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Commandments in the U.S. Supreme Court

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  Volume 12, No. 4   Winter, 2002  


The Ten Commandments of Almighty God (Exodus 20:1-18) are fiercely under attack in America today, even to the point of peaceful citizens being taken to court, on a State-by-State basis, by the ACLU, American Atheists and other leftist groups. The latter groups are attacking Americans for the "crime" of having historic sculptural, artistic or architectural depictions of the Ten Commandments engraved - or displayed - within or without their landmarks, buildings, monuments and memorials. Many of these are edifices of foremost historical significance to the nation.

Since the inauguration of our first "Christian Heritage Week, New Mexico, November 10-16, 1991," I have conducted numerous Christian Heritage Week seminars and presentations in many States throughout America. I have been a witness to the incredible Hand of God upon this nation, The Ten Commandments being prominently displayed within and without historic courthouses, State houses, public and civic buildings and landmarks. This represents one of the numerous proofs that America is a Christian nation.

However, these evidences of the nation’s Christian foundations and development are being forcibly targeted at a cataclysmic rate, under the erroneous, newly fabricated, coined phrase, "Separation of Church and State." The latter term was never once used or enunciated in any political or official document by a founding father. In fact, the term used by the founding fathers is just the opposite to this modern-day phrase - "Separation of Church (from interference by) the State." (see James Madison’s 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance and Thomas Jefferson’s 1786 Statutes for Religious Freedom in Virginia.)

It is interesting to note that the Ten Commandments form an integral part of the sculptural and architectural themes of both the Legislative and Judicial branches of the American Republic. How is that, you may ask? 

The U.S. House of Representatives

Twenty-three bas-relief sculptured profiles of famous lawmakers of the past grace the inner walls of the U.S. House of Representatives. Is it by sheer coincidence, or Divine intervention, that the only full face, the head of Moses, to whom Almighty God gave the Ten Commandments, stands out directly opposite the Speaker’s Chair - a silent reminder to all who enter, of the awesome responsibility placed upon the leaders of the one nation under God.

The Library of Congress

Overlooking the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress, the bronze statue of Moses, the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, one in either hand, represents "Religion" - the Old Testament; while Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, represents the New Testament. In the magnificent dome of the Main Reading Room, the painting entitled "Judea" portrays "Religion" - a young Israeli woman raises her hands in prayer and praise to Almighty God, the Ten Commandments by her side and the Old Testament law in her lap.

The U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States was designed by foremost American architect Cass Gilbert, of white marble from Vermont; Corinthian columns flanking its entranceway. The Ten Commandments stand out in prominence above the Chief Justice’s head in a marble bas-relief sculpture, work of celebrated sculptor, Adolph Weinman. The handsome oak doorway into the inner chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court portray the two tablets of the Ten Commandments upon the lower part of each door - the only symbol upon these doors, which, when closed, face the Bench.

The marble bas-relief sculpture on the outer, East façade of the U. S. Court, above he Bench, displays Moses in the seat of the law, with the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, one in either hand. Herman MacNeil’s masterpiece is entitled, Justice, the Guardian of Liberty, meaning - Justice, based upon the Ten Commandments centrally featured, guards our liberties. Without the Ten Commandments as the highest moral law, there are no liberties in America.

The National Archives 

Upon entering the National Archives, one is met with a large circular, bronze seal embossed in the marble floor. In predominance at the top of the circle are two stone tablets - representing the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. They signify the underlying foundation of the Bible and Christianity in four key areas of government, depicted around them: Senate, Justice, History and War and Defense.

George Washington and the Ten Commandments

Founder and father of this nation, George Washington, was on the building committee of his parish church, Pohick Episcopal Church. He personally funded the gold leaf to emboss the beautiful Ten Commandments inscribed on the wall above the altar, where he worshiped the Lord.

John Adams and the Ten Commandments

Founding father, John Adams, a profound Christian statesman, wrote that, "...The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion..."

Harry Truman and the Ten Commandments

Harry Truman chose the Ten Commandments as his presidential inaugural Scripture, upon which his left hand laid; his right hand upraised, swearing allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. President Truman stated that, "The Ten Commandments make a mighty good program." The New York Times, January 20, 1949 front page article elaborated upon the fact that "the president especially recommended observance of the 10th Commandment in the capital city."

The First Legislative, Representative Assembly in America, 1607

Further to this, the Ten Commandments and prayer proved significant in the commencing of the first legislative government in America (1619). The very first Representative Assembly in the New World was convened at Jamestown on July 30, 1619 at the Jamestown church. It met in response to orders from the Virginia Company "to establish one equal and uniform government of the people there inhabiting" The Secretary and then appointed speaker, John Pory, left this account for posterity: "But foreasmuch as men’s affaires doe little prosper where God’s service is neglected, all the Burgesses took their places in the Quire till prayer was said by Mr. Bucke, the Minister, that it would please God to guide and sanctifie all our proceedings, to His own glory and the good of this plantation.” The Ten Commandments of Almighty God grace the walls behind the altar in calligraphy:

The Ten Commandments

   I   Thou shalt have none other gods but Me.
  II   Thou shalt not make to thyselfe any graven image.
 III   Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
 IV   Remember that thou keepe holy the Sabbath day.
  V   Honor thy father and thy mother.
 VI   Thou shalt doe no murder.
VII   Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII  Thou shalt not steale.
  IX   Thou shalt not beare false witness against thy neighbour.
   X   Thou shalt not covet. 

It would behoove American citizens today, to study Thomas Jefferson’s outline for his Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments. 

It is one of the many examples of this founding father’s application of the Ten Commandments to public life and comportment in America.

In Christ Jesus, our Redeemer’s own words, the Law - The Ten Commandments - can be summed up as follows, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength; and your neighbor as yourself."

As the U.S. Supreme Court’s East façade sculpture so aptly encapsulates: Justice (based upon the Ten Commandments) guards America’s liberties. Remove the Ten Commandments from public life, conduct - and display, and she has no liberties; her liberties stemming uniquely from the Hand of God.

Excerpted from, The Rewriting of America’s History, © copyright by Catherine Millard. 

(Copyright 2002 by Christian Heritage Ministries)

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