Letter to the Editor: The Ten Commandments did not influence the U.S. Constitution


The editorial cartoon in the March 23 Chronicle, depicting the Ten Commandments as the basis for such things as liberty and the Constitution, is completely off the mark. It is in line, however, with various lies that claim that the United States was founded on Christian principles. What really shows the artist’s ignorance is George Washington commenting on putting the Commandments “there [as a keystone for U.S. law] for a reason.”

It is amazing that someone would depict the founding fathers as wanting religious law to play a role in government, because nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is God in any form mentioned. Also, God only makes an appearance in the Declaration of Independence as “Nature’s God” and the “Creator,” which only implies the existence of a supreme being who created the universe, not the God of the Bible.

Add to this the fact that the Bill of Rights, in granting freedoms such as religion, speech and liberty, allows people to legally worship “false” gods, commit adultery, dishonor their parents and basically disobey all of the Commandments except those condemning thievery and murder.

The Constitution of the United States, which limits and structures all U.S. laws, was written by enlightenment thinkers. Virtually all of them ranged from Deist to Agnostic. They understood that organized religious bodies often discourage freedom of thought and actions, thereby discouraging knowledge and advancement.

The founding fathers realized that religious morals, being highly subjective, should have no influence on the laws of a free society. We should understand this fact and work to better implement this philosophy.

Carl Boone

Graduate Student,

Materials Science and Engineering