Kent Bush: 11th Commandment would have been helpful

Kent Bush

God never asks for my help.

Maybe that's a good thing. But I did have one idea that would have really helped.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. On Mt. Sinai, when he gave Moses the world's first Top 10 list, God's simple rules seemed sufficient.

They served as the basis for the legal structures of multiple societies and cultures for centuries.

But in the 21st century, it has become clear that there should have been an 11th Commandment.

"Thou shalt not do senseless things in my name."

The Oklahoma State Legislature is in clear violation of the 11th Commandment.

Both houses have passed a bill to place a privately funded Ten Commandments monument at the state capitol.

The bill is awaiting the governor's signature. Religious groups want the bill signed. The ACLU and other similar organizations are hoping for a veto.

A little biography on Brad Henry would make you think the bill was certain to pass. He is a longtime member of a Southern Baptist Church in Shawnee, Okla. He has served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. It's a sure thing, right?

Not so fast.

Henry is also the only governor who was ever able to bring a lottery to the state. He will never be criticized for turning the Land of the Red People into a theocracy.

The Sooner State rarely does anything sooner than other states.

This time they are once again following the lead of Texas. Oklahoma -- my home state -- has always had a little-sister relationship with her larger, wealthier, more powerful neighbor to the south.

The latest example is the monument proposal.

Texas has a similar monument that has already been established and passed a Supreme Court challenge. Now Oklahoma is trying to do the same.

I always look beyond the measures to the motivation behind them.

Why now, after 102 years of statehood, does Oklahoma need this monument? Somehow, they survived a century of history without it.

You know it is a bad idea when arguments on both sides are equally ridiculous.

One group who is fighting construction of the monument says it will "send a message of exclusion to those who do not share the Judeo-Christian tradition and a message of favoritism to those who do."

The bill's author Sen. Randy Brogdon, said, "Disregard for that document is to have a disregard for the rule of law. Without it, we would be a nation of anarchy. It has put us on a very solid foundation."

The two sides are equally off base.

The author's supposition is that not having the monument amounts to a disregard of the Ten Commandments. If so, a vast majority of states are disregarding the world's primary legal document. By his thinking, Oklahoma should be in a state of anarchy. Only erecting this monument can restore order.

Yep, that's ridiculous.

Opponents assert that putting the monument up would somehow be injurious to people who identify with non-Biblical faiths or hold to no religion at all. Their lives will somehow be lessened because of a hunk of marble at the state capitol -- a building they will most likely never visit.

That argument is no better.

Carving words in a rock won't magically make the state any more religious or godly.

If the monument is never established, Oklahoma could still be the most religious state in the nation.

The monument may be well-intentioned, but it will have no more impact than throwing a shovel full of dirt in the Grand Canyon.

It's a political tennis ball that is being smashed back and forth in an effort to earn points while distracting voters from real issues.

I love the Ten Commandments. I just wish people would spend more time following them than fighting over them.

Augusta Gazette