A Quote by sam harris on ten commandments and 10 commandments

Many members of the U.S. government currently view their professional responsibilities in religious terms.  Consider the case of Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  Finding himself confronted by the sixth-highest murder rate in the nation, Justice Moore thought it expedient to install a two-and-a–half-ton monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the state courthouse in Montgomery.  Almost no one disputes that this was a violation of the spirit (if not the letter) of the “establishment” clause pf the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  When a federal court ordered Justice Moore to remove the monument, he refused.  Not wanting to have an obvious hand in actually separating church and state, the U.S. Congress amended an appropriations bill to ensure that federal funds could not be used for the monument’s removal.  Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose sole business is to enforce the nation’s laws, maintained a pious silence all the while.  This was not surprising, given that when he does speak, he is in the habit of saying things like “We are a nation called to defend freedom – freedom is not the grant of any government or document, but is our endowment from God.”  According to a Gallup poll, Ashcroft and the Congress were on firm ground as far as the American people were concerned, because 76 percent of those polled objected to the removal of the monument.  One wonders whether Moore, Ashcroft, the U.S. Congress, and three-quarters of the American people would like to see the punishments for breaking these hallowed commandments also specified in marble and placed in our nation’s courts.  What, after all, is the punishment for taking the Lord’s name in vain?  It happens to be death (Leviticus 24:16).  What is the punishment for working on the Sabbath?  Also death (Exodus 31:15).  What is the punishment for cursing one’s father or mother?  Death again (Exodus 21:17).  What is the punishment for adultery?  You’re catching on (Leviticus 20:10).  While the commandments themselves are difficult to remember (especially since chapters 20 and 34 of Exodus provide us with incompatible lists), the penalty for breaking them is simplicity itself.

sam harris

Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 154..5

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