And lo, there came Ted Turner, upon whose broad shoulders it fell to rewrite the 10 Commandments. For Turner lived a few millenniums after the first 10 Commandments were written, which was high time for an update--if you asked the Atlanta media magnate.
Turner dubbed his version the "Ten Voluntary Initiatives." In them, he promises to be, well, friendlier, but not too friendly because he also promises to have no more than two children. (But there is a discrepancy between theory and practice: Turner has five children.) He promises to recycle; to oppose nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and generally to save the Earth and everyone on it.
The prophet of cable television was named Humanist of the Year last week at the American Humanist Assn.'s annual convention in Orlando, Fla. Conventioneers could study copies of Turner's teachings placed on each table. The organization has its own controversial agenda: It declares that "promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful."
"Obviously, we are kindred souls," Turner told the 200 humanists at the convention.
He went on to lambaste fundamentalist Christianity's tenet that man is born into sin, and said Jesus would likely be "sick at his stomach" over such "twisted" interpretations of his teachings.
Here are his Big 10:
1. I love and respect planet Earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow species, mankind.
2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect and friendliness.
3. I promise to have no more than two children, or no more than my nation suggests.
4. I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world in an untouched state and to restore damaged or destroyed areas where practical.
5. I pledge to use as little non-renewable resources as possible.
6. I pledge to use as little toxic chemicals, pesticides and other poisons as possible.
7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate than myself to help them become self-sufficient and enjoy the benefits of a decent life, including clean air and water, adequate food, health care, housing, education and individual rights.
8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force, and back United Nations arbitration of international disputes.
9. I support the total elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and, in time, the total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
10. I support the United Nations in its efforts to collectively improve the conditions of the planet.