178 The New Decalogue

Have but one God: thy knees were sore
If bent in prayer to three or four.

Adore no images save those
The coinage of thy country shows.

Take not the Name in vain. Direct
Thy swearing unto some effect.

Thy hand from Sunday work be held—
Work not at all unless compelled.

Honor thy parents, and perchance
Their wills thy fortunes may advance.

Kill not—death liberates thy foe
From persecution’s constant woe.

Kiss not thy neighbor’s wife. Of course
There’s no objection to divorce.

To steal were folly, for ’tis plain
In cheating there is greater gain.

Bear not false witness. Shake your head
And say that you have “heard it said.”

Who stays to covet ne’er will catch
An opportunity to snatch.

 

 

Why might Ambrose have decided to change or twist The Ten Commandments as he did? Why did he write this piece?

What kind of a response do you think this piece got by the public?

What kind of image of God or of his followers does this view on The Ten Commandments make? How does this differ as compared to the picture made by the original Ten Commandments?

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The New Decalogue by Timothy Robbins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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