A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney.
In Montgomery, Ala., recently, a judge refused to remove a 5,000-pound stone bearing the Ten Commandments from his courthouse.
Finally, after a higher court order, the stone was removed - and so was the judge.
Three years ago, there was a similar incident outside a high school in Adams County, Ohio. The issue then was a plaque with the Ten Commandments on it.
Like the stone in the Alabama courthouse, the plaque was finally removed over the objection of a lot of people who are both Christian and patriotic.
Religion and patriotism have a lot of the same characteristics. My objection three years ago was not so much to the plaque as it was to the wording of the Ten Commandments, themselves.
The First Commandment says "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me."
That never sounded like anything God would say. It sounds as if he was admitting there were other Gods but he wanted to be first among them. God wouldn't say that.
"Thou shalt not worship any graven image." The word "graven" doesn't mean much to us these days."
"Thou shalt not take God's name in vain." Good. I don't like to hear kids acting like jerks by swearing.
The fourth commandment is "Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy." Now, I disagree and I'd take it out. I see nothing wrong with going right from church to the mall on Sunday.
"Honor thy father and thy mother." Fine. Maybe "respect" would be a better word, than honor.
Six: "Thou shalt not kill." Of course, not.
Seven: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Easier said than done.
Eight: "Thou shalt not steal." Sure.
Nine: "Thou shalt not bear false witness." I don't think most people would know what false witness meant.
Ten: In the Bible, that reads: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thy neighbor's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his ass or anything that is thy neighbor's." I find it strange that the Ten Commandments assumes these people all had maidservants and manservants as if they were slaves.
If they ever carve the Commandments into stone again, they could save money by reducing them to just seven commandments. And I have some suggestions:
One: DON'T PRAY TO A STATUE
Two: DON'T SWEAR
Three: RESPECT YOUR PARENTS
Four: DON'T SHOOT ANYONE
Five: DON'T FOOL AROUND
Six: DON'T STEAL
Seven: DON'T LIE
With three million Muslims now. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America. It's going to be interesting to see what happens when we have a Muslim judge who wants to put a plaque in his courthouse with quotations from the Koran on it.
Written By Andy Rooney
Copyright 2003 CBS. All rights reserved.