The other day I was thinking about our law-making process and for some reason Moses popped into my head. I’m sure that the prophet had no idea how grateful he should have been that God knew what he wanted to convey to mankind and was able to do so quite succinctly. What would Moses have had to endure had the Creator crafted his commandments to the children of Israel in the same way as our modern legislators promulgate new laws?
There’s Moses, curious to find the source of the bright light on the top of Mount Sinai. He experiences his encounter with the Lord and obeys God’s order to bring his commandments to his people. So Moses takes the tablets, “written with the finger of God” and goes down the mountain to deliver them to the Israelites. And he goes back to retrieve more … and more … and more.
After the forty-third trip his brother Aaron says, “Is that it?”
Moses, wearied from all the trudging and schlepping he’s done, wipes his brow and says, “Well, actually, there are nine more.”
Perhaps the reason that those who pass voluminous laws that no one really understands, themselves included, can be attributed to the way we were taught to do things in High School. Maybe, like me, you had an English or history teacher who handed out an assignment which included the requirement that the essay we were to compose had to be at least two thousand words long. What made that number of words sacrosanct was never clear to me. How in the world did laconic President Calvin Coolidge ever earn a diploma?
But let’s get back to the Ten Commandments. Take Number Seven, as an example. That’s that hairy one that says, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Notice how simple, straightforward and brief it is. I had memorized this long before I knew what adultery actually was – but, of course, I asked – a little bit to the embarrassment of my Sunday School teacher.
Now those of us who believe that following that commandment is part of what I refer to as “normative” behavior, there is very little ambiguity – so it’s apparent that God knew precisely what he wanted people to do (or more exactly) to avoid doing. But what if this commandment had been constructed by Congress?
The commandment comes out of the “Congressional Morality Committee,” (wouldn’t it be remarkable if there were one – but then who would we be able to find who could with clear conscience become members?) and, like the original that the Divinity established, it’s a simple five word declarative sentence.
But then it moves forward in the process and has a hearing in the Economics Affairs Committee. They recognize that this proposal could have serious implications and adverse impact on various business operations – specifically, those hotel/motel owners whose rooms rent out on an hourly basis. And the members of that committee get lobbied by advocates for that industry. So they amend the original commandment so that it reads, “Thou shall not commit adultery before six o’clock a.m. local time.” (Since most of the commerce and congress at these hotels/motels occur in the afternoon, this effectively nullifies the original intent of the commandment).
But things don’t stop there. Business is down at the hairstylists and beauty salons in America. Because of the Obamacession, fewer customers have the money to spare to color their hair. So the members of that profession press their association’s lobbyists to get something included in the law which will improve their business. After considerable pressure, the law now reads, “Thou shall not commit adultery before six o’clock a.m. local time. However, those whose hair has been dyed by a professional stylist are exempted from any and all provisions of this law.”
It might be well if it had ended there. But, of course, it doesn’t. The street prostitutes, straight, gay and transgendered can see that this might impact their business negatively. An impassioned group of “sex workers” appear before Congress to make their case that this law is discriminatory – they being the recipients of that bias. Of course, the Congressional committee which hears their testimony is quite respectful of this contingency since some members know those testifying on a first name, professional basis.
And then further testimony is given by several American mullahs who believe that their faith and their followers are “once again” being victimized and persecuted in what is supposed to be the ultimate land of freedom. There can be no clearer evidence of that then that the law allows adultery to be engaged in on Fridays and during any day of Ramadan. Furthermore, the law makes no mention of protections for virgins, quite a few of whom are required for those jihadists who die in the “holy war” against the infidel, particularly those in America.
Needless to say, “environmentalists” were outraged at this prospective law. They commissioned a study that substantiated their belief that many of these adulterous trysts would be engaged in with one or both participants arriving at the site by using gasoline based automotive conveyances, thus contributing to the issue of “climate change”. They demand that there be a stipulation in the law that only adulterous affairs in which both parties got to the rendezvous via public transportation will be “licit”.
Needless to say since the concept of adultery and its being wrong is based on religious moral concept, it was only reasonable to expect that members of the clergy weigh in on the subject, which they did. A number of pastors who had fathered out of wedlock kids expressed their belief that we must view “ancient” rules in the context of the times; that times had changed and we must change with them. Their testimony, offered in a brilliant Hip Hop style and recorded and released on MTV got more than four million hits within an hour of its release.
So in light of all this testimony, our legislators took the bill which had been introduced by Reps. Jack Mehoff and I. Fool Around and they reworked, rewrote and transformed it into The Swoosh Law with the subtitle, “Just Do It”. This law confirmed that adultery was a highly overrated infraction of “morality” and that it was perfectly reasonable, in fact, healthy for people to engage in it in order to promote a strong, healthy marriage.
And a lot of public officials in America felt vindicated – and breathed a sigh of relief. The bill, as it was finally presented to the full membership, got overwhelming bipartisan support.