Dusty Nix: The money changers in the gold-domed temple

March 31, 2012 

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

-- Matthew 6:2 (KJV)

Submitted: A Bill, (which ought) to be titled The Georgia Pharisee Act of 2012 …

It seemed we were mere seconds away from getting through this legislative session without the noxious distraction of pulpit politics -- specifically, school prayer or Ten Commandments politics.

Never mind.

House Bill 766, which sailed through both chambers and by now might already be law under Gov. Nathan Deal's signature, authorizes the Ten Commandments to be posted in all government buildings, including schools.

It amends a 2006 law that already allows the Commandments to be displayed in judicial buildings along with other "historical documents" (fine … whatever), with the obvious and specific purpose this time around of posting the Decalogue in public schools.

Hallelujah, Hosanna, Sis Boom Bah. You've stood tall for Moses. No doubt your email folders are bulging with praise for your "courage." (An immutable law of politics: The more shameless and risk-free an act of pure political pandering, the more certain that it will be commended for its "courage.")

I'm not running for anything, so I'll point out the ludicrously obvious: This is one of those useless "we dare you to vote against this" pieces of pure political childishness that have elevated government to such high public regard.

That laws of this ilk are invariably about displaying the Ten Commandments, as opposed to actually obeying them, is hardly a trivial distinction.

Let's see … this is the same legislature that fiercely resisted any limits on how much lucre it could amass, or how many "fact-finding" and "educational" junkets it could accept from contributors and lobbyists. So that pesky "no other gods before me" thing might be, well, troublesome.

And since we are talking about physical copies of the Commandments, as opposed to their moral and spiritual substance, that "graven image" prohibition is kind of a tricky problem, don't you think?

Taking the name of the Lord in vain … politicians? Perish the thought.

Remembering the Sabbath, honoring parents … OK, benefit of the doubt on those. Also, barring military service, I'm pretty sure members of the General Assembly haven't killed anybody. Throw a little more irresponsible slack into those ridiculous gun laws next year and we might have to reconsider.

Stealing, lying, covetousness … in politics? Seriously?

Hmm … adultery. Do we even want to go there? Maybe with Glenn Richardson gone, that particular sin is purged from the hallowed halls of Georgia government now and forevermore. Count on it.

But seriously, folks, here's the thing: We don't need you government dudes and dudesses to be our spiritual leaders. We can handle that part of our lives without you, and no offense, but most of us would rather. I'm pretty sure that when I walk into church this morning, I will not have consulted any of my elected representatives for talking points on today's service. I have a minister and fellow members of the flock for that.

We don't need you shoving the Ten Commandments down our and our children's throats, especially at taxpayer expense. Most of us have known them since we were about six, and those who don't might well be of different faiths.

(Oh, wait -- I forgot. Respect for the beliefs and sensibilities of others is "political correctness" and deserves withering contempt. Sorry.)

Which brings us to another point: Not only do we not need your help with Mosaic Law, but (just in case it's on next year's agenda) we don't need you to help us pray, either. Never have, never will.

Decades of hyperventilated culture-war lies to the contrary, we've never needed political intervention for prayer -- in school, at work, at a football game. We can go right to the top, anytime, anywhere. Anybody who thinks his prayers need a human audience has bigger spiritual problems than anything the Georgia Legislature can fix.

Know what we do need you to do? Your job.

Dusty Nix, 706-571-8528; dnix@ledger-enquirer.com.

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