Hi, I’m busy this week reading a lot of Proverbs. As filler, here is an article my cousin in Missouri forwarded to me. Real update coming soon! -Abbie
Ten Commandments Wrong Ones: Pastor
By Paula Sandmel
Hebron, Missouri- Have you been obeying the Ten Commandments? According to a local pastor, the answer could be “no.”
The Reverend Samuel Cafferty of Hebron, MO sent shockwaves through his congregation and city when he announced that the Bible’s famous Ten Commandments “are actually a different set of laws,” not the familiar precepts known to be the foundation of western civilization and its entire system of morality.
Found in churches, synagogues, and classrooms across the world, the Ten Commandments were a concise list of precepts believed to have guided humanity since they were handed down by God to Moses in chapter 20 of the Book of Exodus. But through careful exegesis, Pastor Cafferty has proven that the Ten Commandments in question are in reality a set of legislation found fourteen chapters later.
“The law code in chapter 20 is never identified as the Ten Commandments by the holy text,” he said at a press conference last Sunday. “The words ‘The Ten Commandments’ are only used much later, quite obviously to describe a completely different set of laws.” Cafferty explained that the true Decalogue is detailed in chapter 34, verses 14-26. “When God said ‘write thou these words’, he wasn’t talking about something he said fourteen chapters ago. He was clearly talking about this batch of law.” He added, “how the [heck] did we miss this one?”
Like its false predecessor, the true Ten Commandments of Exodus 34 detail an array of moral and behavioural precepts, even sharing the familiar prohibition of false gods and recognition of the Sabbath. Most commandments, however, are novel, including two that taken together list four new mandatory festivals. “We will have to add new government holidays to our calendar” said Cafferty, referring to Exodus 34:22. “Perhaps this ‘firstfruits of the wheat harvest’ is covered by Thanksgiving, but we’ll need to celebrate something called Weeks, and then this Ingathering deal.” He added, “I hope you like unleavened bread.”
Cafferty announced the new Commandments to his congregation.
The theological bombshell came while Cafferty was preparing “yet another” sermon on the golden calf incident from Exodus. “My KJV is a bit stiff, and I accidentally turned to one of the boring parts we don’t really read. Imagine my astonishment, there in Chapter 34, I see the words ‘The Ten Commandments’. Cafferty said it now seems “embarrassingly obvious” that the law code in chapter 20 isn’t, and never was, the actual Ten Commandments.
Initially the Pastor kept the news to himself. “Even though I had identified the commandments, I still had to figure out what they meant,” he said, acknowledging that parsing the King James Bible could be difficult. “What does ‘all that openeth the matrix’ mean? Can you guess? I had no idea,” he recalled. “Apparently, it just means firstborn!”
Eventually he approached his wife, Debbie, with the issue. “At first I was confused,” she explained. “I said to him, ‘what does it actually mean to give your firstborn to the Lord?’ But I realized the rules make a lot more sense than the old ones.” She added, “At least they don’t implicitly condone slavery.”
Debbie pushed her husband to finally take the changes public. The new Ten Commandments were delivered to Cafferty’s congregation via a lengthy powerpoint presentation last month. Most of his flock was initially sceptical.
“Apparently now our menchildren need to go three times a year and appear before the Lord,” mused Tony McEleney, an unemployed barber. “When I heard that, I said ‘[hey now]‘. What’s the deal with that? Is my Kevin what they’re calling a manchild? Why’s he get to visit God and I don’t?”
However, it didn’t take long for most to accept the changes. Local arborist Kathleen Bourke has no issue with the new timeless precepts. “It’s [Cafferty's] job to understand that stuff, so he must be right. I wasn’t really into eating blood with leaven anyway. My cousin, her boyfriend is from England, he’s got her eating this stuff called blood sausage. I think it actually has blood in it?” She asked, “Does that mean they’re going to hell?”
Meanwhile, many are applauding the nullification of the original ten laws originally considered to be the foundation of all morality. Asked to comment on the theological revelations, shopkeeper Billy Beardslee stated that he relished the loosened restrictions on coveting his neighbour’s wife. “Those [legs] she got, those are [wonderful]!” he stated.
Controversy is nothing new for Samuel Cafferty. In the 1990s he garnered national attention for his drive to erect a monument to the Ten Commandments in front of the Nabalton County courthouse. He now says his efforts were misguided. Last Sunday, a solemn ceremony saw the original monument, carved from high-quality Vermont granite, uprooted and replaced with an exact replica reflecting mankind’s true covenant with the Lord.
The Ten Commandments
“Ladies and Gentlemen of Hebron”, Cafferty said at the dedication ceremony, “May this day mark the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people and the return to the knowledge of God in our land. Until now, we happened to have had the completely wrong moral foundation.” Speaking for the theological community, he added, “our bad.”
When asked in a question-and-answer session if the antiquated laws of Exodus 20 should still be followed, Cafferty shrugged. “I guess so, Billy. They’re still in the Bible. But they’re not the ‘Ten Commandments’ any more. They’re kind of like all those other weird laws we don’t obey. I mean, do any of you actually follow every single law in Leviticus?” he asked, the remark eliciting laughter from the crowd.
On the following thursday, Missouri State Senator Errol Stuhlmueller called a press conference at the county courthouse to announce new legislation in response to the theological revelations. SB 233, in accordance with the new 10th Commandment, will prohibit the cooking of any mammal in the milk of its mother within state lines. Standing just feet from Cafferty’s monument, Stuhlmueller addressed an audience of nearly 70 citizens. “Just as the Ten Commandments have always been the bedrock of our legal system, so shall be these Ten Commandments, which are the real ones we should have been obeying this whole time,” he proclaimed.
“Depriving the Lord of his firstborns and firstfruits will be a criminal offence.” said Stuhlmueller on Thursday.
When asked by a reporter if existing laws prohibiting theft and murder would be repealed, given their new-found obsolescence, Stuhlmueller paused before answering frankly. “I discussed the matter with my colleagues. But it turns out that most of those commandments were kind of just common sense. Who knew?” He followed, “So it will probably remain illegal to kill, steal, and buy beer on Sunday.”
In response to the new Second Commandment prohibiting molten idols, the town statue honoring Hebron founder Bud “Buddy” Miskolczi will be melted down and sold for scrap, according to City Treasurer Albert Baumgarten. He further stated that the funds would be use to finance the carving of a replacement statue from biblically-approved stone.
While most of the community has been receptive to Cafferty’s discovery, Leigh Charleston, a local Mormon Bishop, has quibbled with the pastor’s parsing of the text. “While we readily agree that these Commandments are indeed the true Decalogue, he has erred when dividing them into ten laws. His 4th Commandment is redundant and could be replaced with one based on the second half of verse 25,” he said, referring to the stipulation that a sacrifice not be left out overnight. “Why waste good food when we have plenty of fridge space in the Temple? The remnants of a firstborn cattle would make a terrific Sunday barbeque.”
Asked to respond, Cafferty stated that the problem of parsing complex Biblical law into discreet lists of ten was not new. “No denomination could get the old Ten Commandments straight either. Did ‘no coveting your neighbor’s wife’ stand alone at number 9, or was it part of the 10th?” He added with a shrug, “It’s a moot point now.”
Local Rabbi David Weisberg, when approached for comment, said that the identification of the new Commandments was “so obvious, we should have thought of it first.” After pausing, he added, “Come to think of it, we probably did. I think it’s in some Midrash somewhere. Who knows?”
Closing the dedication ceremony on Sunday, Cafferty appeared optimistic that his new interpretation would prevail. “President Madison once said that our future is staked on our capacity to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. Sure, he was talking about completely the wrong ones. But the point still stands.”
When asked to comment on chapter 5 of the book of Deuteronomy, which identifies the traditional Decalogue as the actual Ten Commandments, the pastor mumbled that he “never could make it past Leviticus anyway” and remembered he was late for a Little League game.