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Snopes snookered by 10 Commandments hoax

The California pastor whose research revealed a strategy by the U.S. Supreme Court to eliminate references to the Ten Commandments in its own artwork now is asking Internet watchdogs Snopes.com and TruthOrFiction.com to fix their mistakes on the issue.

Todd DuBord’s work was profiled by WND in an article about the Supreme Court and a second story about the Monticello and Jamestown historic sites.

There also was a followup showing how one state Supreme Court was following suit, and in a photograph of its team of justices, blurred part of the photograph because it would have shown the Ten Commandments on the wall behind them.

DuBord, whose work resulted in his formal requests to those national treasures that they correct the information being distributed, now is asking the two accuracy-focused websites to correct similar mistakes in their materials.

“Millions of people go to snopes.com and truthorfiction.com to get the straight scoop on Internet and other legends,” DuBord, pastor of Lake Almanor Community Church, said.

“However, in the case of describing the depictions of Moses and the Ten Commandments on the Supreme Court, they are perpetuating their own forms of cultural and revisionist myth.”

“While much in your articles about the Ten Commandment depictions on or in the U.S. Supreme Court Building is correct, I respectfully need to point out a couple of errors in your investigations, and trust you will make the appropriate changes,” he wrote to the sites.

The Snopes article is: “Religious symbols and references abound in U.S. capital buildings and the words of America’s founders” while the TruthOrFiction item is “Evidences of Faith in the Buildings, Memorials, and Forefathers of the United States-Truth!, Fiction! & Unproven!?”

DuBord notes that Snopes references “two representations of Moses” on the building, but there actually are four – on the South Wall Frieze in the court, on the East Pediment, on the Exterior Portrait Medallions and on the frieze in the Great Hall.

The Eastern Pediment

Regarding the Eastern Pediment representation, Snopes says, “And although many viewers might assume Moses is holding a copy of the Ten Commandments in this depiction, the two tablets in his arms are actually blank.”

TruthOrFiction concludes similarly: “the two tablets in his arms are actually blank.”

“Your comments infer that, by holding two tablets that are blank, they are plausibly not the Ten Commandments. Is there another alternative to the identity of these ‘blank’ tablets? Are there any other tablets he carried down from Mt. Sinai?” DuBord asked.

“In the South Wall Frieze in the Courtroom, Moses is clearly holding a tablet, with the last five commandments written in Hebrew. Should we merely assume the inside frieze tablet represents five of the Ten Commandments and the outside Eastern pediment tablets do not represent the Ten Commandments in whole because they are blank? Again, what else would Moses be holding? The Ten Amendments?”

DuBord said the sentence reveals a bias, and the larger question is “why the unnecessary conclusion to neuter the identity of the tablets that are so clearly the Ten Commandments?”

He also pointed out the references to the oak doors, which display tablets carrying Roman numerals I-V and VI-X.

Supreme Court door panels (photo: Carrie Devorah, God In The Temples of Government)

Those “can represent something other than the Ten Commandments,” according to Snopes, and are “symbolic representations,” according to TruthOrFiction.

The Supreme Court’s own documentation from the 1970s show those to be the Ten Commandments, although that language “evolved” over the next 20 years to become “symbolic representations,” DuBord noted.

The Supreme Court has edited history, he said, so that those now are described officially as representing the ten amendments or Bill of Rights, but that explanation leaves facts out.

The Bill of Rights didn’t arrive on tablets, and the Library of Congress shows those images to be consistent with those depicting the Ten Commandments during the period the building was constructed, he said.

“Why not accept the most obvious meaning of these tablets on the U.S. Supreme Court?” he asked.

He also says the representation in the courtroom itself is not the “amendments” as many report, but actually the Ten Commandments, because the artist himself said so in describing another almost identical depiction at The Oscar Solomon Memorial, also in Washington.

“Most important here, will the ‘fact sites’ of Snopes.com and TruthOrFiction.com perpetuate their ‘urban legend’ or state what is the truth about the architecture of the highest court in the land?” DuBord asked.

“I hope, indeed I pray, you make the above correction or at least present the wider body of evidence against the neutering of the Ten Commandments on the U.S. Supreme Court building,” he said.

WND requests to both Snopes.com and TruthOrFiction.com about the corrections suggested were not answered.

His entire research compilation is available online.

DuBord’s message from July 23, 2006, on this issue also can be heard immediately, and for free, on the church website at www.lacconline.org.

DuBord grew up without religion, but during seven years of academic study at Bethany University and Fuller Theological Seminary accepted that the claims of Christianity are true.

He’s served in various prison, drug and alcohol rehab ministries and worked as a youth pastor and associate pastor before assuming his duties in Lake Almanor.

His messages can be downloaded at www.iTunes.com, by typing in “almanor” or “dubord.”

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