I have heard it said that we have a million laws to enforce Ten Commandments, a list of rules that several religions have adopted as the basis of, or at least an important part of, living a good life. Interestingly, much excitement and furor has been stirred up recently because of that list of rules connected to a few religions. Words have never intimidated me, but some people have panicked when this harmless list was posted in their schools and/or their government offices.
Giles County, Va., is currently panic central for this debate. The County School Board decided in December to remove the publicly displayed Ten Commandments from the schools. In January, they decided that they were wrong for removing them and decided to flip their decision and reinstalled the lists in their schools. Now, in February, they have flopped and decided to remove them again. This decision came after discussing the issue with the district's legal counsel. I think that it might have been better to have that discussion with the lawyers back in December.
I struggle a bit with all the excitement over this issue as various religions once again clash with schools and governments. I have always believed that there is a God, but I am not sure that God had this vision of formal religions in mind as he looked over us. I venture a guess the direction that formal religion often heads is one of God's disappointments.
As I thought about this list of rules, I thought maybe we could solve all this confusion by developing a set of politically correct Ten Commandments. So, I've tried to make it something that could hang in our schools and government buildings without creating mass hysteria.
The Ten Highly Recommended Suggestions for Life Behavior:
1. You are not the center of the universe. Believe in something or someone who is greater than you are. When looking for that guiding power, be careful. Many who present themselves as someone with the answers will lead you down some bad alleys.
2. Show some respect to the source of guidance you are given. There are many ways to show respect. One would be to say good things and use good words when you talk about the one guiding you.
3. Take some time off regularly to honor and thank the spirit who helps you through life.
4. Love, honor and respect your parents for their efforts to do what is right. Try to remember that there are no set rules or blueprints for parenting. All parents make mistakes, but most of them are doing the best they know how with the skills and knowledge they have.
5. You will not kill. Nothing has to be changed to make this politically correct.
6. Protect your bond with the one you love. That bond of wife, husband, life partner or soul mate is a wonderful one. We are human so we often fall short of showing that one person the love and respect they deserve. Trying to share that bond with more than one person at a time makes no sense.
7. You will not steal. This again seems straightforward. If it's not yours, you have no business taking it. It doesn't get much simpler than that. If you want something, work for it.
8. Just tell the truth. It is so much easier than trying to remember how you twisted it. In the end, the truth will keep you out of trouble.
9. Don't covet your neighbor's wife. As Soupy Sales once said, "It always looks greener in the other guy's wallet!" If you aren't happy with where you are, there is a good chance you wouldn't be happy in someone else's life or with someone else's wife, so don't bother coveting.
10. Stop wishing for your neighbor's stuff. Your neighbor's stuff will not make you happy either.
This politically correct business is tougher than I thought it would be. Even though this set of rules eliminates any specific reference to God or religion, I am sure in this politically correct environment, it would still offend some group. That being the case, I have another idea. It is a way we could cover all bases and, I hope, not offend anyone. We could also save on printing costs because this solution only uses a few words. There wouldn't be a long list to remember and maybe just a few people would take note making the world a little gentler and kinder. At the entrance to every school and every public building in all bold capital letters, let's post these eleven words: DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU!