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Out Our Way: Goliath's Covenant Trail

Exodus 20:15 - Goliath and the ACLU


August 11, 2017

Out our way, folks tend to have a good sense of right and wrong. Come February when it's 40 below, folks will hop into the store and leave their cars unlocked, keys in the ignition, and motor running so the car stays warm when they come back out. Someone might try to steal that vehicle, but it doesn't happen very often. Most of us were raised better than that.

Sadly, there are some folks who seem bent on undoing those lessons, common sense, and basic morals. One of the classics is, of course, the ACLU's on-going warfare with religion and especially the 10 Commandments. Millions are spent yearly in lawsuits against communities, counties and even states that allow the 10 Commandments to be seen on the courthouse lawn. Apparently it is offensive to some people to discover God expects us to love Him and one another.  

I recall years ago when Burt Lancaster starred in a TV series about Moses he bragged to the newspapers that he had broken nearly every one of those commandments. I didn't know being a self-centered pagan who was a liar, cheat, thief, murderer, and unfaithful spouse was really something to be proud of. But it seems the ACLU agrees with him as they oppose the commandments being even seen in public, much less observed. In this, Goliath is something of a card-carrying member of the ACLU, as he also has no use for the commandments, and especially the Eighth: "Thou shall not steal." 

A few winters back when we really had our share of Alberta Clippers, I bought Goliath and Babe several large bags of extra feed. I also bought them each their own large grain bucket and filled them both in the barn before taking them out to the pasture. Now, there was plenty for both and I set the buckets some distant apart from each other, assuming they would each mind their own business. Nope.

My buddy Goliath decided he wanted Babe's grain as well as his own and when she started feeding from her own bucket, he raced over with teeth bared and a loud whinny to run her off. Then he began eating her grain. When she began to move over to the other bucket, he reared up his head, whinnied, and attacked her again. He kept this up until she got the message that he was claiming it all.

Eventually, I had to get his halter and lead him away from her bucket, tie him by his own and then move the bucket a bit further and sort of lead Babe over. Like the ACLU, Goliath has no use for the commandments - but then, he is, after all, only a horse. Survival of the fittest and biggest is the law of the jungle. But it is not the law of human beings.

As we have seen, the 10 Commandments are sort of like the "owner's manual" - the manufacturer's instructions on how to care for your purchase and get the most use from it. Yield signs and stop signs and speed signs are not set up so the police can write tickets, but to keep us and others on the road safe. The Commandments, like speed limits and reminders to check your oil are for our benefit. The so-called " wrath of God " is usually the natural consequences of doing something stupid.

While the ACLU and Goliath may find the commandments offensive, it seems very few people of any race, nationality or religious background, including atheists, agree with them. For what community thinks murder, false testimony, stealing or adultery is a good thing? Morality is a human trait and seems to be pretty universal. Though we may call God by different names it is amazing how much we all agree on the basics of our faith. To love God and love neighbor seems pretty universal. For has history has proven over and over again, the culture that turns it back on God soon turns it back on neighbor and soon ceases to exist.

Remove the 10 Commandments from public and replace it with what? The laws based on the 10 Commandments, which make up our civil code? As they ultimately come from the same source they must be as offensive as the originals. So that leaves us with anarchy as the obvious alternative. Then no one is safe, no culture survives and no community is possible. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Castro have tried replacing God with the state, most recently.

Goliath doesn't know about God so far as I know, and the Commandments are meaningless to him. But he is healthy, cared for and happy because I do know about God and the Commandments - and treat him accordingly. Folks call that being humane. What would they call it if I also rejected the commandments and treated Goliath and neighbor accordingly?  Somehow I think they would not approve and say something was wrong, even if the ACLU gets its way and bans the 10 Commandments and God - or at least the Jewish/Christian God - from the public arena. Interesting theology to come from Goliath. No wonder most of it is called "horse sense."


Goliath and John Bruington call Havre home but hope to share old Doc's wisdom with folks all along the Hi-Line and beyond. Check us out on the web at http://havrepres.org and feel free to share with others. Much obliged.


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