Thou Shalt Not Be a Self-Righteous Bigot

I keep saying I’m not going to get drawn into arguments with stupid or closed-minded people on the Internet. And then I do.

Today, someone asked online, “If you could write a new law that everyone had to obey, what law would you create?” Several respondents said that they would make the Ten Commandments a law.

As you can guess, thousands of people piped up to agree — some of them going so far as to say that we should abolish all other laws and use only the Ten Commandments as our entire code of law. And thousands more chimed in to disagree. If you know me at all or have been reading this blog, you can guess which group I’m in.

Some started accusing other people in the conversation of being immoral, or sinners, for disagreeing with them. (One went so far as to chastise someone, “You are evil, evil, evil!”) One woman is pushing for compulsory church attendance for all. Some ranted against the way the U.S. is discriminating against Christians and denying Christians their religious freedom. Not a single one provided proof of that, though one woman did argue vehemently that our country has complete religious freedom and has never told anyone how to worship. I’m sure that generations of Native American children forced into Christian boarding schools and punished for practicing their own religions would disagree.

My favorite stupid comments are the ones from people who keep insisting that everyone follow the commandments, while apparently having little notion of what the commandments actually say. For example, some respondents said that we don’t even need all ten commandments, just the one about loving one another, or the one about following the Golden Rule — neither of which is actually part of the Ten Commandments. You know the country is in trouble when a heathen like me knows more about the Bible than some of its most vocal advocates.

The self-delusion of some of these people is astounding. In the same paragraph, they insist that everyone should be required by law to live by the Ten Commandments, and then claim that they would never think of telling anyone what religion to follow. How can you push the tenets of your religion on someone while claiming you don’t believe in pushing the tenets of your religion on people? I suspect these are the same people who believe that everyone can agree on the Ten Commandments, because all religions use them. Wrong. Perhaps the problem is that by “all religions,” they mean “all Protestant denominations.”

They all seem to accept as a given that the Ten Commandments means the Protestant version; I’m not even sure they realize that we Catholics have a different list. And do they not understand that the nation’s population also incudes Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Wiccans, Buddhists, Neo-Druids, Sikhs, Taoists, atheists, agnostics, and more? They see no problem with forcing all of those people to accept the basic teachings of their own Christian faith. Such self-righteous arrogance.

Some days I feel so hopeless about the future of this country.

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