and cost that is not applicable to all citizens on a citizens employer in a way that may jeopardize the citizens employment.

o not increase the compensation for those currently serving but will recommend if deemed appropriate changes for future holders of a government position subject to approval by tax paying voters.

o We will maintain a wage&eb rate for employees that compares favorably with but does not exceed that paid by the private sector in the labor supply area.

These are down and dirty but makes the point. What are they willing to live by while in office? I do believe we have some that would change the ten commandments if they needed to do so to accomplish their personal agenda.

If I were an active church member I would not want to mix my church affiliation and politics. These are two very different belief systems which is evident if compared to congress and the pres.

April 19, 2011 at 5:12 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Great posts, Canarysong. Very informative. (3:01 PM & 4:59 PM)

April 19, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
canarysong said...


"...from whence did the good Egyptian King receive these laws?? I'm sure we both can agree he didn't get them from any of the multitude of idols Egyptians have prayed to over the eons they have been around."

--- First of all, the Egyptian laws were purely legal, not moral. But as I tried to point out, moral codes such as Hammurabi's Code likely evolved over many centuries of people living and working together. Clearly it would be beneficial to a groups' survival to develop codes of conduct that would reduce conflict and promote co-operation. An admonition from on high isn't needed to come to such a logical conclusion.

"...I have a book, The Holy Bible, with which I can turn to the exact pages that nail down a nearly specific time and place when "man received his set of laws from his Maker. Now, I am not asking anyone who doesn't wish to believe thusly to buy into my religion..I am only asking anyone who can to do likewise with whatever proof they may have."

--- Perhaps our basic point of disagreement is hinged upon what constitutes proof. I respect your right to believe that your scripture stands as proof of God's existence and will, but there is a VERY large portion of the world's population that does not see that as 'proof', but rather a much mistranslated mixture of history and mythology. Why is your scripture 'real' and the scripture of others false? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; show me real evidence and then I certainly would be willing to reassess my views.

And until you can... well... the canary

April 19, 2011 at 5:35 p.m.
canarysong said...

Harp wrote,

"...Did you check out the word necessitarian? I was sure I didn't just pull it from you know where. canarysong is a good hearted person and it didn't say for example; see canarysong."

--- What??

btw.... I really liked the rest of your post!

April 19, 2011 at 5:47 p.m.
canarysong said...

Just a thought...

If we are going to post the Ten Commandments in public buildings, should we also post the accompanying punishments beside them? For example:

-- taking the Lord's name in vain....punishment - DEATH (Leviticus 24:16)

-- working on the Sabbath..............punishment - DEATH (Exodus 31:15)

-- cursing one's father or mother....punishment - DEATH (Exodus 21:17)

-- adultery? guessed it..........punishment - DEATH (Leviticus 20:10)

Clearly even fundamentalists don't actually live by the word of their own scripture; can't we all just concede that we have evolved a bit in 2000+ years?

April 19, 2011 at 6:23 p.m.
MTJohn said...

Canary - I wonder if the judge wears a cotton/polyester robe. Another offense punishable by death.

April 19, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.
dude_abides said...

L4F doesn't carry an evolver, he carries a semi-autocratic.

April 19, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
fairmon said...


I had used the word necessitarian to describe some here that claim to be liberal, conservative etc. etc. and Woody said it may be in the next dictionary and be selected as the new word of the year. I was suggesting he use the google dictionary and find it is there. I was only saying you are not a necessitarian. I am still trying to determine where you may best fit or if like me, a misfit.

I can't agree with conservatives that don't want to help anyone but I sure can't join the liberals that want to take care of everyone and every cause regardless of the cost including those that could help themselves but won't. I will give and give a lot if I get to decide where it goes which would be to kids, the elderly and disabled.

April 19, 2011 at 7:38 p.m.
SeaMonkey said...

no canarybrain..we haven't evolved at all....that's exactly it....

the timelessness of the ten commandments always makes you liberals squirm with discomfort.
the ten commandments are as applicable now as they were way back then.

you libs don't like the idea that there is an ultimate authority, GOD, and that there will be consequences, yet you have no problem giving more and more authority over to the government in exchange for "happiness". you have no problem accepting all kinds of unjust and unreasonable laws, rules and regulations and corresponding punishments from the government, yet you go nuts over a few laws, which quite frankly, would improve this country a lot if they were respected more.

as long as there's abortion and the tired, dumb, lazy mantra of " i'm pro choice" and "i'm for a woman's right to choose" is heard then we haven't evolved. we're worse..much worse.

April 19, 2011 at 7:46 p.m.
moonpie said...

Atheism is religion. It involves faith. As a biologist, even I can't deny that. Likeithu, you should acknowledge faith in your beliefs. Many theories in evolutionary biology rely on faith. The faith is based on facts as we understand them.

People who put themselves above faith put themselves above the limits of human understanding. It's pure arrogance to assume knowledge and truth.

April 19, 2011 at 7:54 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Canarysong said: "If we are going to post the Ten Commandments in public buildings, should we also post the accompanying punishments beside them?"

I suspect the Meigs County politicians voted to gloss over the punishments, Canarysong. Indeed, if they had posted them, I doubt there would be anyone left in Meigs County to govern.

April 19, 2011 at 7:59 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Sorry, moonpie-science does not rely on faith, but on evidence. All evidence supports evolution; there is no evidence that refutes it.

But this is not about evolution, it is about the constitution. That I am a non-believer is not anyone else's business. I or any non-Christian are held to the laws of the state and nation, not the 10 commandments. The commandments, although there is overlap (you know, stealing and killing and such) address how we "believe" in a deity. As a non-believer, these laws are meaningless. A non-Christian may have other laws, but they should not be imposed on Christians or on me. I assume nothing about "knowledge" except for what the evidence supports. I know nothing about "truth" except that most "truths" are relative. That I don't believe hurts no one. But to require that I believe is not democracy, that is theocracy. Last I checked we were not one.

April 19, 2011 at 8:23 p.m.
dude_abides said...

Seamonkey, you have taken pains to clean up your script. I consider that a measure of respect for your fellow posters. A mature statement by an adult mind. It really does get your point across more clearly. Thanks for going to the trouble.

April 19, 2011 at 8:28 p.m.
dude_abides said...

Screamhonky, you're an idiot. Liberals have way less to squirm about regarding the 10 Commandments than you war pigs.

April 19, 2011 at 8:31 p.m.
moonpie said...

lkeithu, you need to read my comment more carefully. I am in your camp. Read deeper. You have a faith. What is it?

No matter how you parse it, it's a faith.

I believe in empiric evidence. That's my faith. If you can't acknowlege that belief based on empiric evidence is faith, then you can't acknowledge that you actually trust it. Empiric evidence has been proven wrong many times before and will be proven wrong many times hence.

It is arrogance to assume the limits of your imagination are the limits of truth.

Common, lkeithu, you at least can acknowledge your faith in empiric evidence. If so, you must then acknowlege that empiric evidence has its limits. If so, you must then acknowledge that your believes are faith.

You have faith, based on prinicples you can't ultimately prove. Remember, rejection of the null hypothothesis is not the same as acceptance of the alternative hypothesis....

All knowlege is based on faith.

April 19, 2011 at 9:08 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Nope-I disagree. I have faith in those things that I cannot gather evidence for. Faith in the inherent goodness of individuals. Faith in my ability to handle what life throws at me. Faith in the loyalty of my friends and colleagues.

I do not have religious faith, because I don't believe in anything supernatural. None. Nada. Zip. I think I am a complex organism that has a tremendous ability to reason with the physical world and when I die, I'm dead. That's it. Funny, I like the church I attend, and the people in it; I feel at peace there, but I don't subscribe that peace to some sky-fairy.

It's not that I don't want to believe. I envy those that do. But I don't.

I don't have "faith" in those things that evidence supports. I accept , and try to understand as much as I can. It's not a belief system, and it's not faith.

Knowledge based on evidence is not "truth". Evidence is not "wrong" but incomplete (although sometimes it can be faulty, but that's because it is not what we assume it to be) As I say to my students: Matter never lies, it just doesn't always tell you the whole story. Science is the pursuit of more of the story. It is not about faith or belief.

April 19, 2011 at 9:28 p.m.
Rufus_T_Firefly said...

some people have just enough religion to HATE but not enough religion to LOVE!

I think George Carlin put it best:

Click Here

April 19, 2011 at 9:30 p.m.
canarysong said...

Moonpie said;

"Atheism is religion. It involves faith."

Here is a rather broad definition of religion that I found:

-- Belief in something sacred (for example, gods or other supernatural beings).

-- A distinction between sacred and profane objects.

-- Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.

-- A moral code believed to have a sacred or supernatural basis.

-- Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual.

-- Prayer and other forms of communication with the supernatural.

-- A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.

-- A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the world view.

-- A social group bound together by the above.

If we accept this definition (I find it very reasonable) then a 'religion' would have to meet at least most of these specifications. Even a so-called 'atheistic' religion like Buddhism (that does not believe in a god) would fit into this definition, but simple atheism does not.

To clarify.... Theism is a belief in one or more gods (monotheism, polytheism). Atheism is simply a lack of belief in any god(s). Everyone is an atheist regarding some people's gods (Zeus, Thor, Baal), some of us are just atheists regarding them all. There is no dogma; there is no set of guiding precepts; there are no rituals; and there is no proof claimed, required, or even sought.

To rephrase lkeithlu's earlier analogy: calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color.

April 19, 2011 at 10 p.m.
Tmbrwlfofga said...

L4F, you hit on something in your defense of this posting that I would like to explore. You seemed to imply that "majority rules" and that since the majority of people in this area are Christians then that is why The Ten Commandments should be displayed at a taxpayer funded unbiased courthouse. The important thing to remember about enacted rules based on majority is that your group may not always be in the majority. If we go around and insist that everything in our government is to be blended with Christianity because it is the majority, then what if Islam is the majority in 25 years? Does that mean that we have to adopt Sharia Law in our courts because "majority rules". L4F, a little history lesson for you. Do you know the primary reason our early settlers fled England? Religious persecution my friend. Now of course posting the Commandments is not persecuting by any means, but in Colonial times, The Church of England was brutal in persecuting its citizens. We are not a "Christian Nation". We are a faith based and faith-influenced nation. You have the right to pray and worship anytime you want to my friend. We all do. When we have our government though directing, leading, displaying, or embracing one sect of religion, then that is where the controversy comes into play. Do you want to be a good Christian? Live your life in a "Christ-like" manner and inspire others to do so also. Republicans always talk a big game about "government intrusion" into our lives, and then intrude into our lives under the veil of religion. Unbiasedly yours, Tmbrwlfofga

April 19, 2011 at 10:31 p.m.

I wasn’t expecting to find much worth reading on this one. I certainly didn’t expect to find it where I did find it.

Mountainlaurel, your 1:35 p.m. post was outstanding. As M.T. John pointed out, there were similar events unfolding in other colonies. I find it interesting – and not as ironic or counterintuitive as it would at first appear – that the 17th and 18th century movement toward greater religious freedom is rooted in the regions most influenced by Calvinism: the Netherlands, England, and their North American colonies. (See Politics Reformed: The Anglo-American Legacy of Covenant Theology by Glenn Moots, University of Missouri Press, 2010)

MTJohn, nice job on your 6:07 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. posts

Canarysong, your 1:49 p.m. and 3:01 p.m. posts were pretty good. The last paragraph at 3:01 (as it is worded) was truer than you may have known. As your later posts unfold what you mean, you still have a way to go in grasping the founders’ understanding of the relationship between religion, society, church and government. Your distinction between moral and secular law is also a bit off. I wondered if you could give an example of a secular law that doesn’t address or convey morality.

This is a link to a page that provides what I think is a better delineation of the role of morality in secular law, and especially of Christian morality in American law.

Written law codes, such as Hammurabi’s, played an important role in the development of civil law. The Ten Commandments were a cut above, which is one reason their influence outlives that of the Babylonian code.

April 19, 2011 at 10:33 p.m.

Everyone neglected the important role played by the ancient Hebrew prophets as a sort of public institution in the long march toward modern democracy. They were unique in the Ancient Near East in providing a publically legitimized voice to check the power of political leaders. Today, we check our leaders by the same moral standards as they did (whether or not we are aware of it). It doesn’t require a theocracy to recognize the important role of Judeo-Christian morality in our public life.

The importance of that Hebrew prophetic tradition is demonstrated by the fact that Moses figures so prominently in America’s public symbols, its national identity, and its history of social reform. His influence goes far beyond his authorship of the Ten Commandments. (See NPR commentator Bruce Feiler’s book America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story)

In fact you would have to demolish or conduct major renovations on many official buildings in the nation’s capital (or at least heavily censor items such as the Baptism of Pocahontas in the Capitol rotunda or the stained glass window of Washington praying in the Congressional prayer room) to mollify those sensitive souls who are so easily offended by public religion.

Two friezes in the Supreme Court building portray history’s great lawgivers, including Hammurabi and Moses. I’ve become interested in one of the lesser known among those portrayed: Hugo Grotius – a 17th century Dutch Calvinist theologian and legal theorist who (standing in the Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition) helped lay the foundation for modern international law and ideas about the role of religion in the American republic. Amazing guy.

As far as the Meigs County thing, if it’s as tacky as the one they tried to install in Alabama a few years back, I’m against it. If they would give the assignment to a world class sculptor and give him a dozen or so years to complete it, count me in. Not likely to happen though.

Religious liberty makes such strange bedfellows. So to speak.

April 19, 2011 at 10:34 p.m.
canarysong said...

Ikiethlu wrote;

"It's not that I don't want to believe. I envy those that do. But I don't."

Faith isn't something that can be forced, any more than love can be forced. And feigned belief for some hope of reward is not faith at all. Here is a great quote on that topic:

"I may grow rich by an art I am compelled to follow; I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment; but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve and abhor." - Thomas Jefferson, notes for a speech, c. 1776

April 19, 2011 at 10:35 p.m.
Eric said...


"The South Has Risen Again and all you Obama-lovers can kiss our asses. We say no to Marxism, no to political correctness, no to diversity, no to multiculturalism and yes to America!"

I hate to break the news to you, but American is more than just the South. America extends from sea to shining sea. This includes San Franciso and New York. And the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in the North. So if you indeed say yes to America, how can you speak so adamently against most of the country?

April 19, 2011 at 10:57 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

Just another shining example of the back woods retro thinking in this Great State of Tennessee!

April 19, 2011 at 11:34 p.m.
AndrewLohr said...

MTJohn, here's a link to an article in which I set out some ways Jesus is libertarian http: // . Search "Jesus is libertarian" and you'll find plenty of other stuff pro, con and weird ('Jesus and his fellow libertarian sun gods...') My post mentioned that He was a giver, not a taxer. Ayn Rand, Jewish atheist libertarian, some good ideas, not Christian.

Atheism is the theory that it's OK to eat atheists--given no God, whatever is is. Some animals eat members of their own species. Those eaten may not like being eaten, but they have no high ground to complain--whatever is is. ("A is A"?) If they claim something is really absolutely wrong, they're admitting their own professed theory is wrong. Heavy reading, but not heavy drinking.

Atheism is a point of view, and in some cases it is imposed, e.g. by bare walls in courthouses.

Austrian, may I please call your views a disgrace to the nation of Bohm-Bahwerk and von Mises?

Whoever blamed 'most' human wickedness on book religion misses Stalin and Mao (atheism), Hitler (not a churchgoer, though he sometimes called himself a Christian), Kim Jong Il, Pol Pot...and while Christian doctrine denies that Christians lack flaws, there's a difference between Christianity and Islam, and between Christendom and Islamic countries, and between Jesus (alive) and Mohammed (dead.) If Mr Bennett wants to show real courage, let him treat Islam the way he treats the Tea Party. Are Mr Clinton and Mr Gore heading to Egypt to rebuild churches there, as they headed to Tennessee awhile back?

When evolutionists get something from nothing, and life from nonlife, and breed without limits (mules are sterile), and stop hunting for gazillions of universes, a hunt which constitutes an admission that the odds against evolution are too long for this one, maybe their theory will earn some more respect.

April 19, 2011 at 11:38 p.m.
bret said...

Andrew, when will your re-writing of the Bible be complete? Today you claim that Jesus was against taxation, when he clearly stated to render unto Caesar what was Caesar's. (Matthew 22:21)

First, you've turned Jesus from a Liberal (which he is) into a Libertarian and now this. Who knows what other screwed up interpretations of the Bible you will treat us with in future cartoon comments.

April 20, 2011 at 12:04 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

"When evolutionists get something from nothing, and life from nonlife, and breed without limits (mules are sterile), and stop hunting for gazillions of universes, a hunt which constitutes an admission that the odds against evolution are too long for this one, maybe their theory will earn some more respect."

Your understanding of science is frightful, just as your outrageous definition of atheism.

April 20, 2011 at 6:44 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Andrew - Scripture instructs us to test the spirits. I do not hear you or the current crop of libertarians advocating giving the way that our Lord gave.

As I said above, evolution describes the creation, not the event of creation. And, I should remind you that God created the universe as we know it from nothing.

April 20, 2011 at 7:36 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Andrew - I actually took a look at your blog. In all honesty, it reads a lot like someone trying to remake Jesus in his image, rather than a person trying to understand himself as a person who was created in God's image. I also noted one factual error. Throughout history, Christianity has always had its greatest influence among the disenfranchised. Currently, Christianity is experiencing its greatest gains in third-world countries.

April 20, 2011 at 8:52 a.m.
chet123 said...

BACK TO THE CARTOON...politician are using this issue as a political FOOTBALL.........disregard and disrepect the other religion in the community...YES! i am Cristian tesament use other names beside Christian(ie,beleivers,disciple, people of the way)...i once ask an advocate of the commandment in tax payer building ,,,to name the ten commandments...Sadly he couldnt name but 3 out of 10....just a political football for most republican

April 21, 2011 at 8:46 a.m.
chet123 said...

another republican party political stunt...since they dont have any issue of value to the people....they love to be divisive.....where are the birthers LOL LOL

April 21, 2011 at 3:09 p.m.
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