Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tablets of Stone, Tablets of the Heart

"I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." - Ezekiel 11:19

On Monday the Supreme Court made its wonderfully circumstantial and ambiguous ruling on the display of the Ten Commandments. What I am able to decipher from the arcane documents with their unusually wide margins is that the court ruled the display of the Ten Commandments is not an endorsement of religion if the display is historical. Yet, if the display is a statement of faith then state religion is being endorsed. It will be interesting to see how this is interpreted in the future as opponents argue "historical" versus "not historical." Much will likely depend on how large a chunk of granite the Ten Commandments have been carved into.

I am less interested in the display of the Ten Commandments and more interested in its application. Regardless of whether they made proper notation and citation, the Supreme Court applied the Ten Commandments during this session. In the case of MGM vs. Grokster, (I know, it sounds like a Godzilla movie) the court said that the providers of software that would infringe copyrights of copyrighted material were still responsible for the infringement. In other words, "thou shalt not steal." How many other supreme court decisions can be reduced to one of the Ten Commandments? How many decisions assume the simple truth and logic of the Ten Commandments? Whether it is considered historical or religious, the spirit of the Commandments is in use.

On the same day in another court, Dennis Rader confessed to ten counts of first degree murder. Rader is better known as the BTK Killer. Rader regards the victims of his crimes as projects. He bound, tortured, and killed them to fulfill his sexual urges. Rader broke nearly all the Ten Commandments, yet one cannot say that Rader was unfamiliar with the commandments. At one time in his life Rader was president of his church council. He was a boy scout leader. He was a code enforcement officer, so he knows something about rules that are written in stone. Certainly Rader must have been exposed to a display of the Ten Commandments at some point. It is regrettable for all of us, especially his victims and their families, that the commandments were never written on his heart.

"You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." - 2 Cor. 3:3

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