On Tuesday a 6-foot-tall stone monument of the Ten Commandments was erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol. Early Wednesday morning that 6-foot-tall stone monument was knocked to the ground by a crazed man in a pick-up truck.
Michael Tate Reed was arrested for the crime shortly thereafter and booked in the county jail on charges of defacing objects of public respect, trespassing, and first-degree criminal mischief.
Apparently Reed decided to broadcast his ramming of the Commandments on Facebook Live. Doing his best Mel Gibson imitation, the man flashes his headlights on the monument, screams “Freedom!” as the accelerator roars. The video feed is cut when the truck strikes stone.
On the surface it would seem that this was the crime of someone affiliated with rabid atheist groups like the Freedom From Religion posse that finds fulfillment in life by suing prayer rugs and plastic wise men. But in a bizarre twist, a man claiming to be Michael Tate published another video early Wednesday morning where he professed his Christian faith:
“I’m a firm believer that part of salvation is that we not only have faith in Jesus Christ but we obey the commands of God, and that we confess Jesus as Lord,” he said in the video. “But one thing I do not support is the violation of our Constitutional right to have the freedom that’s guaranteed to us, that guarantees us the separation of church and state.” There’s “no one religion” that the government should represent, the man said.
This would be another example of why it’s best not to take our understanding of constitutional law from deranged men who drive trucks into stone monuments at 4 in the morning – or those who make the same legal arguments as them (I’m looking at you, ACLU).
By erecting a stone monument of the Ten Commandments, the state of Arkansas is acknowledging the Judeo-Christian heritage of the country, its laws, customs, and foundations. Regardless of the antipathy many modern Americans may have for that heritage, it doesn’t change our history. Rewriting textbooks, sandblasting statues, and truck-ramming monuments doesn’t erase the underpinnings of Western Civilization.
As a Christian, I may not be compelled under the old Mosaic law code of Exodus. But I still respect the Torah, the wisdom it maintains, and the fulfillment it met in the coming of Christ. I also recognize its import in our nation’s constitutional history. In no way does the erecting of such a monument on public grounds violate the First Amendment’s prohibition on Congress establishing a national religion. Now if Congress would have followed Arkansas by passing a law requiring all citizens to practice the Jewish faith, I would have gladly been Michael Tate Reed’s crazed passenger, running his camera. But they didn’t. So there was no constitutional violation and Reed belongs right where he is.
Incidentally, while Arkansas plans on rebuilding the monument, Resurgent contributor Darrick Johnson won tweet of the day by acknowledging that what Reed actually accomplished was producing a far more authentic version of the original Ten Commandments – the ones that Moses demolished when he saw the drunken revelry of the Israelites when he descended Mt. Sinai.
Reed needs to consider hiring Darrick as his attorney, as that line of defense seems rock solid.