“You shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
That’s one of the Ten Commandments. No graven images. No images of anything in the air, on the ground or in the water. It is, according to conservative Christians, a sacred command from God, a divine law of the universe for moral behavior, not just a mild suggestion.
Earlier today, I wrote about a congressional resolution that would an official federal government endorsement of Ten Commandments Weekend. The supporters of the resolution want the federal government to promote Ten Commandments Weekend, they say, because the Ten Commandments, including the ban on artwork, are fundamental to the preservation of the United States as a just society.
The resolution presumes, though, that the Ten Commandments Weekend actually is an effective tool for promoting the Ten Commandments. A look at the design of the Ten Commandments Weekend shows that it ain’t necessarily so.
The most important thing to understand about Ten Commandments Weekend is that it is not a grassroots movement, and it is not a widely observed religious tradition. The Ten Commandments Weekend is a creation of one televangelist organization, the Three Angels Broadcasting Network. The Three Angels Broadcasting Network uses the Ten Commandments Weekend to promote itself, and to gather money, selling videos of the Ten Commandments Weekend events on a Three Angels Broadcasting Network EBay store.
Yes, they make and sell videos of the Ten Commandments Weekend event. Those videos show images – likenesses of things that are found on the earth.
The images aren’t confined to the Ten Commandments Weekend videos, of course. They’re on the Ten Commandments web site, as well, and on the eBay web site, and in a printed catalog that the Three Angels Broadcasting Network sends out in the mail.
The Three Angels Broadcasting Network has other print publications as well, including World Magazine (not to be confused with National Geographic’s World Magazine). World Magazine is chock full of likenesses of things in the air, in the water and on the earth.
Oh, but it gets worse. The Three Angels Broadcasting Network is encouraging children to violate the Ten Commandments. They’re selling a coloring book entitled Is It Odd Or Is It God? This book exposes Christian children to pages and pages of immoral likenesses of things, and then invites children to practice making such likenesses themselves by coloring in the lines of the likenesses made for them. It’s a kind of childhood worship of images graven on the paper, if you think about it.
The Ten Commandments forbid Christians from making likenesses of things. Yet, the Ten Commandments Weekend is making likenesses of things. What’s the point of Congress passing a resolution to endorse the Ten Commandments Weekend if the Ten Commandments Weekend itself doesn’t respect the Ten Commandments?
It appears to me that the congressional resolution endorsing the Ten Commandments Weekend is more about encouraging followers of the Three Angels Broadcasting Network televangelist association to become devotees of Republican politicians as well.