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Debunking the 10 Commandments controversy of Stigler

June 19, 2008

When I told people that I was moving to a little town in Oklahoma called Stigler, they inevitably went to Wikipedia to get some more information on my new stomping grounds.

It was always the same old story.

“You’re going to the town that put the 10 Commandments in front of their courthouse, but couldn’t spell ‘adultery’ right?”

To much of the world, that is what Stigler is known for — its decision to perhaps push the definition of “separation of church and state” to the limits by agreeing to put a stone monument on government property. The decision, and the subsequent lawsuit by the ACLU, thrusted the small town of 3,000 into the national spotlight for a while as commentators argued if it was legal and whether or not the commandments should be allowed in such a public place.

But one notable detail was overlooked. Chiseled into the tablet, the seventh commandment read, “Thou shalt not commit adultry.” (By the way, spell check just automatically formatted it to ‘adultery’ so I had to go back and edit it)

It was the perfect punch line for far-left commentators. In their opinion, it was just a hick town that “clung” to its religion, propagating it mindlessly whatever they could. Their unintelligence was, for the commentators, confirmed by the misspelling.

And now, for anyone who checks out the Stigler Wiki page, they see the controversy and the misspelling.

I have to admit, the monument was one of the first things I checked out when I moved into town. Sure enough, there was the misspelling shining in the sun. I could not understand how it hadn’t been fixed yet. I mean, it’s kind of embarrassing to allow yourself to be the butt of a joke.

Somehow, the 10 commandments issue was brought up in the office this week, and I mentioned that I couldn’t believe the misspelling hadn’t been fixed yet.

Misspelling? What misspelling?

Without exception, every person in the office who was originally from Stigler had no idea the word was misspelled. Every person who moved to Stigler knew about the blunder.

For some reason, the misspelling just isn’t common knowledge amongst the majority of residents here. My theory is that the misspelled word wasn’t noticed right away and by the time someone did notice it, the local media decided that people were so sick of all the 10 commandment news that they didn’t publish it.

But it made its way to Wikipedia and the world knows all about it.

I’m thinking about writing an article for the newspaper about it, but for now, I decided to just settle on the blog entry. I don’t mind the commandments at the courthouse, though I can sympathize with both sides of the argument. I just think we should fix it.

Let’s raise some money, and do this adultery thing right. Well, you know what I mean.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Old faithful permalink
    June 22, 2008 3:07 pm

    OMG I didn’t know it was spelled incorrectly either! I don’t think I have ever actually looked at it, just knew it was there and what it said.
    I think it should be covered with a drape until it’s fixed. Now that I “no” about it.

  2. June 25, 2008 2:27 am

    I had no idea Stigler had a monument of any kind. But, damn, didn’t the mayor/engraver/someone proofread it? Ha! Now, I want to visit Stigler (wherever it is) just to see that damn plaque.

  3. June 26, 2008 8:15 am

    Just for the record…the 10 commandments aren’t debunked because of human error in spelling.

    Until Webster came along with his dictionary even George Washington couldn’t spell.

    • Shawnda permalink
      June 9, 2009 10:05 pm

      The good news is that we’ve had Webster’s since 1806. Before then, I’m reasonably certain that one had options to find the correct spelling of any word in question.

      In this case, for example one could simply have consulted oh…I dunno…A BIBLE perhaps?

  4. Christy permalink
    September 29, 2008 12:24 am

    Ah, the beauty of living in the Bible Belt! Upon reading your blog, I now remember my father mentioning this to me. I will send a link of your blog to my friends. I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of seeing this!

    A former resident of Stigler who has no intentions on returning to live–EVER!

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