Co-sponsor of ten commandments bills can’t even name four of them

June 15, 2006 | By | 3 Replies More

This afternoon I started feeling a bit guilty.  You see, since this blog was founded a few months ago, I’ve been posting that many people who claim that the Bible is the most important book in the world don’t actually read it and they know very little about what’s in the Bible.  I made these claims based on repeated personal experience.

Then this comes along.  As demonstrated during an interview with Stephen Colbert, Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a man who twice in 2005 attempted to require the display of the Ten Commandments on public property, does not know the ten commandments.  He doesn’t even know four of them.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District – Georgia’s 8th – Lynn Westmoreland
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

To see the vigor with which Westmoreland wants to force something with which he is not even familiar on the public, go the Library of Congress site and enter the word “commandments.”  You’ll see the following activity in which Westmoreland was involved:

  • On April 14, 2005, Westmoreland submitted a Resolution directing the Speaker of the House of Representatives to provide for the display of the Ten Commandments in the chamber of the House of Representatives
  • On June 30, 2005, Westmoreland co-sponsored a proposal to amend the United States Constitution to provide that would allow the display of the Ten Commandments on public property, including in public schools.

Based on my own experience, I believe that this level of Bible ignorance is par for the course among those who most fervently want to impose their religious views on others.  It’s not often, though, that such abject ignorance is captured in such a dramatic way.

I’ve written before of the importance of springing “pop quizzes” on public figures.  Only good things will result.  When public figures are cross-examined to see whether they are competent to speak on a topic, the public will know who should be respected and who is just a big bag of hot air.


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Category: Politics, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. Tom G says:


    You know all those $50 (or was it $100?) baseball tickets you talked about in an early blog about fungibility? They are the reason baseball players make tens of millions. How much do you think a consistent .300 hitter could make? Ten, twenty million a year?

    Now read this, from the link to the Colbert video on this post:

    Colbert: What are the Ten Commandments?

    Westmoreland: You mean all of them?–Um… Don't murder. Don't lie. Don't steal Um… I can't name them all. emailer Ruth asks: Does this guy deserve a $3,300 pay raise?

    Westmoreland got 3 out of 10. As I say, batting .300 is damn good.

    So give the guy a break.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    To Tom's comment, exactly what is analogous (i.e., in terms of difficulty) between remembering more than three of the Ten Commandments versus achieving a batting average better than .300 in Major League Baseball? Even children and the mentally retarded could be taught to memorize the Ten Commandments. Can that be said of batting in MLB?

    Westmoreland isn't just a baffoon. He's a poster boy for incompetent beaucrats, imbecilic voters and really, really bad government. He is pandering to the Religious Right at the expense of the U.S. Constitution. A Constitution that he swore to protect, and doesn't. His behavior is toxic to everything America has ever stood for. He doesn't deserve "a break."

  3. Sujay says:

    I think "pop quizzes" as you mentioned are a very good idea. Recently after a local group in our city made a lot of noise about our national anthem not being given enough 'respect', and succesfully pushed for a law, which has made it mandatory for movie theatres play the national anthem before the screening of any movie. Yet, I bet not a SINGLE person in the group that demanded this law, would know the meaning of more than 70% of the words in our national anthem, or when and where it was it was first written.

    These 'cultural conservationists' as I like to call them, are often less knowledgeable of the very culture they try to force upon others, than some others who are more tolerant of other cultures. You see, to the former, the culture itself matters less than some symbols of the culture which they feel represent their identity. It's all about identity politics in the end. This, to me represents a disturbing phenomenon. That these cultural conservationists feel pre-disposed to an identity, by mere virtue of their birth, is disturbing enough. But their need to FORCE this cultural identity upon others, who they feel ought not to have a choice in their own cultural identity, is what is most disturbing.

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