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15 -- oops -- 10 Commandments
December 27, 2004 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Alabama judge wears robe with Ten Commandments embroidered on it in a nice cursive mustard yellow, bringing the state even closer to the nipples of religion. Lawyer objects. Hear the judge's defense at npr.
posted by swift (53 comments total)

 
Both parties disgust me.
posted by ColdChef at 3:04 PM on December 27, 2004


Well then, ColdChef, I'm not throwing you any more parties.
posted by davejay at 3:05 PM on December 27, 2004


Bah.
posted by ColdChef at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2004


I suppose a golden vagina tastefully embroidered into the collar would be not be as moral.
posted by orange clock at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2004


this dude must be really desperate to delegitamize his cause.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:13 PM on December 27, 2004


What an idiot. Give him a new job as garbage man or dogcatcher where the demand for cognitive abilities is greatly reduced.
posted by rushmc at 3:14 PM on December 27, 2004


sexists, the judge is a woman.
posted by tsarfan at 3:17 PM on December 27, 2004


The judge is not a woman. It's a man named Ashley.
posted by bingo at 3:20 PM on December 27, 2004


She's a witch, burn her.
posted by Slagman at 3:20 PM on December 27, 2004


The judge is not a woman. It's a man named Ashley.

But he's a dwarf. Insensitive bastards!
posted by 327.ca at 3:20 PM on December 27, 2004


The nipples of religion?
posted by opek at 3:26 PM on December 27, 2004


When is some judge going to put the Pillars of Islam on their robe? It's all the same, Abrahama and such.

Or maybe some mention of the pagan stoics, I mean if we get down to it isn't stocism (because of Tertullian, et al) a large part of Christian beliefs? I mean stocism gives rise to the idea of things like being gay are not natural. birth control is not natural, aborting is not natural, etc.?
posted by geoff. at 3:27 PM on December 27, 2004


What a maroon. Can his ass.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 3:28 PM on December 27, 2004


She turned me into a newt!
posted by carter at 3:28 PM on December 27, 2004


A newt?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:30 PM on December 27, 2004


I got better.
posted by Slagman at 3:32 PM on December 27, 2004


Lesson learned: post a GrudgeFilter FPP ("nipples of religion") and get a stupid thread.

How has nobody said "NewsFilter" yet?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:35 PM on December 27, 2004


Give him a new job as garbage man or dogcatcher where the demand for cognitive abilities is greatly reduced.

Heey, be nice to the garbage men and dogcatchers. They work harder and probably contribute more to the well-being of their communities than this yahoo judge.

(How in the hell do you let someone know your comment is in good fun, please take it lightly, etc. without putting some dumbass smiley face emoticon deal in there? 'cause if I did shit like that, this comment would have little winking emoticon.)
posted by marxchivist at 3:39 PM on December 27, 2004


From the AP article:
McKathan told The Associated Press that he believes the Ten Commandments represent the truth "and you can't divorce the law from the truth. ... The Ten Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong."

Interesting theory, so I thought I'd peruse the text in question:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
... like, say a Ten Commandments-embroidered robe?

for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
... sounds like a just approach to the concept of fault to me.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's ass
... finally! Indubitable proof that the Bible condemns homosexuality.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:41 PM on December 27, 2004


I'm an atheist, but I would love to get my hands on one of those badass robes. There's no picture, but I imagine it to be second only to a jean jacket embroidered with Michelangelo's Creation of Adam, if such a thing exists.

This lax attitude towards courtroom dress can be traced all the way back to this woman in nearby Arkansas.
posted by BigFatWhale at 3:42 PM on December 27, 2004


Lesson learned: post a GrudgeFilter FPP ("nipples of religion") and get a stupid thread.

More like JudgeFilter.
posted by swift at 3:57 PM on December 27, 2004


"The Ten Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong."

What, he's too stupid to memorize them, so he needs a cheat sheet?
posted by c13 at 4:00 PM on December 27, 2004


Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
... like, say a Ten Commandments-embroidered robe?


Actually, this robe does not violate that commandment. The graven images it's talking about are idols, i.e. direct representations of a diety, not of the diety's words.
posted by bingo at 4:13 PM on December 27, 2004


So he has the 10 commandments embroidered on his robe. Big Deal. If he really had some courage to back those convictions he would have them tattooed on his face.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:14 PM on December 27, 2004


bingo, re: idolatry, i'm familiar with that interpretation of the passage, and was mostly kidding. mostly.

what about the sins-of-your-great-great-grandfathers school of parceling out juridical fault, though? i'm not kidding, here, because that's an overt legal concept imbedded in an otherwise theological ("worship no other gods except Yahweh") commandment. if you ignore (for the moment, and not permanently, as this "judge" has apparently done) the obvious breach of the establishment clause found there, and focus on the sins-of-your-fathers language, isn't this concept in prima facie conflict with that most cherished of legal beliefs: the presumption of innocence?
posted by joe lisboa at 4:25 PM on December 27, 2004


If he really had some courage to back those convictions he would have them tattooed on his face.

No, he would post a picture of the robe on the Internet. So it could truly be judged ridiculed.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:32 PM on December 27, 2004


As long as he doesn't try to wear it to his prom, he should do ok.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:41 PM on December 27, 2004


who names their son Ashley?
posted by tsarfan at 4:50 PM on December 27, 2004


This guy's parents named their son Ashleigh.
posted by weston at 4:59 PM on December 27, 2004


joe lisboa: That 'interpretation,' together with the idea of there only being one god, is pretty much the basis of Judaism.

As far as the sins of the father being visited upon the son, I don't think that god is prescribing a punishment for that to be carried out by mortals; at least not within the ten commandments.

About the Ashley thing: there was also a male character named Ashley, or maybe Ashleigh, in Gone With The Wind. Not that that should be held up as any sort of standard.
posted by bingo at 5:08 PM on December 27, 2004


That guy in Pokemon is clearly an abbreviation of Ashley - and his voice actor is a GIRL!

That said, judges need to get off this whole 'we derive our laws from the 10 commandments' thing before somebody points out that coveting thy neighbour's house, wife and donkey is the very definition of the American Dream.
posted by Sparx at 5:27 PM on December 27, 2004


prohibitions against idolatry aren't uniquely judaic, bingo.
(and what's with the bristling at the word "interpretation"?)
posted by joe lisboa at 5:44 PM on December 27, 2004


The clear answer is for the lawyer to wear a robe with Luke 18:2 sewn on it.

New American Bible, There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
posted by shepd at 5:55 PM on December 27, 2004


joe lisboa: They were uniquely judaic at the time (and place). Or at least Abraham and his followers thought that they were, and as far as I know, that's the popularly held secular historical view as well. It was the main thing that made their cult stand out from the others around them; they were pretty much in a sea of idol-worshipping polytheists. The ideas that god was both completely intangible was more or less revolutionary.

(Actually, though, 'judaic' isn't the right word, because we're talking about the Hebrews; there weren't really any Jews until after Babylon fell.)

My 'bristling' is not because I believe that the commandments were the word of god, if that's what you mean (I don't). It's because I just haven't heard of anyone suggesting that the passage in question could be referring to anything other than
posted by bingo at 6:09 PM on December 27, 2004


...idol worship.
posted by bingo at 6:10 PM on December 27, 2004


...er, the reason my oddly-constructed sentence says 'the idea that god was both...' is that I was going to also include the idea that god was a singular entity; i.e. that there is only one god. But I thought better of it, because even though a lot of modern Jews see it that way, the historical truth is more likely that the commandment was understood as 'don't worship any other gods,' without really getting specific as to whether or not there actually were any others to worship.
posted by bingo at 6:14 PM on December 27, 2004


Ashley is a perfectly good boy's name damnit.
posted by fvw at 6:20 PM on December 27, 2004


This guy is the son of a vampire and was married to a famous bitch.
posted by geekyguy at 6:22 PM on December 27, 2004


sexists, the judge is a woman

Misandrist. The judge is a man.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:25 PM on December 27, 2004


On behalf of my city, I'd like to apologize.
posted by Clay201 at 6:54 PM on December 27, 2004


This is totally blasphemous. False idol-making out of the bible, graven images. Probably, he's also mixing fibers. What an asshole.
posted by interrobang at 9:24 PM on December 27, 2004


What an asshole, indeed.

I wonder what will happen when criminals get absolved of their crimes, because this violation of church/state separation causes a series of mistrials while this judge wore the offensive garments?

What an asshole. He should be fired without delay for putting the justice system at risk.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:07 PM on December 27, 2004


Well, my parents named their son Ashley, and I was named after this guy.
posted by punilux at 2:08 AM on December 28, 2004


That guy in Pokemon is clearly an abbreviation of Ashley - and his voice actor is a GIRL!

The voice of Bart Simpson is done by a woman, and she's also a Scientologist. I knew a boy when I was younger named Ashley. What were we talking about? Oh, yeah ... I think he should embroider a big US flag on the back of his robe, along with the motto "Try to burn this one!" emblazoned below it. And it should all be in sequins. That would be suitably defiantly patriotic, and most people would love it. Or, he could get Calvin peeing on the Constitution. Or John 3:16.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:44 AM on December 28, 2004


Misandrist

Wow ... I'd honestly never heard that word before. I'd like to use that in a sentence.

"Hey, Joey, look over there at that bunch of flaming misandrists!"

"Why, that's nothing but a cockamamie contraption made by some misandrist!"

"Misandry and Complementary Interior Design for Dummies."
posted by krinklyfig at 3:57 AM on December 28, 2004


What an asshat. I bet his constituents love him.
posted by bshort at 8:37 AM on December 28, 2004


Isn't the first commandment "There is only one true God for you to worship" or something like that? And this is constitutional, how? So, if I don't believe in this asshat's version of God I'm breaking the law and must go to prison.

He should be fired. Period. He's unAmerican and not a patriot therefore should not serve the government. Let's start calling this shite like it is.
posted by wicked sprite at 9:05 AM on December 28, 2004


According to the ten commandments page posted at http://www.crystalinks.com/tencommandments.html:

As far as I can see only 6, 8 and 9 are relevant to the law today... (excluding any possible blasphemy-type legislation):

6. Thou shalt not kill (or murder, depending on translation)
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Hmmm ... is adultery still technically illegal? If so, 7 is in as well. But AFAIK 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 aren't a problem.

So the ten commandments being the basis of modern law? Maybe once, but today ... not so much.
posted by kaemaril at 11:40 AM on December 28, 2004


This is so easy to kill with logic, too.

First, if the Ten Commandments are a guideline for how he should judge cases, then they'd have to reflect the laws. This is wrong, as several of the commandments, while reflecting a morality, do not reflect the laws of the United States. Therefore, he is going to have to give out rulings at some time that allow others to violate the Ten Commandments.

Then he's stuck with a problem: he's wearing a moral code that he's directly contradicting. For every son that sues his father or neighbor accused of adultery in a divorce hearing, there's going to be the question of whether he can rule impartially. Either way, he's going to be deameaning either the commandments or the laws of his country. What's the statement he's trying to make, that the Ten Commandments should be the law of the United States?
posted by mikeh at 1:12 PM on December 28, 2004


What's the statement he's trying to make.

His statement is:
A) That he supports former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
B) That he is uping the ante in the 'culture wars'.

This is less about his personal religious beliefs and more about him being a punk.

Maybe another judge will wear a robe with an anarchist patch just to show him up.
posted by Rashomon at 2:02 PM on December 28, 2004


I second this.

The clear answer is for the lawyer to wear a robe with Luke 18:2 sewn on it.

New American Bible, There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.

posted by effwerd at 7:40 PM on December 28, 2004


But AFAIK 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 aren't a problem.

Anyone who claims 4 isn't a problem obviously hasn't lived in a town that outlaws alcohol sales on Sunday....
posted by dagnyscott at 12:13 PM on December 30, 2004


...or a whole state. :)
posted by bingo at 4:15 PM on December 30, 2004


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