Skip to comments.Cecil B. DeMille's campaign for a godly culture
Posted on 09/08/2013 7:58:48 PM PDT by ReformationFan
Few matters have initiated more litigation in the courts than the presence of Ten Commandments monuments and other displays of the Decalogue across the country located on public property. The presence of most of these is the result of a joint campaign by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, working with Hollywood Royalty and movie-magnate, the late great Cecil B. DeMille. Today the radical left has erroneously argued these displays are an unconstitutional violation of the "separation of church and state" and disparage them as nothing more than a publicity stunt by DeMille to hype his movie at the time, The Ten Commandments, staring Charlton Heston. But if DeMille's motives were purely carnal, then his history with the film certainly didn't show him acting like it.
According to Bruce Feiler's research in his book, America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story, DeMille was working to counter the direction of the times. He writes: "The undermining of the central plank of American life that began in the late nineteenth century did not abate in the early decades of the twentieth century. Even as World War I triggered a temporary surge in faith, and Darwinism and other forms of modernity led to the blossoming of fundamentalism, the Bible continued to recede as the ultimate source of authority in contemporary life. Americans attended church in extraordinary numbers and espoused a near universal belief in God, but they relied less on the Bible as the chief source of public rhetoric. By the close of the 1930s, one scholar wrote, Americans had grown accustomed to using 'a secular rather than theological vocabulary when issues really seemed worth arguing about.'"
(Excerpt) Read more at renewamerica.com ...
One of my favorite DeMille films is a rather obscure movie I first saw on a late-show over three decades ago. Entitled “This Day and Age” (1933), it involved some college students who basically take the law into their own hands, going after some gangsters who have preyed on them. A number of films from that time take a starkly populist/pro-vigilante view.
Another in that vein (not DeMille, though) was a modern-day western entitled “Gun Smoke” from 1931, which involved some city gangsters coming to a small western town and trying to take it over with their gangster tactics. The townsmen get together, and basically just kill them. No discussions of law, judges, trials... they just put a plan together and thoroughly wipe them out. Loved it.
Amazingly good casting for every role.
Agreed. I think it’s interesting that ABC has aired it almost every Passover/Easter since 1973. The one year they didn’t air it(1999 or 2000), they got so many complaints from the public that they started airing it again. Very telling that ratings and viewership remain so high for it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereofFirst notice that it is only directed at Congress, not the states. Second, it prohibits laws respecting the establishment of religion, not just the establishment of religion. In other words, Congress, and only Congress, is prohibited in making any law addressing the topic one way or another. All this does is take the question of the establishment of religion out of the federal jurisdiction, leaving the states free to do as they please. Indeed, some of the states maintained their established religions for many years after the passage of the Bill of Rights. While one may argue that it is unwise for the states to establish an official religion this is not prohibited by the First Amendment.
I’ve seen the silent version of “The Ten Commandments,” but it’s been so long ago, I really don’t have much memory of it. I seem to recall it being released on VHS back in the mid-1980s, with several other silent Paramount films, like “Old Ironsides” and “The Covered Wagon.”
My DVD set contained both versions.
Blu-ray available (ouchie price):
I used to believe that the '60s was our cultural turning point. It was the most visible turning point. But the trend toward secularization really began in the mid-nineteenth century, with the ascendency of Marxism and Darwinism.
Both of these have yet to be attacked directly in the public square.
The Silent Version of “The Ten Commandments” is a VERY interesting Film.
The first half of the movie is the familiar story from Exodus, done with great spectacle and was a triumph of Special Effects for the time.
The second half of the movie is a contemporary melodrama about a woman with two sons. One son is venal, selfish and an atheist. The other is a believer, and tries to live his life according to the Ten Commandments. Although the sons are different, they love each other and their mother. The “bad” son becomes a contractor and is commissioned to construct an inner-city cathedral. Right away, he starts skimping on quality, stealing supplies, making shortcuts, disregarding the plans, etc. The other brother warns him that he is breaking the Ten Commandments (coveting, stealing, false witness, etc) but the “bad” brother just scoffs at him.
Mom shows up on the construction site to give the brothers some lunch and view the progress of the cathedral. She tries to convince the bad son to change his ways and he laughs at her.
In sadness, mom walks through the construction site to go home, and a huge unfinished wall of the cathedral, made of adulterated cheap concrete, collapses on her and kills her!
The bad brother repents, but, of course, now it’s too late. He has manged to break all the Ten Commandments, including murder, and dishonoring his own mother.
It was interesting how DeMille tied these two stories together.
Anyway, the 1956 Version is one of my all-time favorites.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
No such thing as separation of Church and state, people have the right to govern their own state, 10th amendment.