My namesake first surfaced in the international consciousness because he convinced a supporter to commission a sculpture of two tablets of the "Ten Commandments", carved into an 4-ton block of granite. Then he moved it into the courthouse where he worked. Hilarity ensued; it's one thing to troll the libtards, something more to troll your own state and federal government on the clearest possible violation of separation of Church and State.
Missing in all the legal fracas was by far both the funniest and most serious aspect of The Rock. (Googling it now brings confusion with Dwayne Johnson.)
Roy's Rock has Eleven Commandments carved into it. Unmistakably. The spacings between commandments are clearly wider than the spacings between lines within one commandment. You can see it most clearly between the first and second, as shown below:
From a biblical literalist and all-round doctrinal hardass, this is astonishing. There are any number of jokes about "The Eleventh Commandment" - but this guy actually DID assume the power to re-write God Himself. In stone!
Mr. Moore was attempting, however ineptly, to broker peace across the whole Judeo-Christian Tradition. He wanted his Rock to somehow rally all J-C faiths against the Godless State.
His problem with that is that Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all disagree on what the Ten Commandments are. The multiple differences between the three (indeed, four, as Muslims have their own version, too) are detailed in this chart at ProCon.org. To save you time, the big issue is that Jews insist "I Am The Lord Thy God" is a commandment all by itself. Protestants and Catholics both add what the Jews call #2 ("thou shalt have no other...") to be part of #1.
Problems after that are mainly Christian; the Catholics are uncomfortable with the whole "graven image" prohibition, since they've done a lot of graving in their time.
To me, this bit of carven comedy also provides children and fools with a simple explanation of why it is so important to keep religion and state far apart. If posting up religious edicts in state institutions became common, the first question that would arise, is,"which religious edicts"?
For all Mr. Moore's attempts at squaring the circle with Eleven Commandments, somebody would be sure to notice and complain at the obvious blasphemy. God provided exactly Ten Commandments, the complaint would run, and you cannot edit Him. Exactly Ten would have to be chosen for all the other statehouses and courthouses, and would it be the Catholic or Protestant Ten? (The notion of the very-minority Jews controlling that decision can be skipped.)
Where Mr. Moore comes from, it would be Protestant, hands down. This would be awkward for the remarkable Protestant/Catholic detente that has held since 1980. Mr. Reagan's team got a whole new invention, the Religous Right, behind him to defeat his Baptist Sunday School teacher opponent. They're broadly agreed that Abortion is Bad, and Kids These Days Are Immoral, and they don't talk about their deep differences - the ones that laid waste to Europe and Britain for centuries on end. Those holy wars made America's founders determined that such horrors would not come to the New World.
Should religion become a path to real political power, the fight to get to the top of that religion would become as ugly as the Papal successions of the Borgias' time; and the struggles between religions would take us back to the Thirty Years War and Jacobin beheadings.
It isn't just America that has divorced religion and politics; it's every developed nation, for centuries now. We're learned our lesson, having paid with a lot of blood. In other nations, religious favouritism - such as Mr. Modi in India - is the major concern expressed by outside observers, out of all the other problems India displays. Everybody understands how serious the problem is.
Everybody understands, except Mr. Moore and a disturbing number of his American evangelical supporters. Fortunately, Moore's overreaching desire to have it all his way, and God's count of Ten be damned, has only demonstrated how foolish he is.
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