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Harvey Wasserman: America's True Patriot Act

This July 4, let's enshrine the Ten Amendments, not the Ten Commandments, as America's true Patriot Act

by Harvey Wasserman
June 28, 2005

The Supreme Court's mixed rulings on displaying the Ten Commandments on public buildings and property offer us the perfect patriotic step forward for this coming July 4: let's post the first Ten Amendments, i.e. the Bill of Rights, instead.

As we approach our nation's birthday, its core values are under attack. Religious fanatics, who are profoundly unAmerican, are trying to impose their particular theology on us all.

A cult of Christian Ayatollahs and their jihad GOP are using the Ten Commandments as a wedge to force mandatory, tax- sponsored religion into every corner of American life (not to mention the rest of the world).

But it is the Bill of Rights, not the Ten Commandments, that embodies the true core of our national existence.

First and foremost, these amendments guarantee separation of church and state. Remembering the witch trials of the 1690s, a ban on theocracy was very first freedom this nation's founders enshrined.

Then came freedom to practice the religion of one's choice, and freedom of speech, the press, assembly, petition of grievances, fair and speedy trial, due process and the vital rights, freedoms and liberties that form the heart and soul of all free nations.

These are the Commandments that really matter to us all.

As Americans, it's our solemn duty to engrave these rights on all public buildings and property. A campaign to do just that should start immediately, in the form of a new True Patriot Act.

To be sure, the first Ten Amendments were incomplete. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth were needed to deal with issues of slavery and race. The Nineteenth gave women the right to vote. An Economic Bill of Rights proposed by Franklin Roosevelt was approved as a resolution of Congress, but not written into law, as it should have been.

But today's real Patriot Act is the Bill of Rights. To ward off America's true "enemy within," who would enshrine the coda of a particular religion, lets resolve instead that the Ten Amendments be engraved on every public building, enshrined in every public park and planted firmly on the grounds of every school.

Lets introduce that demand into law. And then lets see who the real patriots are.


HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is available from He is co-editor, with Bob Fitrakis and Steve Rosenfeld, of DID GEORGE W. BUSH STEAL AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION?, available via

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