“I bet that ninety percent of the American people believe in the Ten Commandments and eighty-five percent couldn’t tell you what they all are.”–Justice Antonin Scalia
Two weeks ago I asked my fifth and sixth graders in Wednesday night class to write the Ten Commandments by heart. Most could only get “do not steal” and perhaps one or two others. None named them all. Only a few got more than half of them right.
What we focused on, however, was the prologue: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt.” We started with this in order to teach that the commandments are a response to the gracious acts of God, not merely a checklist for feeling holier than thou. Yet it is a part of the life and ethic of a people who are to reflect the image of their holy God by being holy.
The first four commands center on God, who he is and and we honor him in worship, how to fear his very name and use it with full respect and not flippantly. The last six deal with human relationships through which we continue to honor God and image him. Keeping all the commands is a response to God’s leading out, his grace. This part of the commands is often omitted when the commands are posted.
I am not for fighting the battle to keep the granite displays of the commands in public places. I am for fighting the battle for us to live them in public places.