ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL………..Come and discuss relevant topics that are addressed by Scripture. We call it Wired Word! The discussion will begin at 8:30 am in the sanctuary on Sunday. To best prepare for discussion, read the article below.
Man Breaks All Ten Commandments at Once, Using His Car
The Wired Word for the Week of July 9, 2017
In the News
In the early morning hours of June 28, Michael Tate Reed, 32, rammed his car into a monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Arkansas state capitol, smashing it to pieces, all the while filming his action with his cell phone and streaming it live on Facebook. He can be heard exclaiming “Freedom” as he accelerates into the three-ton granite statue, which had been installed less than 24 hours previously.
Reed was arrested at the scene by state capitol police and charged with criminal trespass, first-degree criminal mischief and defacing objects of public interest.
Reed has a history of mental issues dating back at least to the Oklahoma monument attack, when he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and required to continue treatment. Following that incident, his mother Crystal Tucker described her son’s mind as “broken.”
In a Facebook post prior to the current incident, Reed appears to allude to the Oklahoma episode, saying, “I’m a firm believer that for our salvation we not only have faith in Jesus Christ, but we also obey the commands of God and that we confess Jesus as Lord. But one thing I do not support is the violation of our constitutional right to have the freedom that’s guaranteed to us, that guarantees us the separation of church and state, because no one religion should the government represent.”
Reed continued, “So … back at it again… so if you’re in support of this, you can talk about it using the hashtag checkmate, and also I’m using my own car that I paid for.” He indicated he was going to start a GoFundMe campaign to repair or replace his car, which, in fact, was damaged in the Arkansas monument ramming.
In the past, Reed has also posted threats against various U.S. presidents, including President Trump, President Obama and both Presidents Bush.
After the attack on the Arkansas monument, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee tweeted about it, saying “Some idiot in my home state broke all 10 commandments at the same time. He wasn’t Moses and it wasn’t Mt. Sinai.”
Money has already been raised to replace the monument, but there’s likely to be one or more lawsuits brought about its placement on public property. Such suits have been promised by the ACLU, The Satanic Temple, and the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers. At the moment, however, all lawsuits are on hold, since, with the monument down, there’s nothing to sue over.
In the Oklahoma case, the monument was replaced, but that state’s Supreme Court ultimately ruled that it had to be removed from public grounds. It was moved to the private property of Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where it is on display.
More on this story can be found at these links:
Applying the News Story
This is not the first time a representation of the Ten Commandments has been vandalized. While Reed has been involved in the two incidents described in the news story, there have been other cases, with other attackers. Here, for example, is a previous attack on a monument, from 2013, and probably not involving Reed: 10 Commandments Monument Toppled by Vandals in Washington. Fox News
But how should we view such episodes? It’s easy to dismiss Reed’s actions because of his mental history — and perhaps we do it too lightly — but there are no grounds to attribute all such attacks to someone’s mental derangement. In the wake of the Arkansas incident, we read one commentator who interpreted Reed’s action as emblematic of a widespread attitude in the United States that we as a citizenry don’t want to be bound by God’s laws or any moral principles. We think that commentator overstated that claim, however, and we also questioned his motivation in that he was using the column to promote his book about a “sick” America.
On the other hand, some have seen the attacks on Ten Commandments displays as a kind Christian persecution, which we also see as overstating the case. See here for one example of this view. Talk to Christians attacked by ISIS for some real examples of persecution of Christians.
Still others view the matter simply as an issue of church-state separation. That apparently was part of Reed’s motivation, even if his thinking was unclear. For an example of that viewpoint from someone else, seehere.
For one more perspective, consider this, from TWW editorial team member Frank Ramirez. He said, “Although this story no doubt inspires outrage, I can’t help but think how insignificant it is. It’s certainly annoying, but the number of people who might commit such an act must be vanishingly small, because it doesn’t happen very often. Was anyone hurt? Was anyone killed? The real damage done is when our outrage gives this event more attention than it deserves.”
Ramirez continued, “More to the point: The most effective response would be living the Ten Commandments. In no way can the significance of God’s love for us by giving us such commandments be altered by an act like this. The commandments themselves are not eradicated — living the Ten Commandments is the appropriate response, or better yet, the two commandments that Jesus distilled them to: Love God and love neighbor.”
For purposes of this lesson, however, it seems sufficient simply to think of what it means to break God’s commandments personally, and that is our topic today.
The Big Questions
- In what ways have the Ten Commandments helped shape who you are today? Some of the Ten Commandments are couched as negatives — “Thou shalt not ….” In what way are they positives? What situations in your life do the Ten Commandments not address?
- Thinking of your own efforts to follow Jesus, are there any commandments you wish God had not included in the “Big Ten”? Why? Are there any rules not in the Ten Commandments that you wish were there? Why?
- What does “Christian freedom” mean? What does it mean for you to be “not under law but under grace”? How should you regard the Ten Commandments in relation to your freedom in Christ? in relation to the two summary commands Christ gave — to love God and love your neighbor?
- What if anything has happened when you knowingly broke one of the commandments? What lesson, if any, did you learn? When has knowingly keeping one of the commandments helped you?
- Is it necessary for Christians to “protect” the Ten Commandments and the Bible in which they are contained? Why or why not?
- As a nation, the United State has no official or de facto religion claimed. Does one have to be Jewish (Old Testament believer) or Christian (Old and New Testament believer) to use the Ten Commandments as a value system in our country? Why or why not? How would a non-believer view the Ten Commandments as a position on values rather than on faith? Is it possible to live a Christian life without being Christian?
Confronting the News With Scripture and Hope