The Ten Commandments and the Necessity of a Moral and Educated Populace for Self-Government
AMERICAN MINUTE WITH BILL FEDERER
“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS are not the laws. They are THE Law” – stated Cecil B. DeMille, November 8, 1956, at the New York opening of his epic film, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
Released by Paramount Pictures, the movie starred Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Pharaoh Rameses II.
Adjusted for inflation, it went on to become the 8th highest grossing film of all time.
While filming on-location in Egypt, Cecil B. DeMille, then 75 years old, climbed a 107-foot ladder to shoot the famous Exodus scene from atop of the massive Per Rameses set.
In the intense heat, DeMille suffered a near-fatal heart attack.
Though doctors ordered him to rest, DeMille finished directing the movie.
He never fully recovered and died of a heart condition on JANUARY 21, 1959.
DeMille had anticipated doing a film on the Book of Revelation.
For almost five decades, Cecil B. DeMille produced monumental films in Hollywood, including:
Joan the Woman (of Arc), 1916;
Male and Female, 1919;
Adam’s Rib, 1923;
The Road to Yesterday, 1925;
The King of Kings, 1927;
The Sign of the Cross, 1932;
The Crusades, 1935;
Samson and Delilah, 1949;
The Greatest Show on Earth, 1952, for which he won an Academy Award.
Cecil B. DeMille was educated at Pennsylvania Military Academy and at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
His niece, Agnes de Mille choreographed films and musicals, such as:
Paint Your Wagons, 1951;
Carousel, 1945; and
Continuing his comments at the 1956 New York opening of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, Cecil B. DeMille stated:
“Man has made 32 million laws since THE COMMANDMENTS were handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai more than three thousand years ago, but he has never improved on God’s law …
… THE TEN COMMANDMENTS are the principles by which man may live with God and man may live with man. They are the expressions of the mind of God for His creatures.
They are the charter and guide of human liberty, for there can be no liberty without the law …
… What I hope for our production of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS is that those who see it shall come from the theater not only entertained and filled with the sight of a big spectacle, but filled with the spirit of truth …
… That it will bring to its audience a better understanding of the real meaning of this pattern of life that God has set down for us to follow.”
John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson, November 4, 1816:
“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion.”
President William McKinley stated in his Inaugural Address, March 4, 1897:
“Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers … who will not forsake us so long as we obey HIS COMMANDMENTS.”
Alfred Smith, four-term Democrat Governor of New York who became the first Catholic Presidential candidate, stated in May of 1927:
“The essence of my faith is built upon THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. The law of the land is built on THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. There can be no conflict between them.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated on December 24, 1942:
“We as a Nation and as individuals will please God best by showing regard for the laws of God.
There is no better way of fostering good will toward man than by first fostering good will toward God. If we love Him we will keep His COMMANDMENTS.”
In 1954, President Dwight David Eisenhower said:
“The purpose of a devout and united people was set forth in the pages of The Bible …
1) to live in freedom;
2) to work in a prosperous land; … and
3) to obey THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD …
This Biblical story of the Promised land inspired the founders of America. It continues to inspire us.”
On March 8, 1983, at the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, President Reagan stated:
“There’s a great spiritual awakening in America …
One recent survey by a Washington-based research council concluded … 95 percent of those surveyed expressed a belief in God.
A huge majority believed THE TEN COMMANDMENTS had real meaning in their lives.”
At the time of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, sometime around 1,400 BC:
the Hittite language had around 375 cuneiform characters;
the Indus Valley Harappan language had around 417 symbols;
the Luwian Anatolian language of had over 500 logographic hieroglyphs;
the Akkadian language of Mesopotamia had over 1,500 Sumerian cuneiform characters;
the Egyptian language had over 3,000 hieroglyphic characters;
the Chinese language had nearly 10,000 pictogram and ideogram characters, invented by scribes of China’s Yellow Emperor.
In most other countries, only the upper class could read:
the ruling class and
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he not only had THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, but he had them in an easy-to-learn 22 character alphabet.
(The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is “aleph” and the second letter is “beth”).
With so few characters, everyone could learn to read, even children.
Israel’s Levite priests taught the Law, and also taught the people how to read it for themselves.
It was not only a privilege to read it, the people were required to, as the law was addressed to each person who was personally accountable to God obey it.
How did ancient writing develop?
The first invention ever was the plow — “Cain was a tiller of the ground.” (Genesis 4:2)
Then people started hitting each other with them and they turned into weapons.
Then people gravitated together for protection, forming the first communities and cities.
Once together, someone would be better at knowing how to defend and fight than the rest, and the people would say, you be our captain or leader.
One of the earliest of these leaders was Gilgamesh, who came up with the novel invention of building a wall around his city of Uruk to keep the people safe.
When a city would survive, the grateful people would view the leader’s family favorably.
The leaders children and grandchildren became an elite class, with one of them eventually acting as the city’s political boss, or king, passing on ruling power to descendants in a hereditary monarchy.
The desire to rule over others was called by St. Augustine, “libido dominandi” — the lust to dominate.
Kings had control over all the supplies in their cities and wanted to organize everything.
This resulted in the need for accountants and scribes.
In China, scribes developed a way of counting with knots in ropes, or using bamboo strips.
In Sumeria, scribes developed a way of counting using rods with beads — an abacus.
Then they used tokens in dishes.
The markings on the tokens — similar to tallying — turned into cuneiform.
Writing then evolved into keeping track of the king’s genealogy, king’s decrees, astrological observations, myths, and royal propaganda.
There was no need for common people to read as they had relatively few possessions to keep track of, and obviously made no decrees.
In most instances, lower classes, and slaves were forbidden to learn how to read.
In Ancient Egypt, the literacy rate was less than one percent.
The National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece, has a display on “Scribes” in its section on Egyptian Artifacts:
“Only a small percentage of ancient Egypt’s population was literate, namely the pharaoh, members of the royal family, officials, priests and scribes.
… Particularly popular and lucrative, the scribe’s profession was mostly hereditary. Scribes had careers in the government, priesthood, and army.”
It is theorized that scribes kept writing complicated as job security. It was their secret knowledge. They were needed to decipher the cryptic hieroglyphs.
Writing was, in a sense, the communication of the “deep-state” ruling class to maintain control over uneducated masses.
Anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss (1908-2009) wrote:
“Ancient writing’s main function was to facilitate the enslavement of other human beings.”
George Orwell wrote in Nineteen Eighty-Four:
“In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.”
A similar situation existed in Medieval Europe, where the fall of the Roman Empire left only the upper class and clergy able read.
Most commoners could not read, which contributed to the people being more easily controlled by the king and elite class.
This situation existed in the United States prior to the Civil War, where Southern Democrat slave-holding states had laws making it illegal to teach slaves to read, especially after Nat Turner’s slave rebellion.
It was easier to control illiterate, uneducated people.
The Democrat- controlled North Carolina Legislature passed an Act in 1831 stated:
“Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dissatisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion …
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina …
That any free person, who shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any slave within the State to read or write … shall … be fined not less than one hundred dollars.”
Frederick Douglass, the Republican advisor to Abraham Lincoln, had been born a slave in Baltimore, Maryland.
He told the story that one day, when he was about 12 years old, his master’s sister-in-law, Sophia Auld, was teaching him the alphabet.
When her husband found out, he yelled at her, adamantly forbidding it, saying that if slaves could read, they would grow discontent and desire freedom, then run away.
Frederick Douglass considered this the “first decidedly anti-slavery lecture” he had ever heard, causing him to be determined to read all-the-more.
He wrote in his autobiography The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: His Early Life as a Slave, His Escape from Bondage, and His Complete History (1881) of being caught attempting to read a newspaper.
It was snatched away from him with a scolding.
Douglass learned to read from neighborhood white children, and from carefully observing the writings of men he worked with.
Many Islamic countries limit the education of girls and women, which contributes to them being subservient.
Centralize control of education through state-approved standardize curriculum is the situation in socialist and communist dictatorships.
A totalitarian tactic is to intentionally make education complicated so students lose interest in academic achievement and do not develop critical thinking skills.
Emphasis is instead placed on behavior modification. Students are systematically conditioned to reject the values of their parents and embrace the values of the state.
Plato wrote in his Republic, 380 BC:
“Kings … will set in order their own city … They will … take possession of the children, who will be unaffected by the habits of their parents; these they will train in their own habits and laws.”
Children will be taught “noble lies”:
“We want one single, grand lie which will be believed by everybody.”
The utilitarian ethics of atheistic socialism and communism does not give inalienable rights.
The National Socialist Workers Party which controlled Germany enacted a Penal Code, October 10, 1933, stating:
”No life still valuable to the state will be wantonly destroyed.”
Pol Pot, whose Communist Khmer Rouge killed millions in Cambodia in 1975, stated:
“To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss.”
The Allah of the Qur’an does not give inalienable rights to kafir infidels, but permits sharia Muslims to lie, steal, rape, and kill them in various instances.
In socialist, communist, or sharia countries, individuals only have rights if the state gives them, and which the state can take away if it decides a person is no longer of value, or if a person opposes the state.
President Eisenhower stated February 20, 1955:
“The Founding Fathers … recognizing God as the author of individual rights, declared that the purpose of Government is to secure those rights …
In many lands the State claims to be the author of human rights … If the State gives rights, it can – and inevitably will – take away those rights.”
This situation of individual rights, liberty and self-rule can only work with the God of the Bible.
The Bible states that all men and women are equal — made in the image of the Creator — and that one should “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Referring to THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, Herbert Hoover stated in San Diego, California, September 17, 1935:
“Our Constitution … is based upon certain inalienable freedoms and protections which in no event the government may infringe …
It does not require a lawyer to interpret those provisions. They are as clear as THE TEN COMMANDMENTS …
The freedom of worship, freedom of speech and of the press, the right of peaceable assembly, equality before the law … behind them is the conception which is the highest development of the Christian faith … individual freedom with brotherhood.”
Roosevelt stated in a radio address on Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 1943:
“Skeptics and the cynics of Washington … are like the people who carp at THE TEN COMMANDMENTS because some people are in the habit of breaking one or more of them.”
Roosevelt stated in a Press Conference, December 22, 1944:
“We don’t all live up to THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, which is perfectly true, but on the whole they are pretty good. It’s something pretty good to shoot for.
The Christian religion most of us in the room happen to belong to, we think it is pretty good. We certainly haven’t attained it.
Well, the Atlantic Charter … not comparing it with the Christian religion or THE TEN COMMANDMENTS … was a step towards a better life for the population of the world.”
The U.S. District Court, in Crockett v. Sorenson, (W.D. Va. 1983), stated:
“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS have had immeasurable effect on Anglo-American legal development …
A basic background in the Bible is essential to fully appreciate and understand both Western culture and current events.”
Senator Robert Byrd addressed Congress, June 27, 1962:
“Above the head of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, with the great American eagle protecting them.
… Moses is included among the great lawgivers in Herman A MacNeil’s marble sculpture group on the east front.”
In dissenting the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an Elkhart, Indiana, ‘Ten Commandment’ case, 2001, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote:
“The text of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS no doubt has played a role in the secular development of our society and can no doubt be presented by the government as playing such a role in our civic order …
A carving of Moses holding THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, surrounded by representations of other historical legal figures, adorns the frieze on the south wall of our courtroom, and we have said that the carving signals respect not for great proselytizers but for great lawgivers.”
On August 11, 1992, U.S. Rep. Nick Joe Rahall introduced a bill to declare November 22-28, “America’s Christian Heritage Week,” stating:
“While … emerging democracies … turn from the long held atheism of communism to true religious freedoms, we find ourselves, with heavy hearts, watching our own Government succumb to pressures to distant itself from God and religion.
Our own Government … has … evolve into bans against the simple freedom as … representation of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS on government buildings …
Such a standard of religious exclusion is absolutely and unequivocally counter to the intention of those who designed our Government.”
Dr. Billy Graham stated in accepting with the Congressional Gold Medal, May 2, 1996.
“We have lost sight of the moral and spiritual principles on which this nation was established — principles drawn largely from the Judeo-Christian tradition as found in the Bible …
There is hope! Our lives can be changed … The Scripture says, ‘You must be born again’ …
Think how different our nation would be if we sought to follow the simple and yet profound injunctions of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and the Sermon on the Mount.”
On February 5, 1997, Governor Fob James threatened to call out the National Guard to prevent the removal of the Ten Commandments display from a courtroom in Gadsden, Alabama:
“The only way those TEN COMMANDMENTS and prayer would be stripped from that courtroom is with the force of arms.”
In 1973, as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan stated:
“With freedom goes responsibility. Sir Winston Churchill once said you can have 10,000 regulations and still not have respect for the law.
We might start with THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. If we lived by the Golden Rule, there would be no need for other laws.”
President Harry S Truman addressed the Attorney General’s Conference, February 1950:
“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount … I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days…
If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except for the State.”
As President, Ronald Reagan stated at a National Rifle Association banquet in Phoenix, May 6, 1983:
“If we could just keep remembering that Moses brought down from the mountain THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, not ten suggestions — and if those of us who live for the Lord could remember that He wants us to love our Lord and our neighbor, then there’s no limit to the problems we could solve.”
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.