The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won’t go away. For some reason, I’m having a hard time relating to this issue in general. Perhaps it’s because parts of the Ten Commandments seem so very, well, Old Testament.
Take No. 2 for example: “Thou Shall Not Create Graven Images.” It must have been important back in the day, because they put it right up there near the top, but I don’t even know what a graven image is. I’m an artist; I could have created dozens and not known it. If graven means carved or engraved, then the people who inscribe the commandments, and more importantly the surrounding decor, on the stone blocks for this monument will have something to answer for. Problems from the get-go.
Perhaps we should erect a monument to the seven deadly sins instead. In the first place, there are only seven of them. Right off the bat it’s money saved. What’s more, the sins are something we can all relate to. Most of us are guilty of two or three, some even more. Let’s do a quick rundown.
Pride: Got it. I’m not sure where those Greek monks were going with this one. Pride implies that you have done something to be proud of. Are they suggesting we should be doing things we’re not proud of? No problem, I can go either way.
Sloth: Got it. Sloth is when you’ve done nothing to be proud of — nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing at all for that matter. In a way, sloth is its own reward.
Gluttony: Got it. It will put you in the coffin, but you get to eat a lot of Ben & Jerry’s on the way. Eat too many chilidogs and you risk death from coronary artery disease. Then again, there are people who have eaten bean sprouts and died from E. coli. In the end it’s only a matter of what you want on your tombstone. I’ll have pepperoni on mine.
Lust: Got it. Lust makes the world go round. Gluttony, sloth and lust — sounds like a pretty good weekend to me.
Greed: Got it. I’m not exactly sure how this one kills you but, when it does, you end up with a pile of stuff.
Wrath: Got it. I lived, for a while, in a small town that didn’t accept computers at their modest landfill. They would, however, take anything that was in a black, plastic bag. I took a sledgehammer and beat my old IBM to flinders so it could be bagged and dumped. I am here to tell you that beating a PC with a 7-pounder is rapture. The euphoric feeling is still with me. A little wrath can go a long way.
Envy: Unlike the other six, envy has no upside. It doesn’t feel good or taste good, takes effort and doesn’t bring you anything in return. For this reason I have never had envy … but I wish I did.