Oh man, an attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation hilariously confronts Oklahoma Attorney General explaining why he is so horribly, embarrassingly wrong about "the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law."
That assertion is indefensible. There is not a single legal principle that is either unique or original to the Ten Commandments that significantly influenced American law.
First, let’s identify which set of Ten Commandments that were allegedly part of our foundation. Is it the set in Exodus 20 or Exodus 34? Or perhaps it’s the sets in Deuteronomy 5 or Deuteronomy 27? For the sake of argument, I’ll assume it’s the set on the Oklahoma capitol lawn.
This is a big assumption because, as anyone who’s familiar with the bible will realize, the wording on the capitol monument is heavily edited. The monument’s precepts appear to come from Exodus 20, but apparently the original version was too barbaric (or perhaps the monument authors simply know better than god.) Either way, the monument strays heavily from the original.
For instance, the monument leaves out some integral language from the second commandment — the prohibition on graven images. The original includes, “for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation…” Please tell me, Mr. Pruitt, is punishing innocent children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for the crimes of their parents what you meant by “foundation of Western law?”