A few weeks ago while driving to work I heard a brief news report on a town in Oklahoma which had decided to remove the 10 Commandments from public buildings in order to avoid being sued by the group Freedom from Religion. Most of the inhabitants of the town were not happy with that decision. I don't know what the unhappy residents planned to do about the situation but the news report got me to thinking.
Every since the Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools in 1962 there's been a battle in America over just where and how religion can be expressed in public. In recent decades there's been especial emphasis on keeping the 10 Commandments displayed in public schools and in public buildings such as court houses. I greatly sympathize with these efforts but I've begun to believe that they are misguided.
God's Law, indeed, the whole of His Word, are not symbols to be shown off to make a statement. They are the Lord's revelation of His nature, holiness, and holy standards to mankind. They are to teach mankind God's way of salvation and way of life. They are not only to be treated with the utmost respect, they are to be believed and lived.
Fighting to keep the 10 Commandments on display in public buildings is a noble cause but also futile if, in the process, God's Law ends up being nothing but a piece of paper on a wall. The 10 Commandments and the rest of God's Word are meant to inform how we follow God and live our lives every minute of every day.
Where do the 10 Commandments belong? Not in public schools or other public places (although there's nothing wrong with them being there). They don't even belong in church. The 10 Commandments belong in our hearts. If they're not there then they are useless, meaningless words no matter how many schools, court houses, or churches display them on their walls. Those fighting to keep God's Law on public display should consider that. Perhaps if they did they could find ways to really make the 10 Commandments the "light unto [our] path" that God intends them to be.