Third Commandment: Thou Shalt not take the Lord thy God's name in vain.
Growing up every preacher that covered the Ten Commandments explained this commandment as you should not take God lightly or use his name profanely. But a curious thing happened as I was traveling through Texas, where every little town you drive through, and there are a lot of little towns in Texas, has posted a picture, billboard or monument of the Ten Commandments. Something that didn't exist thirty years ago when I lived in Texas.
I started going over the the ten forbiddens and started thinking about the word vain. You discribe a person who is vain as self-centered. Thinking only of themselves. Doing something something to exalt yourself is called vanity. So is not this commandment an admonition to not claim God or use God's name to exalt yourself? Could it not be said more plainly in today's language as THOU SHALT NOT CLAIM TO BE GOD, or DON'T CLAIM WHAT YOU THINK AND DO AS GOD'S THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS.
It seems to be a big movement with the moral mafia to substitute symbols for reality. Our governmental leadersip at all levels is the most corrupt, amoral, and nonresponsive to the needs of their constituents I've ever known so they proclaim days of celebrations for the Bill of Rights, and have a day where all teachers teach about the Bill of Righs and post them all over the schools, meanwhile back at the ranch the American Patriot Act has repealed Habeus Corpus effectively nullifying the Bill of Rights and rendering it meanlingless. HOW GOOD ARE THEY IF THEY CAN THROW YOU IN JAIL AND KEEP YOU THERE INDEFINITLY WITHOUT CHARGE OR ATTORNEY!
In essence with this President and Vice Regent we've gone back to the Divine Right of Kings where our government leader claim they are answerable only to God, or history or posterity -- Just trust us. In reality they become God. There is little practical difference between Divine Right and the Egyptian Pharaohs or Roman Emperors who claimed to be God. Is this not taking "The Lord's name in vain?"
In analogy religious leaders are substituting the symbol of law and morality by displaying the Ten Commandments while in reality they are violating just about every one of them. The very display violates the admonition to not make a graven image and worship idols.
I'm not Catholic and don't wish to denegrate their beliefs, but as a Baptist that has been one of our major divisions with Catholicism -- their belief that the Pope as Vicar of Christ speaks for God. To Catholicisms credit they limit this power to only one person or council. I the last thirty years the moral mafia has distorted the Protestant "Priesthood of the Believer" into making every loudmouth, opinonated, local Preacher into a self-appointed Pope. As examples: The Rev. Donald Wildmon is a self-appointed censor for the national airwaves throwing tempertantrums if a western mini-series uses the word poke as a euphemism of sexual intercourse, and horrors of horrors Janet Jackson displayed a pasty for a hundreth of a second at the Super Bowl half time show. Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and the numerous other mega-church, televangelist leaders of the moral mafia think that whatever their interpretation of scripture is, has to be the only way to interpret that scripture and everyone else has to believe exactly the way they do. Is that not taking God's name in vain? Is that not in effect and reality claiming not just to speak for God but that you ARE GOD!
This is the four days of Blog Against Theocracy. Why am I against an established church in this country, because my faith is personal not collective or national or uniform. My interpretations of scripture are mine and if you disagree that is perfectly fine by me you have the right to be wrong. But I will never coerce or force anyone to believe as I do and those corrupt, bloated, thugs of the moral mafia who want to force me into their literal interpretive theological and poliical compartments can follow the words of the Apostle Peter as he spoke them to Simon the Magician in the book of Acts, "May thy money perish with thee."