The Ten Commandments: Foundation of American SocietyBy Kenyn Cureton Vice President for Church Ministries
For a majority of Americans, the Ten Commandments are not set in stone. According to a USA Today poll, "Sixty percent of Americans cannot name five of the Ten Commandments." In fact, it is amazing what Americans do know by comparison:
- 74% of Americans can name all three Stooges -- Moe, Larry, and Curley.
- 35% of Americans can recall all six kids from the Brady Bunch.
- 25% of Americans can name all seven ingredients of McDonald's Big Mac
Here is the sad news: Only 14% can accurately name all Ten Commandments. Yet 78% of Americans are in favor of public displays of the Commandments. How ironic. Americans affirm the Ten Commandments, but cannot name them. Consequently, the greatest tragedy is not that the Ten Commandments are vanishing from public schools, courtrooms, and government buildings, but that they are disappearing from the minds, hearts, and lives of most Americans. Yet the Ten Commandments and biblical morality were taken more seriously during the settlement and founding of America.
The American experiment in ordered liberty presupposes the existence of a Supreme Being who instituted a universal moral code. As the Declaration of Independence reminds us, this code is "self-evident." Indeed, the Declaration enshrined this simple yet powerful truth, that "unalienable rights," or basic human rights, do not come as a gift from a ruling elite, such as kings and rulers, parliaments and legislatures, judges and courts; rather, natural rights come from God.
The Founding Fathers went out of their way to acknowledge God no less than four times in the Declaration:
- "[T]he Laws of Nature and of Nature's God..."
- "[A]ll Men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
- "[A]ppealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions...
- "[W]ith a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence..."