There were some excellent discussions in the RELIGION forum a few weeks ago about whether the bible was a good moral guide or not, and whether or not the so-called ten commandments are good moral guides. In fact, only three of the commandments have any relevance to American law: homicide, theft, and perjury. The phrase "Golden Rule" doesn't appear in the bible, either. Neither does the famous "do unto others" wording. What Jesus was reported to have said is this: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12). The author of Luke relates it this way: "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke 6:31)
Other religions have lists of laws, too. Buddhism has the "Ten Precepts" for example.
According to an excellent book entitled Losing Faith in Faith
by Dan Barker, Matthew's version appears to "parallel an earlier wording of the same idea by Rabbi Hillel in 10 AD: "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowman. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary." (Talmoud, Shabbat, 31a)
There are also similar references in Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism.
I find it very interesting that the Bushies expound so much on their Christianity, yet they have broken every one of their ten commandments at one time or another during the last five years....yet Bush and his henchmen continue to be revered and yes, even BELIEVED by far too many people, even after its been proven over and over again that the Bushies are all a pack of liars. Cognitive Dissonance in its purest form!
As for the Declaration of Independence, please note that this was meant as a persuasive document. A quality of a good persuasive document is that it appeals to what motivates people with a wide range of views.
Now, we have the Patriot Act, doing an outstanding job of what it's supposed to do: Persuade us to give up our liberties so we can feel "safe." That's a hoot...in my opinion, considering all that has happened since Bush came to the presidency, we've never been less safe
since America won its independence from Britain.
The Declaration of Independence was written to respect all views -- those who believed in the laws of nature, and those who believed in God -- those who believed in a divine creator, and those who believed in accident.
There's an excellent little book entitled The Signers
by Dennis Brindell Fadin which tells the stories of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, all 56 of them. If you've ever read the story behind how the DOI came about, and how close it came to being defeated, you would probably marvel (like I did) at the amazing series of events that occurred over a twenty-four hour period in July of 1776 that enabled the nation's "birth certificate" to be accepted and adopted.
Sam Adams could be considered another Karl Rove in his ability to manipulate and control others from behind the scenes.
References: Losing Faith in Faith
, by Dan Barker and The Signers
by Dennis Fadin.