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Christian Theocrats Use Their Megaphone to Push 'Ten Commandments Commission'

For the past two years, Congress has designated the first weekend in May as "Ten Commandments Weekend." Wonder why?
 
 
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Did you know that for the past two years, Congress has designated the first weekend in May as "Ten Commandments Weekend (TCW)?" Most of us pay little attention to congressional resolutions. All sorts of resolutions are proposed; some pass, others are tabled, and still others are withdrawn.

These days, two resolutions relating to the Ten Commandments are being considered by Congress; one will again designate the first weekend in May as "Ten Commandments Weekend," while the other aims to celebrate the Ten Commandments Commission (TCC), an organization led by a former veteran of the Israeli Armed Forces, and made up of a host longtime conservative evangelical Christian leaders.

For months, Chris Rodda, a Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF -- website), has been following developments surrounding the two Ten Commandments resolutions -- Senate Resolution 483 and House Resolution 598.

The Senate Resolution, introduced by Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback -- with Connecticut Independent Joseph Lieberman as its co-sponsor -- aims to once again recognize the first weekend in May as "Ten Commandments Weekend."

According to Rodda, the author of "Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History -- Volume I," Brownback's resolution comes packed with 10 Whereas' starting of with: "Whereas the Ten Commandments are precepts foundational to the faith of millions of Americans," "Whereas the Ten Commandments are a declaration of fundamental principles for a fair and just society," and "Whereas, from the founding of the United States, the Ten Commandments have been part of America's basic cultural fabric," followed by quotes from Presidents George Washington, John Quincy Adams, and Harry Truman.

The resolution states that the Senate:
  • (1) recognizes the first weekend of May 2008 as 'Ten Commandments Weekend';

  • (2) celebrates the Ten Commandments as a significant aspect of the national life of the United States; and

  • (3) encourages citizens of the United States to reflect on the integral role that the Ten Commandments have played in the life of the Nation.

In a post at Talk2Action, Rodda, pointed out that H. Res. 598, titled "Supporting the goals of the Ten Commandments Commission and congratulating such Commission and its supporters for their key role in promoting and ensuring recognition of the Ten Commandments as the cornerstone of Western law," was introduced in the House by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) last August, and has been referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Rodda noted that both S. Res. 483 and H. Res. 598 "seek to promote" the third annual Ten Commandments Weekend (website), "an event instituted by the Boca Raton, Florida-based Ten Commandments Commission (TCC) -- "Watchmen United On The Wall" -- an organization formed in 2005 in response to court rulings against the display of the ten commandments on government property."

"We did not establish the organization for any reason other than to praise the Word of God and share His message," Ron Wexler, an Orthodox Jew and co-founder, along with Dr. Myles Monroe of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, of the Ten Commandments Commission has stated. "We appreciate the recognition from the various Congressmen and look forward to working with them towards educating citizens regarding the importance of the Ten Commandments to the future well-being of the United States."

Ron Wexler and the Ten Commandments Commission


Wexler's Ten Commandments Commission claims that its "main purpose … was to create a global think tank with the world's leaders who have already recognized the power behind the TCC." Its intended "objective is to have 5 million strong members/supporters and bring the Ten Commandments -- Watchman United on the Wall message to every church and ministry in the nation."

According to the bio posted at the TCC website, Wexler was "born and educated in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Force during the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. He is also the principal owner of Heritage Study Programs, Inc., "an educational organization."

Wexler is president of the Millennium Council, "a cross-cultural, interdenominational strategic coalition of influential Christian leaders," that he helped bring together. He is "also the Founder and President of the future Garden of Beatitudes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee … [which] will be a cross-cultural, spiritual center and a learning facility … [featuring] a devotional garden, a theater, classrooms and dormitories, a state of the art conference center, and a hotel."

Ten Commandments Commission Members and Supporters include Dr. Myles Munroe; Pastor John Hagee, Cornerstone Church; Dr. Paul Crouch, Trinity Broadcasting Network; Bishop T.D. Jakes, Potter's House of Dallas; Jerome Edmondson , Senior Partner - Edmondson Associates; Benny Hinn, Founder of Benny Hinn Ministries; Richard Roberts, [former] President - Oral Roberts University; Floyd Flake, Pastor and former Congressman; Pastor George Morrison - Chairman, Promise Keepers; Congressman Bill Dannemeyer; Mathew Straver, president -- Liberty Council; and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, President - Toward Tradition.

The group's Media Committee includes Dr. Frank Wright - President National Religious Broadcasters; Dr. Ron Hembree, President - Cornerstone TV; Dr. Richard Roberts -- [former] President ORU; Larry Bates, President Information Radio Network; and Ruth Schofield, President -- The Washington Report.

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Mathew Staver, President, the Liberty Counsel, and Steve Beik, Chief Counsel GOD TV are listed as members of the Board of legal advisors. The Support board includes Mrs. Roberta Combs, Christian Coalition, Washington, DC; Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family; [the late] Rev. Jerry Falwell, Liberty Alliance; [the late] Dr. D. James Kennedy; Mr. William Murray, Religious Freedom Coalition; Rev. Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcasting Network; Dr. Rick Scarborough, Vision America; Dr. Fredrick Price; Judge Roy Moore; Pastor Rod Parsley, Center of Moral Clarity; and Pastor Tommy Barnett, The Dream Center.

The "News Headlines" section of TCC's website reflects its member, featuring stories such as "Atheists & Liberals Attack Ten Commandments Resolution," "Michael Newdow Attacks Pledge of Allegiance," and "ACLU attacks Florida Governor Charlie Crist."

In addition to buying and wearing a special Ten Commandments pin (only $15 or $7.50 for bulk orders of 50 or more), the TCC is encouraging members to:

1. SIGN OUR PETITION TO SUPPORT ISRAEL

By signing on the web people take a stand with Israel to support their fight against terrorism. It is also a petition to the US Administration not to abandon Israel but to stand up with her plight for freedom.

2. BECOME A MEMBER (SUPPORTER) OF THE TCC

To become a member of the TCC, we ask people to register on the web. By taking this step, you will be taking a bold stand for righteousness and your answer to our call is most significant.

3. DISPLAY THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Ten Commandments Weekends were celebrated in May 2006 and May 2007.

Putting 'a stop to radical Islam and to bring back the word of God, the foundation to the wall of Jerusalem,' says Wexler.


In a video message posted at GodTube, Wexler said that TCC is "a grassroots movement to make a stop to radical Islam and to bring back the word of God, the foundation to the wall of Jerusalem."

He said that he wants to enlist 5 million people in his cause because they can then "change that trend that is going to destroy America."

In September 2007, Wexler, along with a number of Religious Right leaders, signed onto a statement put out by a group called the Forgotten American Coalition that called for staying the course in Iraq and warning of dire consequence should the U.S. withdraw:

As leaders of the conservative movement and concerned citizens, the undersigned wish to make our fellow Americans aware of the tragic consequences of a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq…

The Iraq War must be seen in the broader context of Islamo-fascism's war on America and Western Civilization. It is one front in a global conflict fought from Europe and the Middle East to Africa, the Balkans, the Indian Subcontinent and, finally, to the streets of our cities. …

9/11 was in part precipitated by the perception of American weakness and lack of determination. An Iraq withdrawal before our mission is accomplished will convince the terrorists and their state-sponsors that we indeed are the proverbial paper tiger.

Rob Boston pointed out in a piece posted last August at the website of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (Americans United) that "After the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005, one fundamentalist writer quoted [Wexler as] saying 'It was revealed to me that in numerology, the numerical value of the Hebrew letters that make up the name Rita + God is equal 620. The number of all the Hebrew letters that make up the Ten Commandments is .... 620! Is there a connection? ... Could this now be the spirit of God above the water? Rita + God equal 620 equal the Ten Commandments? Could this be the wake up call for the nation? Now when the Ten Commandments are thrown out of schools and out of courts, could there be a connection? Just think for a moment that there is a correlation.'"

Boston, the Assistant Director of Communications of Americans United, also noted that Wexler has claimed to have located "an inscription of the Ten Commandments in ancient Hebrew has been dated at more than five hundred years old" at a remote mountain in New Mexico.

One website reported that "This mysterious, ancient inscription of God's foundational law for all mankind, found in the American wilderness, causes thoughtful people to wonder if God indeed had His mighty hand on the United States of America hundreds of years before it was even founded, said Wexler."

"In short," Boston concluded, "the Ten Commandments Commission is yet another collection of theocrats who are short on common sense and sound arguments but long on heated rhetoric. They also seem rather gullible if they taking seriously the claims of Wexler, a man whose ideas seem to come straight from a supermarket tabloid."

Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering right-wing groups and movements.
 
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