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Coalition In Congress Praises Ban On Artwork

A coalition of 27 Republican members of the lower house of the U.S. Congress have signed a resolution, H. Res. 211, which would give official congressional endorsement of an archaic religious law that is strikingly similar to the Taliban’s law banning almost all forms of artwork. The religious edict celebrated by the resolution outlaws any art that contains any representation of anything that can be found in the sky, in the water or on the ground.

ten commandments bans artworkThe anti-art coalition in Congress claims that this old religious code is a part of the foundation of American law, and should be celebrated with an entire weekend of observations across the United States. What form would these observations take? Presumably, they would focus on a weekend without art. American painters would put down their brushes. Sculptors would stop chiseling. Cameras would be locked away.

No art for two days… and what would be the benefit of that?

The legislation, authored by Texas Republican Louis Gohmert, asserts that a ban on artwork is a “fundamental” part of “a fair and just society”. That’s not consistent, however, with the Constitution. The Constitution, in the First Amendment, guarantees the right of free speech and the freedom of the press, both confirming the liberty of artists to create works that represent whatever they wish, in accordance with their personal vision. Nowhere in the Constitution is there any authorization of censorship of art. Furthermore, the Constitution requires the government to abstain from enforcing religious laws such as the one praised in H. Res. 211.

The religious law supported by H. Res. 211? It’s the Ten Commandments. Many people have gotten into the habit of fawning praise of the Ten Commandments, but take a look at what they actually say, and you may feel less inclined to celebrate them.

15 comments to Coalition In Congress Praises Ban On Artwork

  • Jacob

    the 10 commandments do not mention Art. You have read them right? We have covetness, murder, adultry, theft, lying in legal proceedings, nohoring father and mother, faith in God (sabbath), not using Gods name as a cuss word, not worshipping created images, and loving God with everything you have all covered in the 10 commandments. I dont see a blanket ban on Artwork in there. You shouldnt create Art to worship, but thats a far stretch from what you are saying and deals more with the intent than with the action of creating.

    1 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
    2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
    3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
    4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
    5 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
    6 “You shall not murder.
    7 “You shall not commit adultery.
    8 “You shall not steal.
    9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

    • Jacob, you wrote it right there. The commandment says you shall not make any graven image OR make any likeness of anything in the sky, on earth or in the water. It doesn’t limit that ban to worship. Its says that no such images shall be MADE. That’s artwork, Jacob. Plain and simple.

      • Jacob

        “you shall not bow down to them nor serve them”

        • Jacob, this is a very clear issue in the language. There are three demands that are said in that particular “Commandment”:

          1. Don’t make graven images.
          2. Don’t make any images of anything in the air, in the water or on earth.
          3. Don’t worship any images of these sorts.

          These are separate statements, even as you’ve quoted them: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.”

          Think of the language in terms of another example. If I say, “Don’t make any coffee, or any hot drinks made with any flavors that can be found in the air, in the water, or coming from the ground; you shall not take them out on the back porch nor serve them to penguins.”

          What’s the message of this statement? That it’s fine to make hot drinks, just so long as you don’t take them out on the back porch or serve them to penguins? No. The statement says, first and foremost, don’t make hot drinks. That includes not making coffee, and if you do make hot drinks, don’t take them out to the back porch or serve them to penguins, because that would be an additional bad thing. But… just… don’t… make… hot… drinks.

          The commandment is not to make anything that has any likeness to anything that can be found in the water, up in the sky or on earth.

          And how well do the people behind the Ten Commandments Weekend follow this religious law? Wait and see…

          • Jacob

            Context is important when reading. I have been preaching context for the three years I have regularly read and commented at this site. In Scripture context matters.

            The first commandment states simply “You shall have no other gods before Me.” and that is the contextual launching point as we move into the second commandment. “You shall not make for yourself an idol”. The Hebrew world “pesel” is literally translated as “idol” or “idolatrous image”. Deuteronomy 4:12-19 also provides direction and context to the meaning on the second commandment.

            Also, we are given direction from God in other passages to create works of art that would fall into these categories (see Exodus 26:31 and 26:35, Exodus 25:1 and Exodus 25:18). There are several more examples but they all prove that not only was artwork ok, it was in fact required. In 1 Kings 6:17-35 and 2 Chronicles 3:10-11 we that the temple was full of artwork. Even the Holy of Holies contained art. These were all OK because they were not to be worshipped.

            In Numbers 21:6-9 we see a piece of skilled art used to show faith in God. It is not worshipped but it was used to heal people that had been bitten by snakes. The statue was not worshipped but was used to show faith in the Lord. (This later turned into an idol and had to be destroyed because it was worshiped)

            This goes on and on through Scripture. Context does matter. You are ripping one sentence out of context and using it to justify a conclusion that is not accurate.

            • Wait a minute, Jacob. You’re saying that artwork can be used to heal snake bites, and you’re accusing me of not being accurate? Yes, the context of the attempt to squelch religious dissent certainly matters, and that’s yet another good reason for opposing the congressional resolution giving official federal government endorsement of the Three Angels Broadcasting Network’s Ten Commandments Weekend.

              • Jacob

                I am saying faith can cause the healing. Looking to the snake to be physically saved is a forshadowing of the cross and how ones faith in the Lord would cause true salvation

              • Sounds like an excuse a human would make to God in a garden of Eden type myth.

            • If we’re promoting contextual morality now, instead of a literal reading of the Bible, then how about we pay attention to the context that the Ten Commandments were designed for a tribe of nomadic pastoralists thousands of years ago, not for the United States of America in the present day? If context is important, how about we recognize that no ban on the private production and display of any artwork at all, whether religious or secular, is contained in the Constitution? The Ten Commandments resolution promoted by Louis Gohmert is profoundly lacking in an understanding of that historical context.

              • Not going to work, the true believer is able to jump between literalism and contextual interpretation as fast as necessary to maintain their delusions.

              • Jacob

                So says the person that believes that the universe popped into existance from nothing, just not a real nothing, it was actually a nothing that was something, but that something was nothing, it just didnt have a first cause. and then that nothing that turned into something eventually became a soup that life just happened to show up in. Yep, not delusional at all…

              • Not exactly, but it’s easier to believe the universe (in the form of an energy rich blob of expanding space) “popped into existence” as it were than to believe an even more complex god popped in and thought up the universe. Not that it popped in from nothing, it’s just that whatever it came from is as provably irrelevant and unknowable as possible. Once you have a universe it’s not so surprising for life to appear in a universe which can support that kind of life after it has cooled down for a few billion years by the expansion rate we can observe. Seriously,
                “as a response to a series of observations that the laws of nature and parameters of the Universe take on values that are consistent with conditions for life as we know it…the anthropic principle states that this phenomenon is a necessity because living observers wouldn’t be able to exist, and hence, observe the Universe, were these laws and constants not constituted in this way.”
                For more info
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

              • You’re just delaying the popping, Jacob. Where did your God pop in from? All existence from nothing? That’s what’s required for your so called “first cause”.

                Look, nobody, nobody, nobody knows what brought the universe into existence, or if it has always been in existence, even if that concept has any meaning. Scientists have some hypotheses in development, but ultimately the very very beginning is not testable, given the information we have. So, I’ll say I don’t know what the origin of the universe is, or if there was an origin, because I don’t know. I won’t pretend that I know somebody who made it because someone once said so, without evidence, in a book.

                At least scientists are developing hypotheses. You don’t even have a hypothesis for the origin of your God. It’s not in your religion.

              • Jacob

                There is also no ban on child porn in the constitution… That means little to what Scripture tells. And this is a literal take on Scripture. You are just suffering from reading comprehension issues on the subject.

              • There is no ban on child porn in the Bible. The Bible never mentions child porn. Ooooh.

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