Blurring the line: no commandments at the Capitol

Of the many tasks the Arizona Legislature ought to be accomplishing, the least important one is passing a bill requiring the Ten Commandments to be placed on the front of the old capitol building. According to an article in the Arizona Daily Sun, Sen. R-Mesa, Russell Pearce is the legislator behind the bill, SB1213, which passed by a 5-3 vote.

During the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, Pearce responded to questions about whether posting the commandments would be considered an imposition of religious beliefs on others. In response, he argued that it’s incorrect to even consider the commandments religious. Instead, the article said, Pearce claimed we should think of them as “ten little rules,” and that if everyone followed them, “Boy, what a better place this would be.”

I wholeheartedly disagree with him.

There is no need to acknowledge God, God’s jealousy, the wrongness of taking God’s name in vain or the importance of reserving Sunday as a day to rest, in order to improve … well, anything.

The idea that religion is needed to improve morality is antiquated and insulting to the millions of honest and ethical non-believers of our nation and the many in our state.

To suggest that it is incorrect to consider the Ten Commandments religious, instead of simple guiding rules, is ludicrous. They explicitly reference God and what he requires of us, so in what way is considering them religious faulty?

It’s not. By urging people to think of the commandments just as “little rules,” he suggests that we ignore the true content and brush aside our worries about religious imposition — that we reduce the Ten Commandments to something that they are not. It’s wrong and it exemplifies poor leadership.

Additionally, Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Apache Junction commented that the assumption that posting the Ten Commandments is in the best interests of all Americans is “an act of religious intolerance.”

In response, Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake said that “tolerance works two ways,” and the minority should be tolerant of the majority.

Moreover, Allen said she sees offensive stuff on TV, and she’s told to ignore it. She said that those who don’t believe in the Ten Commandments are free to just ignore them.

Thanks for your permission, Sen. Allen.

What a state Arizona finds itself in. One senator is encouraging citizens not to consider the Ten Commandments religious, and another is telling us to just ignore the principles that our elected body acknowledges as a source of societal betterment. All this while the budget problem still is not resolved.

How frustrating it is to watch our state leaders waste their time moralizing.

Perhaps instead of posting these blatantly religious phrases, almost none of which directly impact governance, our elected officials could formulate legislation that actually impacts the lives of Arizonans.

Reach Becky at rrubens1@asu.edu


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