Bachmann: Obama policies unconstitutional and unholy

Rep. Michele Bachmann: "We should not covet what belongs to our neighbor."
MinnPost photo illustration by Corey Anderson
Rep. Michele Bachmann: “We should not covet what belongs to our neighbor.”

Obama-ism is a sin.

This Michele Bachmann knows.

Cuz the Bible tells her so.

Yes, it’s true. I missed it at the time, but Bachmann said recently that Obama’s approach to taxing the rich, or is it Obamacare, or is it — well, pretty much everything — violates not only the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (that’s an argument she and other Tenthers have been developing for some years now) but also the Tenth Commandment that God gave to Moses.

OK, I’ll confess. When I first read the 10th Commandment reference in a recent Bachmannian remark, I couldn’t immediately come up with the commandment. On the very slight chance that you find yourself in a similar embarrassment, No. 10 is a commandment against coveting. More fully (it varies a bit from one translation and tradition to another):

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house or fields, nor his male or female slaves, nor his ox or ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.”

And here is how, at an early November appearance at the Family Research Council, Bachmann invoked the Tenth Commandment as a general refutation of Obamaism:

BACHMANN: President Obama believes in cultivating power unto himself and centralizing power unto himself. He’s been willing to engage during his presidency in a massive redistribution of wealth and in the politics of an Occupy Wall Street envy to achieve his purposes. And the president’s economic policies, most notable of which is Obamacare, represent the most ambitious social economic engineering project in the history of the United States. It is in fact a great leap beyond the New Deal and the Great Society. Contrast that with the Tenth Amendment — I’m sorry — the Tenth Commandment, which teaches that we should not covet what belongs to our neighbor. That’s a principle for good government that’s worked historically in the United States. 

If we could cross-examine the gentlelady from Minnesota a bit about this, it would be nice to know with more precision all the ways that Obamaism derives from covetousness. But she has already supplied some hints. The reference to Occupy Wall Street envy helps quite a bit. All this talk about the wealthiest 1 percent having too much, with a thinly veiled wished to extract a bit of it via taxes and use it to provide certain kinds of assistance to the less affluent, really, it fairly reeks of covetousness when you look at it right.

The Obamacare reference is a tad confusing, but we can make it work. All those people who lack health insurance look at those who have good insurance, and how do they feel? Well, covetous. When you get right down to it, about 80 or 90 percent of the things that separate the left from the right come down to covetousness.

Now, I can’t tell from the quote whether Bachmann is goofing around when she brings up the Tenth Amendment, then switches to the Tenth Commandment as if it was a slip of the tongue. But it doesn’t really matter because she’s got both barrels loaded with two different kinds of tentherism.

The Founding Fathers and Our Father Who Art in Heaven agree that Obama and his minions have figured out how to be both unconstitutional and unholy on just about everything just about all the time.

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Comments (39)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/30/2011 - 10:18 am.

    When she authors a bill requiring every business to shut down on Sunday, I’ll actually believe she means what she says.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/30/2011 - 10:43 am.

    The… um… “illustration” that accompanies this seems likely to offend a few, but Mr. Tester, at least, ought to be nodding his head in agreement with the text. He’s been using the substance, if not the actual title, of the 10th Commandment argument with some frequency in just about every comment thread about wealth inequality in recent weeks. If I understand the argument correctly, the reason folks to the left of the right wing think the wealthy should pay more in taxes is not because it’s fair, but because they want some of that wealth for themselves. Covetousness, pure and simple…

    Among the interesting tidbits here is Mrs. Bachmann’s reference to “Obamacare” as an *economic* policy. And all along, I’ve been thinking right-wingers objected to Obama’s *health care* policy. Silly me. Mrs. Bachmann is renowned for the factual accuracy of her assertions, as we’ve seen throughout the campaign, so I stand corrected.

    Meanwhile, I await the point where Mrs. Bachmann addresses the conflict between her theocratic view of how things should operate and the Constitution’s 1st Amendment Establishment Clause. It should be an interesting political moment. In the meantime, perhaps she’s not read the Bible far enough to get to the New Testament, where the general theme is that, to get to heaven, what we should all be doing is giving away all that we have to the less fortunate. Oddly enough, that tenet doesn’t appear very often in “conservative” political arguments on the perils of a secular society, or the perils of taxation, or…

    I guess that will come after she’s secured the nomination – or been chosen by one of the more likely candidates to run as their Vice-Presidential nominee. The mind boggles at that latter possibility, which I’ve read about elsewhere. Just think of a Gingrich / Bachmann ticket and the truly staggering load of hypocrisy that pairing would bring to the election.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/30/2011 - 10:56 am.

    It is a pathetically childish reading of the Bible that people like Bachmann rely on.

    The applicable commandment that Bachmann should consider is the one about ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain..’

    No, the commandment really is not about swearing, it’s about the assumption that one is speaking in the stead of God.

  4. Submitted by Maureen Nalezny on 11/30/2011 - 11:28 am.

    I do believe that, in the New Testament, Jesus wiped the tablets clean and created two commandments in place of 10. Paraphrased, they are:

    Love God above all.
    Love your neighbor as yourself.

    I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how this gets mixed up in the Congresswoman’s head. If I love my neighbor as I love myself, I will take care of said neighbor and not hog everything for myself. That neighbor, in a perfect world, would also take care of me. Correct? What am I missing?

    Or is her Christianity strictly Old Testament? Unfortunately, I’m not sure she would appreciate that irony.

  5. Submitted by RA Cordes on 11/30/2011 - 11:47 am.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann: “We should not covet what belongs to our neighbor.”

    We also should not tell lies, Michele. There is a commandment against that too.

  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/30/2011 - 11:52 am.

    I wonder if she can read what’s on that tablet she’s holding….

  7. Submitted by Steve Sundberg on 11/30/2011 - 12:00 pm.

    Hmmm. If the 99% camp is guilty of coveting, as Mickey claims, maybe it’s because some/many/all of the 1% first violated the 8th Commandment? In God’s eyes, which is the greater sin? (Or doesn’t numbering things 1-2-3 count for anything when it comes to religious bullet-points? )

  8. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/30/2011 - 12:18 pm.

    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house or fields, nor his male or female slaves, nor his ox or ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.”

    She’s right of course. If someone could wave a magic wand (or is that a staff?) and make all envy and resentment disappear from the face of the earth, the resentment-based Occupy movement would have never existed.

    And the democrats would never win another election.

  9. Submitted by Douglas Shambo II on 11/30/2011 - 12:20 pm.

    Who’s covetousness should we be discussing, Congresswoman? The President’s (which is highly debatable), or the 1% bankers and tycoons who have worked assiduously to amass more and more wealth, no matter what the effect on their average American neighbors?

    Be careful, Ms. Bachmann: Your words may come back to condemn you. A guy widely quoted in the New Testament said, “Judge not, that you be not judged; for by the same measure ye mete, ye shall also be met.”

  10. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/30/2011 - 12:21 pm.

    Maureen, your problem comes when you depend on government to do your “caring” for you. I’m pretty sure that Jesus wanted, you know, YOU to do it, not Caesar.

  11. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/30/2011 - 01:05 pm.

    I, for one, am glad to have Dennis Tester around to explain to me what Jesus really wanted.

  12. Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 11/30/2011 - 01:10 pm.

    The occupy movement is not resentment based or envy based. Inequality is unhealthy to the whole. No one cares if there are rich people. The magnitude, intentionally fostered by legislation, is what matters.

    the RWNJ and VRWC types don’t get that nations crumble when they reach our level of inequality. When one part of your body is sick or hurting, it affects the whole body. When one part of our society is dieing, it affects us all.

    It has nothing, nothing to do with envy.

  13. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 11/30/2011 - 01:13 pm.

    Likewise, Tester, if that wand could remove greed and hypocrasy from the face of the earth there would also be no Occupy movement because there would be no need.

  14. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 11/30/2011 - 01:19 pm.

    Only the right wing of 2011 could honestly say with a straight face that those who are homeless, jobless, and dying because of lack of health care are in the wrong to envy those whose who could literally light their cigars with $1000 bills and see nary a dent in their bank account.

  15. Submitted by William Levin on 11/30/2011 - 01:25 pm.

    “Or is her Christianity strictly Old Testament? Unfortunately, I’m not sure she would appreciate that irony.”
    As a practicing Jew, I’m not sure I appreciate the irony, either.

  16. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 11/30/2011 - 01:32 pm.

    Now, Dennis, go to another story on this website, “People who work with the homeless in Minnesota are reporting unprecedented demand for housing assistance, and officials say some struggling families with children are living out of cars.”
    Is it covetousness in your view that children would like to live in a house and have enough to eat? That seems to be stance, as well as that of bachmann’s.

  17. Submitted by Addie Moe on 11/30/2011 - 01:52 pm.

    “And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matt19:24)

    I always find it interesting that Ms Bachmann and her Christian consorts focus so much on the Old Testament and not so much on the New Testament, where the words of the person she claims to follow, are more about helping your fellow man and not judging others. And he’s not so complimentary about rich people either.

    I also believe Jesus said something about “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” I don’t see anything there about no new taxes.

  18. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/30/2011 - 01:58 pm.

    I’ll be waiting for Ms. Bachmann’s take on the parable of the ten talents.

    As for the covetousness of Obama, occupiers, et al, I believe Jesus was reported as challenging he who was without sin to cast the first stone. In that vein, is there a person among us (Bachmann included) who has not suckled at the public teat, be it through a home mortgage interest, charitable donation, medical expense or other tax deduction or credit?

  19. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/30/2011 - 02:30 pm.

    @#16
    I don’t think the comment was meant as a dig at any religion that embraces the Old Testament. The comment was meant to point out that the Old Testament must necessarily be viewed in the absence of Christ. The irony is that a self-proclaimed Christian ignores the New Testament.

    Further irony abounds as someone claiming to be a Constitutionalist is busy trying to establish the 10th Commandment as relevant to US government. Or, perhaps, she follows the Old Constitution, not the one with those newfangled Amendments. Except maybe for the 2nd one. And the 10th one. Of course, without the 1th one, we might not even be aware of her (if women couldn’t vote, why would they be allowed to run for presidency?).

  20. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/30/2011 - 02:44 pm.

    We do, indeed, have a problem with “covetousness” in American society, but that problem is not the one Mickey Bachmann, being limited to the warped perspective, created by the “logs” buried “in her own eyes,” can see (being rendered, by those same logs, incapable of seeing any other).

    Rather, the reality is that, more and more, those who were once middle class and those who have done everything that should have ensured themselves middle class lifestyles,…

    in other words, those who have lived their lives by the “rules” SO valued by “conservatives,”…

    far from coveting the overblown luxuries possessed by the rich, JUST WANT TO SURVIVE.

    Meanwhile, our wealthiest friends don’t seem ever to have seen a luxury good or a lifestyle perk in the possession of someone else,…

    thereby indicating as the result of their dysfonic, misguided, warped, worldview that the other person must surely be of more value than themselves,…

    (persons evidently having NO intrinsic value but being valuable only based on the material goods they possess),…

    that they did not covet to the extent that they were willing to destroy the lives of countless other people (as they have been working so diligently to do since the days of Ronnie Raygun),…

    in order to achieve the transitory, and never ultimately satisfying victory of one-upping their friends for a few brief minutes.

    It is the covetousness of the rich for each other’s lives and possessions that has come so close to destroying this nation. The poor and middle class have had NOTHING to do with it except for the ways they have been victimized by the rich and powerful,…

    who, according to the parables of Jesus, will burn in hell for their misdeeds.

  21. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/30/2011 - 03:39 pm.

    Look, the democrat party is the party of envy. It’s the role of the democrat politician to confiscate other people’s wealth to be given to people who covet it in return for their promise to keep them in power. That describes the American left in a nutshell.

    The republican party’s role is to try to stop the mugging.

  22. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/30/2011 - 04:07 pm.

    @#16–
    I don’t think that most of us are “strictly Old Testament” — there is the Talmud.
    Only a few ultraorthodox are strictly and literally governed by the ‘old testament’ only.

  23. Submitted by Michael Friedman on 11/30/2011 - 04:39 pm.

    Are the slaves allowed to covet their master’s freedom? May slaves covet the right to own their own ass?

    In accepting at face value the severe inequality of their eras, neither the constitution nor Exodus is a good guide for humanity, much less health care policy.

  24. Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 11/30/2011 - 04:50 pm.

    This is what RWNJ and VRWC card holders do not understand:

    Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Kahneman,

    “Below 60,000 dollars a year, people are unhappy, and they get progressively unhappier the poorer they get. Above that, we get an absolutely flat line. I mean I’ve rarely seen lines so flat.”

    You see, the only people who care about money or obsess about money are those who do not have enough to be comfortable, and those who covet it as a video game like competition scorecard. Oh, and RWNJ/VRWC types obsess about it too.

    Purpose, and not profit, motivate most Americans.

  25. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/30/2011 - 05:06 pm.

    Hey Jackson Brown rebel Jesus. Try it see if i fits. And check out the specs for wilf’s newly purchased apartment in NYC. Only 19 million dollars, but he got a deal. Prior owners paid 25 mill. And our neighbors are living in cars and government officials are well you know the rest. Go ows.

  26. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/30/2011 - 05:18 pm.

    If someone could wave a magic wand (or is that a staff?) and make all envy and resentment disappear from the face of the earth, the consumer-driven capitalist economy would collapse. Envy is what drives much of our spending on non-essentials, both due to a desire to emulate and due to a desire to falunt our wealth and/or power (or do people drive Bentleys for their superior fuel economy and precision handling?). The 1% have discovered the sin of envy because it threatens them. It’s one thing to have the little people admire your jewels; it’s another thing for them to have the nerve to point out that those jewels were bought at the expense of the gains of the middle-class.

    From a biblical standpoint, the Preacher tells us that wealth is a vanity, and gets us nothing in the end. Ecc. 5:10-20. Timothy was also not too crazy about wealth (1 Tim. 6:9-10).

    BTW, since the Bible has been mentioned, perhaps someone to my right can explain something: Why is it that the biblical teachings regarding charity exclude Caesar, but the condmenations of homosexuality and the (imagined) commands against abortion do not?

  27. Submitted by Colin Dunn on 11/30/2011 - 05:59 pm.

    George Carlin said it best:

    “Coveting your neighbor’s goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays “o come o ye faithful”, and you want one too! Coveting creates jobs, so leave it alone.”

  28. Submitted by Francis Ferrell on 11/30/2011 - 07:05 pm.

    Regardless of what I feel inn a non-positive way about Michelle Bachmann, MinnPost has offended some folks sensibilities by PhotoShopping Bachmann’s face on Moses’s body[actually Charleston Heston’s body] from “Ben Hur”. Can’t you make your points without doing this travesty of editorial art chicanery?

    All you are accomplishing by doing this ersatz funny artwork is feeding the Bachmann campaign’s political ammunition against the ‘stilted” media. Mr. Black you made your cogent points about Bachmann but you don’t need this artwork to impugn an already screwed-up Bachmann campaign

  29. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/30/2011 - 09:08 pm.

    Actually, the picture is quite perfect. I believe Ms. Bachmann, in the depths of her psyche, believes (as wrongly as it’s possible to do so, of course),…

    that she is some type of latter-day Moses who will save (representing a misunderstanding of the entire concept),…

    all her fellow way too soft, way too mushy Christians from living by the attitudes, actions, teachings and parables of the way too nice guy (at least to the outcasts and downtrodden of society) they regard as their Messiah,…

    returning them to the good old days when God, and God’s people were into smiting massive numbers of others in “god’s” name.

    Given the opportunity to wield the absolute power she so deeply craves, she would make even the most twisted, megalomaniacal image of “god” seem like Walter Mitty by comparison.

    With sufficient power, she would write into history entire new “Texts of Terror” that would make the originals pale by comparison.

  30. Submitted by r batnes on 11/30/2011 - 10:36 pm.

    With all due respect, Francis, what’s offensive about Photoshopping Bachmann’s head onto Charlton Heston’s body? In fact, Mr. Heston’s interpretation of Moses might be considered even more offensive by some. The image can’t defame Moses as it’s not an actual image of him in the first place.

  31. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 12/01/2011 - 08:58 am.

    @#29: Actually, it’s Michele Bachmann’s head photoshopped on Charlton Heston’s body as Moses from “The Ten Commandments.” I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Eric Black or other members of the media for bringing religion and faith into the political debate. Bachmann made religion and faith an issue by trumpeting her own moral and religious superiority to others and claiming that she’s some instrument of God in her ruthless ambition for power. It’s completely fair to mock her or criticize her on this in any way that makes the point.

  32. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/01/2011 - 12:13 pm.

    “Bachmann made religion and faith an issue by trumpeting her own moral and religious superiority to others ”

    No she didn’t. She never claimed any such thing.

    “It’s completely fair to mock her or criticize her on this in any way that makes the point.”

    Translation: She’s a Christian and so it’s in keeping with the Leftist tradition to mock and ridicule her faith lest she attract some democrat voters who aren’t yet atheists, should any still exist.

  33. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/01/2011 - 07:00 pm.

    Dennis–
    What makes you think that Bachmannn is a Christian?
    Her actions?
    Her claims to faith?
    Is it your opinion that a Christian is anyone who says that they are?

  34. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 12/01/2011 - 08:19 pm.

    @#33: Your comment about “some democrat voters who aren’t yet atheists, should any still exist” reflects comments I’ve heard from many others. The point being that you can’t be a “real Christian” unless you are a right wing Republican. Really?

    That sort of illustrates my point. My point was that Bachmann has flaunted and trumpeted talk about “moral and religious values” and convictions to sell herself, gain votes and political power. It’s true she doesn’t say “I’m better than you” but she doesn’t have to. She flaunts her superior attitude as a “Christian” by the public praying, “God talk”, false piety and arrogance in her own ignorant convictions. She connects her behavior with right wing political views and agenda which many of her fanatic followers cannot differentiate from the real thing but find appealing. I admit I’ve never heard her say it, but I’ve heard her prominent supporters say that Christians who don’t adopt her type of talk, behavior and political values are not really Christian. That’s pretty arrogant and judgmental in my opinion.

    As a Christian, I take issue with that arrogant and superior attitude about faith. I also deplore use of religious symbols and language to manipulate and exploit other peoples’ simple faith. Bachmann is like the other hucksters –the Pat Robertsons, the Jerry Falwells, the Tony Perkins, the James Dobsons and other creeps who use religion and “Jesus talk” to milk the gullible public of billions of dollars. Bachmann uses these techniques to gain dollars, votes and political power. They all remind me of the Pharisee in the Bible, who loved to pray aloud and be seen for how religious he is as he thanks God he is not like the sinful publican, who conceals himself when he prays and begs God for forgiveness in private. Jesus was quite clear about how he expected his followers to behave. By eschewing Jesus’s own words, Bachmann and these others are no different from the scribes and Pharisees, “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.”

    The “Leftist tradition to mock and ridicule” is really quite in keeping with Christian tradition but not to people’s sincere faith. It’s to the hucksterism, hypocrisy and phoniness which Christ also saw in the scribes and Pharisees of 1st century AD. You see, the Pharisees and scribes are still quite with us in 21st century USA.

  35. Submitted by r batnes on 12/01/2011 - 08:26 pm.

    (#33) On December 1, 2011, Dennis Tester says:
    “Bachmann made religion and faith an issue by trumpeting her own moral and religious superiority to others ”

    “No she didn’t. She never claimed any such thing.”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Be honest, Dennis. You couldn’t have kept a straight face when you typed those two sentences,could you? The woman claimed that God told her to run for office. When God has you on speed dial, how much more religiously superior can one possibly be?

  36. Submitted by Joe Musich on 12/01/2011 - 09:21 pm.

    Maybe the graphic of MB could be improved with an automatic weapon in her belt. Ya know just so you could see the pearled handle sticking out

  37. Submitted by J E Strader on 12/02/2011 - 09:03 am.

    I’ll take unholy over Holy Terror any day of the week!

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