Like the bible itself, the Ten Commandments are used and abused for a wide range of agendas. They function as a Rorschach test, separating conservative Christians (who want to use them as a banner of so-called traditionalism) from liberal religious people and atheists (who wryly demote them to the “Ten Suggestions”). But is anyone paying attention to what they actually say?

Back in May 2006, Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican Congressman who had been trying to get the Ten Commandments installed in courthouses nationwide told Stephen Colbert, “The Ten Commandments is not a bad thing for people to understand and to respect. What better place could you have something like that than in a judicial building?”

Colbert replied, “That’s an excellent question. Can you think of any better building to put the Ten Commandments in than in a public building?”

Westmoreland said, “No.”...

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