… I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
~ Jeremiah 31:33
God, through the prophet Jeremiah, used those sublime words for the ages to teach the Jewish people the real meaning behind the Ten Commandments. Yes, the Jews understood that these were the rules God wanted to be obeyed as part of their sacred covenant with his chosen people, but on a more profound level God eventually wanted to transcend the Ten Commandments chiseled in stone for tablets of the Ten Commandments written in the hearts of the people.
Think about it. How far would humanity be if lawyers, politicians, businesses, government and society stopped coveting and self-regulated themselves? For example, would we need an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and countless numbers of “watchdog” organizations to stop thieves – from a Bernie Madoff who coveted $65 billion to your common thief who steals your laptop?
If Jesus were asked today to summarize the Ten Commandments into one, I’d like to think he would say, “Thou shalt not covet.” Why? Look at the headlines of your local, national, international and Internet news sources:
- “Owned by China: Beijing agrees to buy more U.S. debt”;
- “Obama to the rescue!” – as Wall Street lost 50 percent of its value just since August 2008;
- “Schenectady, N.Y., considers martial law over police woes”;
- “New York governor’s’ secret plot to tax the rich”;
- “Congress’ ‘hypocrisy’ on corporate trips ban angers hotel industry”;
- “Mexico offers $2 million bounty for top drug lords”;
- “Another trillion dollar stimulus plan”;
- “We’ll give it back: 9 out of top 10 AIG bonus recipients return money”
Society has devolved so far from not only the original intent of the Constitution’s framers and Natural Law, but from what the framers – from George Washington on down – considered paramount to maintaining our republic: Christianity, a religion that came out of Judaism. Washington once famously uttered that, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” Was America’s first and arguably greatest president some lowbrow Bible-thumper or some right-wing religious fanatic for saying such words? Did he and the framers actually believe that We, the People, could create a republic based on the Judeo-Christian traditions of intellectual thought? Indeed they did.
Not only did the framers believe in God, the Bible and Natural Law, they sincerely believed in infusing Judeo-Christian principles into all of our founding documents, including The Mayflower Compact (1620), The Declaration of Independence (1776), The Articles of Confederation (1781), The Constitution (1789) and the Bill of Rights (1791). Even the constitutions of all 50 states are permeated with biblical admonitions and overt modeling of moral laws and righteous government directly from the Scriptures.
Come, my friends, let us reason together. Do you think that in 1609, 1709, 1809 or 1909 we would be carrying a national debt of over $11 trillion, which we have presently in 2009? Economic experts estimate that the actual U.S. debt is much higher being between $53 trillion and $56 trillion. Could we not have turned that $11 trillion dollar national debt into a $11 trillion surplus if we had crafted policy about those four sublime words? – Thou shalt not covet.
Before we can change external stimuli like the economy, societal morality, Wall Street, the Supreme Court, Congress, the president, Social Security, Medicare, abortion, or any part of our leviathan government apparatus, we have got to change our heart. Since this is in the metaphysical domain, this “change” cannot occur by media propaganda, political sloganeering, positive thinking or some other artifice of man. This is a job for God. We have got to allow God to change our thinking, repent and return to following the Ten Commandments, beginning with the last commandment – Thou shalt not covet.
By obeying this profound aphorism, I believe that American society could comprehensively improve on an exponential level. JFK once said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” This means that through free-market capitalism the rich can become richer, the poor can become middle-class and if they work hard enough, eventually become rich themselves. The only barrier to what Jefferson called “the pursuit of happiness” would be the limits placed on our own selves. Obama’s socialist remedies are rooted in coveting the possessions or another and are therefore antithetical to the pursuit of happiness.
For example, I love to watch the forensic detective shows and learn how these talented people are able to capture the most surreptitious and devious criminals. The leitmotiv I see with virtually all of these criminal cases is that the crimes are rooted in covetousness:
- A man kills his wife because he wants to marry his lover, and the scoundrel is too cheap to pay child support – that’s coveting another woman who is not your wife;
- A woman opens up her home to take care of the elderly and systematically poisons them with arsenic so she can collect the insurance and secure a new warm body for her ghastly philanthropy – that’s coveting the money of another;
- A boy was told he was a golden child and would eventually become a doctor by his family and friends. Later he develops a diabolical resentment when his plans don’t materialize. He blames his parents and viciously kills them, his wife, children and his rich lover who enabled his charade before he is caught by the police – that is coveting a career and the praise of men.
The assorted cabal of lobbying firms, shyster lawyers, careerists, incompetents and political hacks in Washington, D.C., who are presently “murdering” America’s economy should seriously consider the last commandment, Thou shalt not covet.
If only Obama’s mantra, “change” meant repentance and he as our leader followed the Scripture found in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
But it is not to be because Obama is a political hack. He has but one design, absolute POWER. So far, his stealing of $7 trillion from America, together with his vice president, Joe Biden, saying, “It’s our patriotic duty to pay taxes,” raises coveting to an art form. Obama’s polices aren’t about change (repentance) but adhere to the anti-commandment, Thou shalt covet.
Obama can’t repent because he is self-righteous, a narcissist, the prince of covetousness and a purveyor of socialism, or what Churchill called, “the gospel of envy.” This Manchurian Candidate will continue the ruination of this country that he, his wife and his administration utterly hate until he has bankrupted it.
Only divine intervention can save us now, since Reaganism and reason have long been abandoned.
Ellis Washington, currently a professor of law and political science at Savannah State University, former editor at the Michigan Law Review and law clerk at The Rutherford Institute, is a graduate of John Marshall Law School and a lecturer and freelance writer on constitutional law, legal history, political philosophy and critical race theory. He has written over a dozen law review articles and several books, including “The Inseparability of Law and Morality: The Constitution, Natural Law and the Rule of Law” (2002). See his law review article “Reply to Judge Richard Posner.” Washington’s latest book is “The Nuremberg Trials: Last Tragedy of the Holocaust.”