"Because you see, Mr. Speaker, Moses is given for the full honor of the greatest lawgiver in this chamber, because he was chosen by the God that we trust to be entrusted with the basis of all law. The 'basis of all law' as was written by Blackstone, the famous English jurist, was the Ten Commandments, that were given by none other than the God we trust on Mount Sinai," the congresswoman said. "We know those laws, those laws are the fundamental laws of mankind, and here in the United States, the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses is the very foundation of the law that has given happiness and the rise of the greatest prosperity that any nation has known before." "Mr. Speaker, it could be no coincidence that this nation, knowing and enjoying the heights of such great happiness and such great prosperity, that it could be built upon that foundation of the Ten Commandments and of the law given by the God in whom we trust."
Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) congressional career is nearing its end, and yesterday, the right-wing Minnesotan delivered her final floor speech as a member of Congress. She used the opportunity to argue that the Ten Commandments led to U.S. prosperity. Or something.
And while Bachmann delivered these remarks with great enthusiasm, and I hate to ruin her fun as she heads out the door, the fact remains that the Ten Commandments are not the "foundation" of American law.
I could note, for example, that there are no references to Commandments in the U.S. Constitution -- which actually is the foundation of American law -- or any of the founding American documents. I could also note that if Madison, Jefferson, or any other Founding Father saw the Commandments as the inspiration for the American legal system, they could have said so, but they didn't.
But we can skip those points and make this even more obvious: most of the Ten Commandments aren't illegal in the United States. We have no laws mandating Sabbaths; there are no laws against graven images or false gods; there are no legal prohibitions against coveting; and there are no legal requirements about honoring our parents.
If the Commandments are supposed to be the foundation for our laws, it would appear our lawmakers lost their copy of the Commandments when creating our legal system.
And in case anyone's skeptical about whether Bachmann actually said all of this, here's the video, by way of Raw Story: