Graven Images

 Exodus 20:3,4
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself any graven image, or any likenes of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
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OK. 

So is it alright to use graven images in a devotional way in our worship of the One True God, or is it a sin and expressly forbidden by God?

Is the cross itself, a graven image representing our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus?

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20 Responses

  1. Some people may feel that this passage does not apply to us today. Colossians 3:5 tells us that “…covetousness…is idolatry.” Anything that you give yourself to , especially in abandonment, becomes your “god”.

    Many people do not worship Bacchus, the cloven-footed Greek and Roman god of wine and revelry of long ago, but they worship the bottle just the same. Other people worship Aphrodite, that is, the goddess of sex. Some people worship money. Anything to which you give your time, heart, and soul, becomes your God. God says that we are not to have any gods before Him.

  2. Ike,

    “Anything to which you give your time, heart, and soul, becomes your God.”

    I think you are absolutely right on that score, Ike.

    I think there are times when we are all guilty of idolatry.

  3. So is it alright to use graven images in a devotional way in our worship of the One True God, or is it a sin and expressly forbidden by God?

    As and aid to worship, I can see the validity of it. Or else one might be in the danger of chopping off one’s foot.

    Is the cross itself, a graven image representing our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus?

    Once again, it really depends if you worship said object or drink off the inspiration of the image, idea, painting, scuptouring etc and then turn to the invisible God in worship.

    Peace,
    Eric.

  4. I think it is wrong to bow down to them or pray to them – Psalm 115 comes to mind, it is a distraction.

    I have crosses and crucifix at home, but I believe it is wrong to venerate them.

    The devotion to the crucifix does not transfer over to Christ, this is again, idolatry in the sense that this is again by works.

    That is at the heart of that.

    LPC

  5. The key in all of this is the manner in which the old nature can venerate something in a manner which is inherently destructive.

    The mis-use of natural gifts (the body, drink and the like) is commonplace, but what equally demeaning corruptions are prevalent amongst the church? Yes, we can identify moments when a sign or symbol becomes abused instead of an aid to faith, but congregations which are orientated towards gnostic and legalistic theology readily trip on this folly just a quickly (and with as much vehemence for their ‘righteousness’). How often do we deceive ourselves, pandering for a spirituality which keeps God ‘away’ from the true and gracious provision of His word and sacraments – isn’t that the real evil which God is seeking to address when He forbids us from such murder?

    When we ‘externalize’ the purpose of this commandment (i.e. “it applies in these cases…so therefore, my deeds are acceptable”), we inherently empty the law of it’s power and intent – to expose how empty ALL of our actions are outside of His saving work.
    In reality, our minds would merely expel us to the labyrinth of idolatry (there is not one that seeks after him) were it not for grace.

  6. John 4:24 God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The commandment forbids worship of things. We need nothing for true worship except Word and Sacrament.

  7. “So is it alright to use graven images in a devotional way in our worship of the One True God, or is it a sin and expressly forbidden by God?” (Steve)

    Good question. What is the purpose of the images we use – that’s really at the heart of what is right and wrong…our intent.

    Images serve no purpose in the kingdom of God – like we cannot truly capture another’s essence in a statue, painting, or song – neither can we do that of God (who is way more mysterious and bigger than us). God likely does not want to be captured because it would make us humans ‘egotistical’ and we would develop God in our image.

    “Is the cross itself, a graven image representing our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus?” (Steve)

    Not really – it’s dependant on motive/intent. Now some people use stuff like this as actual idols – in a very superstitious way. For example, if they leave crucifix in a certain room or hang it from the mirror in the car then they will be protected (or whatever they think that cross will do)…and this is fairly common…it’s why we should not image God.

    “Anything to which you give your time, heart, and soul, becomes your God. God says that we are not to have any gods before Him.” (Ike)

    I have heard this interpretation a lot concerning this passage on ‘idols’ – however – it doesn’t line up. An idol as spoken of in the 10 commandments is a ‘graven image’ created by us for the purpose of worship (see my superstition example). Coveting, something that is actually in the 10 commandments apart from this idolatry commandment, concerning houses and people – means they are not the same (idolaltry and coveting).

    I don’t think sinning is actually idolatry or we stretch that term way tooooo thin (and it becomes meaningless – unknowable almost – because any and everything is idolatry but the word is very clear – it has to be an actual ‘idol’). Now I think humans can become objects of worship – that much I know (but they are an image) – but I would draw the line at an object and not on ideas.

    However, it is true Paul does use idolatry in that Col 3:5 passage in the exact manner you mentioned. Paul must be addressing the ‘worship of self’ idea? We make ourselves the ‘idol’ – the thing of adoration. It is plausible – but if we do that – than the term ‘idolatry’ becomes so vague to be meaningless.

  8. “Images serve no purpose in the kingdom of God”

    So when Christ teaches us by parables, saying ‘the kingdom of God is like’, what’s the purpose?

    “we cannot truly capture another’s essence in a statue, painting, or song”

    So I guess that rules out many of the expressive passages concerning God in the psalms or the Prophets. Didn’t God make us with creative and artistic abilities, and aren’t these to be used (as they were, for example, in the construction of the tabernacle) for His glory – to convey and express the significance of His revelation amidst creation?

    “God likely does not want to be captured because it would make us humans ‘egotistical’ and we would develop God in our image”.

    And how do we weigh such in the light of the fact that we were created in His likeness and image, and He has Himself been ‘captured’ in the incarnation? The fall made us those who were expelled from Eden, but the Lord was the one who walked there with us, who meets His children, so many times, face to face in prior days in spite of that rebellion, who comes amongst us – GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, full of grace and truth, and who will conform us to that life and ‘image’ evidenced on the first easter Sunday. Is that idolatry?

    Like wine, or food, or sex, or any other good thing made ours, we can so easily abuse or deny the place of images or art in general, and thereby miss the far more awful reality of our fearful yet wonderful time here – to invest in all that we are, all that we have, to realize and engage with the true and valuable bounds of our freedom. In this, our fellowship with each other is the means to express that foretaste of an eternal reality – the redemption of our essential creatureliness, redeemed and made whole in Christ. This must become a key element to aid in our departure from idolatry.
    We can certainly venerate (and thereby abuse) something to highly, but we can equally denigrate and thereby demean God’s gifts, making them empty of the very purpose He has invested upon them. Is this not so often the case with our taking of the sacraments?
    If we are truly His, is not the race we are running engaged in re-discovering that ALL of life IS Holy (filled with Him), not detaching sections of it as beyond redemption?

  9. “So when Christ teaches us by parables, saying ‘the kingdom of God is like’, what’s the purpose?” (Howard)

    Parable are not images – they are literary devices – stories – which contain visual imagery (which we use our minds to detail out)…but not icons in any way (which is more in line with the idolatry imagery).

    “So I guess that rules out many of the expressive passages concerning God in the psalms or the Prophets” (Howard)

    Not really – I am just saying we cannot ‘fully’ capture someone else’s essence in those mediums – and in some senses – we do them more for ourselves than for them. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion – I write songs, poetry, and stories based on life and people (even God) all the time – but what s grasped? Only what I know and feel – and if someone else derives meaning from that – we can call that inspiration.

    “And how do we weigh such in the light of the fact that we were created in His likeness and image, and He has Himself been ‘captured’ in the incarnation?” (Howard)

    Do you think God looks like me, you, Steve, or Gandhi? Just throwing 4 examples out there – which one, if we had to pick, does God look like? Imaging provides that problem concerning God. I think we are created in His image – but is that physically or more than that? And if it is physical – look in the mirror – and you will see God.

    “Like wine, or food, or sex, or any other good thing made ours, we can so easily abuse or deny the place of images or art in general” (Howard)

    I actually have no beef with images – unless they are used in a superstitious way – I only speak to intent and motivation caused by that image to the viewer. If the image ‘inspires’ – great! If the ‘image’ starts to become a product of real veneration – I think the image can be destroyed (since what is it – it is nothing but an image and carries nothing).

    If someone needs imagery to worship or what have you – and it enhances the experience for them – have at it. My point is simply that kingdom is not made of these things and God is not an image we can capture.

  10. Many thanks for the reply.

    “Parables are not images – they are …stories – which contain visual imagery”.

    Sure, but you had originally written:
    “Images serve no purpose in the kingdom of God”.

    Clearly, if Jesus uses such illustrations to teach us, ‘images’ are being used with purpose.

    “I am just saying we cannot ‘fully’ capture someone else’s essence in those mediums – and in some senses”

    Any more than the entire cannon of scripture allows us but a glimpse into the depths of His character, but we still seek to study and reflect upon these because they truly ‘speak of Him’.
    (Lewis analogy of the difference between the map and actually being at a particular location is fitting here).
    The Incarnation itself is an astonishing (and, until Christ’s return, probably the most striking) revelation of God with us, but only when He opens eyes and minds can it begin to be received and truly honored.

    “but is that physically or more than that? And if it is physical – look in the mirror – and you will see God”

    I was discussing something similar recently with a non-christian friend, and they asked me where my ‘proof’ was for God’s existence. I extended my hand towards them and said ‘it’s standing in front of me’ No, I don’t see God in my mirror, but I see His handiwork, and that ‘speaks’ of His wonder and the ‘weight’ of His work.

    “If the image ‘inspires’ – great! If the ‘image’ starts to become a product of real veneration – I think the image can be destroyed”.

    I think the trouble here is that when we so esteem such objects, we actually demean their true place or purpose. Is that, perhaps, the true ‘death’ of hell – a realm where, people devoid of their true nature, live without purpose?

  11. “Sure, but you had originally written:
    “Images serve no purpose in the kingdom of God”.” (Howard)

    I still agree – images serve no purpose – but if I need to refine what I mean I think I will…images hold no position in the kingdom of God (as far as purpose).

    No image is going to do anything in the kingdom of God – it won’t hold a door open, it won’t wash our feet, etc. And by image I mean something tangible – a parable is actually not ‘tangible’ – it’s a story where we use our minds to decide the imagery (which is imagery we make in our imaginations).

    But that all being said – I think imagery can be used for a good purpose as you say! A painting can bring out a lot of thought for us as we consider an idea – like prayer or charity. Imagery can be used for good – but imagery only becomes idolatry when someone crosses a weird line of viewing object to adoration/protection of said object.

    I think we need to clarify idolatry more in Christian cirlces?

  12. “images hold no position in the kingdom of God”

    I think that’s a difficult statement – it turns on your use of ‘position’, but you seem to clarify this when stating ‘ no image is going to do anything’ in terms of God’s kingdom.
    If you look at the clarification of Jesus Himself, given to the disciples within an entire group of Kingdom parables (Matthew 13), then his usage of various common imagery is clearly for an intended reason with regards to the kingdom – in this case, to prevent understanding (verse 13).
    To say that images lack the relevance of purpose (your original statement) – (that they are not something designed with a particular intention or design) in relation to defining the Kingdom of God (the nature of the spiritual) is clearly to miss the very intent of Jesus using such word images. In fact, it is only when this imagery is opened up to the disciples by Him that the genuine value and understanding of these images is obtained. Clearly then, parables and much more ‘open’ images given in the scriptures themselves are provided to convey profound spiritual realities which confront each of us.

  13. Images make a lot of trouble. In my church we will have no pictures of Jesus. One of the favorite recruitment techniques of the Black Moslems is to ask, “are you still going to that church with the white Jesus on the wall?” How silly is it to see pictures of handsome Aryan Jesus with his flowing brown hair and blue eyes? Jesus was a Mediterranean Jew.
    Statues hit a weak point in the human heart and invite worship. This worship is by nature idolatry. there is no way to use an idol but in a superstitious way.
    Veneration of anything but God is sin. Why do we need these holdovers from pagan times?
    I know of no one who bows in worship before a cross. The cross is not an object of worship.

  14. “Images make a lot of trouble”.

    In a world tarnished with enmity against God, images, words, in fact the whole weave of fallen life could not do otherwise.
    The example of the parables shows this – images were used here by Jesus to confound and to trouble people. If something is troubling in this fashion, it is usually for very good reason.

    “Statues hit a weak point in the human heart and invite worship”
    Indeed they do, and, as Paul noted at Mars hill, they often express our propensity to be ‘religious’ and thereby mis-use creation, but the remedy is not to simply deride (totally ignore or deny) such a inclination, but to use it for the purpose it was intended – as Paul himself does when he begins his message to the Greeks assembled there by referring to the altar to the ‘unknown god’, believed to be the plinth erected Epimenides some six centuries before.

    “there is no way to use an idol but in a superstitious way”
    If we seek to empower an image with some merit (as was the case in the medieval practices of indulgences) or deify it as ‘god’, then we are indeed investing such objects in a fashion that is folly (however commonplace due to the human condition), but that is very different to using something as a key to unlock an aspect of the faith. I understand in missionary work that cultural symbols have often been used as the means to open peoples to the gospel (indeed, it would appear that many of these were seeded intentionally for that purpose), so imagery can clearly be used in a fashion that is neither superstitious end in their becoming the object of veneration.

    “Veneration of anything but God is sin”
    Then I clearly sinned when I promised in my wedding vows to ‘worship’ my wife with my body, or was that because the Apostle commands me to love my wife as Christ loved the church?
    In reality, my worship (love) of my neighbor is an image of the love of God to the world around me, and is in no manner a sin if it is enjoyed and lived in the way the faith requests.

    “I know of no one who bows in worship before a cross”
    It is when the cross – in its true sense – is ‘placarded’ before us, that we truly focus on Christ and Him crucified, that He is lifted up and men are drawn to Him. The “message” of the cross – of Christ pierced for our iniquities – is indeed the power of God, for only there is there release from the sting of the law and the tyranny of death.
    If our faith were merely symbols, it would be an empty thing indeed, but when the symbols are used properly, they may indeed allow us to see to what they point. The map is not the destination – it allows us to take steps to reach it. We can hear the words, see the illustration, even ‘touch’ the marker or pillar, but without the inner call and work of God, all of our deeds are vain.

  15. Dear L P Cruz,
    Are you familiar with the Seventh Ecumenical Council? It directly contradicts your statement that “…devotion to the Crucifix does not transfer over to Christ.”

    At the 7th EC, St. Basil the Great (whom I believe is commemorated in Lutheran Churches) said the following: “Therefore, it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent adoration, not, however, the veritable worship which, according to our faith, belongs to the Divine Being alone — for the honor accorded to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores in it the reality of what is there represented.”

    I call this to your attention not to be argumentative, but just to make sure you are aware that this issue was dealt with by the Church long ago, and its decision was quite different from your stated opinion.

  16. There is a difference in the spoken or written word and a graven image.
    Look at how many people worship saints, alright they are wrong about it, they are not properly catechized, but they do it in droves. The images of these people become false gods. Pray to st. Christopher for healing, St. Joseph to sell a house. St. Florian for firefighter safety , as many gods as there are days of the year if not more. Our God is a jealous God. worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and do not let Basil confuse you.

  17. “There is a difference in the spoken or written word and a graven image”.

    Just as there is a difference between the idols used by the Greeks and the reality (which they acknowledged) of the ‘unknown God’, but the reality is we see God’s handiwork within the physical work – these ‘images’ speak loudly of Him (note Paul in Romans 1) – the warped response of fallen nature is to corrupt this, but that does not change the fact that these things ‘speak’ clearly of Him. The key problem is not an ‘image’ which points to something deeper, it’s what the fallen human nature does with these things, using them for ill, but in spite of the ruin, His beauty remains and if His word is working upon our minds and hearts, then these become part of the great chorus of praise to the Creator and Redeemer.

    The commandment identifies – as they all do – the propensity of men to twist and corrupt. The work of redemption frees us to use all of life to His glory.

  18. im going to come off sounding like a crazy man here but i think one of the unspoken and unaddressed problems in the church today that is plaguing and crippling our ability to hear and move with god is the mixing of elements.

    god makes it clear in scripture that mixing elements from various traditions outside of what he has commanded brings dire circumstances.

    yet we have mixed so many things with our faith that its no wonder we lack the ability to have an impact on our world. patriotism in the form of flags with the eagle crest in our sanctuaries. paganism in the form of birth celebrations and church easter egg hunts. materialism in the form of multimillion dollar mega-structures. and so many other examples we could list.

    we mix these things and we act as if god doesnt care anymore bc of grace. as if grace is a license to mix these things.

    but we are not as we should be.

    and its not that we have to try harder or give a better effort. that will only add to the problem. we have got to surrender to the father and be made like jesus who saw the temple courts filled with the mixture of worship and greed and ran thru with a whip flippin tables and cleaning house.

  19. Graceshaker wrote:
    “We are not as we should be”.

    That, my friend, is the real nub of the problem.
    Idolatry in all its forms exists for one principal reason, as outlined by Paul in Romans 1 – that we have all been marked with the indelible stain of the true knowledge of God, but we respond with folly, seeking to reduce God to what can be devised by darkened hearts.
    Without that knowledge, notes Luther, idolatry would remain unpracticed, but the world would truly and totally be lost.

    “Jesus who saw the temple courts filled with the mixture of worship and greed and ran through with a whip flipping tables and cleaning house”.

    Yes, and He issues stern warnings when we deviate from the truth (as shown, for example, in His words to the seven churches), but the ‘clearing out’ of ‘obvious’ (?) “paganism” is not usually touching the problem – the dualism, gnosticism and legalism (all of which are clearly identified by the Apostles as the REAL deceit which poisons and devours the flock) remains, so if we are earnest about contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, THAT must be our target – to bring down every high and lofty thing that exalts itself against a true knowledge of God – the wonder and mystery of God manifest in the flesh. That is where the true battle lies.

  20. COMMUNISM & THE DEVIL WORSHIPPING COPYRIGHT LAWS
    3/26/09

    Yep!! You heard me right! Copyright laws are straight from the communist party and second cousin to the devil. “How’s that work?” you say? Well when article 1, sec 8 of the constitution was written it started the largest “bailout” in American history. The founding fathers just wanted to protect artists and inventors from the pirates, and that was very noble of them. Now I have nothing against protecting inventors, after all they do a very large service to all mankind. So this complaint is against the arts only!
    After a couple hundred years and billions of dollars later we are still protecting the artists from what? The answer is, protecting them from competing in the business world. Plain and simple they have a free ride with the aid of the communications and entertainment industries unions, guilds, associations, and their contractors. Unions and that’s what I’m talking about! The largest collection of unions in America bonded together by one kind of glue, “copyright protection”! It’s nothing new, “Ayn Rand”, “Red Star over Hollywood”, “Roy Brewer”, “and Communists in America”, “How Communists Seduced the American Film Industry”, and the list of evidence goes on. The proof is there to be had for anybody that wants to view it. Let’s change the perception that the anti-copyright crowd is always a left wing action. A strong Christian moral right that supports less government and more self sufficiency can replace copyright laws. Government intervention into the business world has always had some kind of repercussion. In this case the artists have found a way to live like kings off the royalties from some simple country song or just a cartoon drawing of an animal. In some cases the “one hit wonders” can support an entire family for several generations from their simple production.
    So what’s wrong with somebody making big bucks from a one hit wonder? First of all it’s “golden calving”. When Moses came down from the mountain and saw that some people had made a golden calf and were worshipping it, he was angered. As should any man of God be! It’s a shame when you see young girls swooning and even fainting in idol worship of a musician or entertainer. That’s what happened when the artists were making the golden calf. The women stood around them remarking on the quality of art, and what great and talented artists they were. In these day’s they would have even gotten a copyright on that calf. Copyright laws suborn IDOL WORSHIP OF GRAVEN IMAGES! Is copyright law part of the Mark of the Beast? Do we treat this kind of idolatry indirectly, going roundabout and with a backhanded ambiguity ignoring it’s true nature? Is it arrogance and folly to claim copyright over God? (Mark 7: 21-22)
    GOD DESTROYED THE PEOPLE OF ALABAMA FOR THEIR IDOL WORSHIP. In the mid 1800’s Alabama was a prosperous thriving state. Mineral explorations found large deposits of iron ore. The state grew wealthy and Birmingham was once named the “magic city” because of it’s incredible growth and prosperity. In 1903 the people of Alabama built a 52-foot tall iron statue of the underworld God Vulcan. It was made completely of iron ore from Alabama, and is the largest statue of its kind in the world. The abomination was created to celebrate Alabama’s great iron industry wealth. People didn’t fall to their knees and pray to this god, but the Lord God of us all was still offended. In just a decade after this Vulcan (largest iron statue in the world) was built the enormous prosperity of Alabama disappeared completely. To this day as the statue sits on a perch overlooking Birmingham the people of Alabama remain one the poorest of all the states. A testimony that idol worship goes beyond praying and serving a false god. “Thou shall have no other Gods before me”. Exodus 20:3, Jeremiah 25:6, Deut 6:14 Is the VULCAN THE LARGEST DEMIGOD GRAVEN IMAGE IN THE WORLD? If so what a shame it is here in America! People of Alabama, God is not slack! If you don’t remove this demon god from your midst our father may bring it down by shaking the ground it stands on!
    THE PARABLE OF THE SIRENS OF ULYSSES. We all know Homers story, and how Ulysses tied himself to the mast of his ship, even as some men jumped to their deaths for want of the sirens song. Those of us who took heed from such tale know there is a real life to it. Men and women drunk and drugged take their lives by the thousands every year. Many are encouraged and hypnotized to end their life with the assistance of seductive music and art. Come on now, its time to “cheapen “the stranglehold hold art has on us. Remember it could be your children next to commit suicide while listening to some Sicko horrible rock song! Hollywood glitter is the real life Sirens of Ulysses!
    Copyright advocates have had a thousand years to develop the perspective that there are an infinite number of copyrightable expressions. Using the word “infinite” almost hypnotizes people. They have cloned in the idea that we must have government protection of the arts. That art as a business could not survive without the assistance of the government. Complicated math combined with the abuse of the infinite and eternal identification leaves today’s copyright lawyers unchallenged. You see THERE REALLY ISN’T 6 BILLION NAMES FOR GOD. That’s just another example of word magic. Oh, if you want to start calling God names like Fred, Bill, Susie, or horse and dog then you will find 6 billion names. Call him rumplstilskin for all I care, but it’s not a true name for God. If it is true then we would see some new kinds of art, we very seldom do! Now we have talking French Fries and Milkshakes because artists can’t find uncontested designs. They are scrapping the bottom of the barrel of creativity. And the only thing under the bottom of the barrel is nothing. HOW MANY MELODIES ARE THERE IN THE UNIVERSE? Go to “everything2.com” and see one guy’s answer. According to the author it almost rivals the infinite. Unfortunately he should have made it “how many copyrightable and tuneful melodies are still uncopyrighted”? Don’t forget to factor in the 25 million hits on the copyright office website (an indication of increased copyright literacy). Multiply exponentially the human population growth rate (approximately 75-80 million per year). Add any increase in Berne convention countries, etc., plus any new systems on recognizing unregistered copyrighted works. When it’s all said and done you may not like what you see. IT MAY BE PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO CREATE NEW MELODIES WITHOUT INFRINGING ON EXISTING COPYRIGHTS! The problem is mathematics which can be applied to all things must be demonstrable and logical to be useful. Any formula would be rife with rifts for debate. I guess that’s why the U.S. Copyright Office has not responded to my request for “how many copyrightable and tuneful melodies are left in the universe”. SO WHY IS CONGRESS PASSING LAWS WITHOUT THE STATISTCS? The Sony Bono copyright extension and all the other new laws are in contempt of science if they didn’t at least try to create a mathematical summary. Just how much does it cost to pay for an inquiry by a team of professionals? I like using country music as an example. It all has pretty much the same twang and lyrics. I have not heard anything different and new from the country music industry in 30 years. The lyrics may vary a little and the names of the artists are different, but country is still just country. You may say the same of rap music or heavy metal, etc. and contrary to what the industry experts say “You Are Right”! We may never in this lifetime prove or disprove how many expressions of any one category can be used for copyright, but at least we can try. Why should FEAR rule the day as it has done so often before? The ancient Catholics banned translating Latin bibles into native languages because they feared losing power.
    One sin begets another! You have let in the golden calf in America. Then the communists took the next sin by unionizing the artists and controlling free enterprise! How many times can they remake King Kong before people stop paying to see it? The answer is forever, as long as the unions make sure it’s the only new release at the cinema. The consequences are we are still living in the dark ages of art. The day the government gets out of the copyright protection business is the day we will see A NEW RENAISSANCE OF ART IN AMERICA. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, thousands of new arts will arise, along with millions of new jobs and businesses. A thousand years of government control in this business has left us weak and dependant. We can prosper and probably make even more money without the government’s protection. YOU SEE PEOPLE WILL PROSPER WITHOUT COPYRIGHT LAW. In fact the artists will probably make more money. They will find ways to distribute their product more effectively. Simultaneous distribution will allow them to maximize their profits. Oh. Sure a small handful of artists might get lost in the shuffle. The true artists will manage by being qualified to create new art on a continuous basis. Manufacturing and distribution will replace the government’s copyright protection. They will control in such a manner as to maximize distribution that will eliminate infringement. No longer will the artists of the gray zone be left out in the cold, having to resort to under the table shenanigans. LAISSEZ-FAIRE- It’s only art. For once let the people run the business without the government!
    Millions of pieces of art that manufactures and distributors will not touch because it might be infringing will immediately be available. They do not want to risk the lawsuits! These gray area arts can have a high probability that is not infringing. Unleash this art into the new renaissance of a copyright free world. Open the market and utilize the manufactures, so they no longer serve the pirate industry.
    WE ARE LIVING IN THE DARK AGES OF ART. My favorite example is the theatre industry. The theatre industry services have not changed much in the last 100 years. We have the same old dusty dark box seating. Soft drinks that have that chemically treated taste, and popcorn with the “other” butter. They don’t have to compete because copyright laws protect them. The new movies are sent to the theatre for a month or two, then on to the cable, and finally on DVD. If we took away copyright protection for the arts the producers and corporate bosses would panic. We’d have them in the sweatbox! It’s fairly obvious they would opt to release all new movies on the same day to the theatre, cable, and DVD. Let them compete for customers! Free enterprise would prevail! We are in the dark ages of movie theatres because futuristic theatres don’t exist. The theatres would have to offer new amenities to attract customers. FUTURISTIC THEATRES COULD INCLUDE: dining options, theme park simulation, cubicles for those that want to talk while viewing (like an old fashioned drive in theatre, but indoors), download availability, and who know what else?
    It’s time for the government to get out of the copyright bailout of artists. Say no to the AM/FM royalties!!!
    COPYRIGHT PROTECTION MADE SENSE HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO. Today we have millions of people per year accessing the copyright offices website. This mushroom cloud of copyright savvy is accelerating into a real monster. Our courts can’t even handle deciphering what is and isn’t infringement. The judges create an enigma of myriading formulas to work with. They have the abstraction test, the subtraction test, the patterns test, and the totality test. Is it extrinsic or intrinsic, is it contributory, and is it similar? The real question is do the judges even have a remote idea of what they are doing? Can we tolerate infringement suits because 4 notes in a melody are similar? Is the copyright mongering corporations creating derivative works solely to expand their percentage of infringement protection? Example: If your percentage of similarity is 20% then create a derivative work that is 20% different and you have a protection from infringers that is 40%. Do the judges know the difference between the eastern scale and western? It is time to take the founding fathers advice and call “Time Out” to copyright protection for the arts! So many people would like to see an end to copyright law. The ease of copy machines, cd, and downloads render copyright obsolete. Those that defend copyright ignore one very important factor. A world without copyright law doesn’t mean artists will be without protection. People are adaptable, and in this high tech generation it’s probable that we can do it better without the government. Even the judge that presided over the NAPSTER TRIAL proposed a plan to reform copyright laws. A plan that would employee manufactures and developers with public and private administrators to oversee rules and regulations, etc. Patel said, “Our copyright laws have become a patchwork of amendments that are adopted as emergencies arise”. Honest people waste hundreds of hours searching for copyright permission only to reach a dead-end. They are more than willing to pay the royalty fee but some times can’t even find out who owns the copyright. What a bunch of crock the government has given us! Then they offer to let us pay an orphan fee, money that goes to the government not the author. It’s like a deadbeat dad paying off the gov instead of the kids. Look how heinous our courts have become that you can’t even place a Christmas bow around a statue. In Prise de Parole vs. Guerin edituer Ltee (a Canadian case) the courts ruled that it’s a MORAL violation to alter art with something as simple as a piece of ribbon.
    REVERSE ENGINEERING LAWS VIOLATE THE AXIOMATIC AGE OLD AND ACCEPTED CONCEPT “SCIENTIFIC INVENTION, DISCOVERY, AND INNOVATION.” Innovation ceases to exist, because we cannot study what has already been created. We become like the Eloi of the H.G. Wells movie, “The Time Machine.” Obey and never ask the How or Why of things. If invention and discovery are the fruits of civilization then innovation is the stem and stalk that makes the flower grow. If our copyright laws existed 10 thousand years ago we would still be talking the wheel. Our modern airplanes are not solely the product of the Wright brother’s invention.

    COPYRIGHT LAWS ARE DEAD
    Like a dinosaur on the verge of extinction it is dead. The belief that there is an unlimited, infinite, bountiful supply of untapped art is now over. It has been replaced by the computer that can create an endless supply of art overnight using computer programs and robotics. Mass production and distribution can delivery billions of pieces of art globally in just a few hours to your doorstep. Only a handful of “uncle toms” still believe that copyright protection serves any useful purpose. As more and more art is created the number of infringement related altercations ties up our courts, creating an enormous backlog. How many times can you draw a cartoon picture of a rat and it still has the identifiable appearance of being a rat? So a small group of people gets copyright and the rest of the world can’t make a living drawing pictures of rats? How is that right for us all? The world is a lot more complicated than it was in the 6th century when King Diarmed copyrighted baby calves.
    “IF CREATIVITY IS A FIELD, COPYRIGHT IS THE FENCE”-John Oswald

    IS CREATIVITY A LEARNED BERHAVIOUR? There sure seems to be some experts that say it is developed. Another thing, is a personal one for me, I call it Universal Thought. Whether or not it’s some kind of mental telepathy or communication from God it does exist. Which means many artists have been given their inspiration, sometimes subconsciously and sometimes directly from the hand of the Father? So it really isn’t your art, its Gods. Don’t believe in God? There is a unity of thought and perception that is dependant upon the wholeness of life’s experiences. No man is an island! (John Donne)
    Please don’t let a few desperate sour pusses destroy our heritage by making free music on radio disappear. That’s what will happen if the stations have to pay to play. Many will switch to talk radio or use more talk to serve as filler between songs. Those artists knew what they were getting into when they began a career in music. The free music on radio has been around for almost 100 years; let’s keep it going awhile longer, for the sake of our American culture and heritage. God said, “Give and it shall be given unto you” Luke 6:38 Oh!, and don’t forget PATTERN THINKING. Pattern thinking is defined as one who organizes ideas and things together in a way that allows them to become useful and fitting to the product or endeavor. Our minds form patterns beginning on the day we are born, and we cannot have them without other forces allowing them to interact with us. Many tattoo artists trace from a pattern. It may look complicated but they trace it just like a paint by numbers coloring book. Many other artists are using patterns memorized from some earlier study. If you really think about it most artists with the help of pattern thinking are almost all infringing to some degree.
    EXPERTS LIKE TO SUGGEST THAT COPYRIGHT LAWS SECURES FIANANCIAL REWARDS FOR AUTHORS. I challenge these experts to prove it. Validate that protections would not happen without the governments hand. These experts would also have us believe that copyright policy serves as a stimulus for creativity. Again I say, “Where is the proof”? It is just as plausible to say “copyright laws stems and stymies like a brick wall against the road of imagination, blocking many artists and inventors from every finding the final destination”. The lack of clarity that infringement brings has the potential for millions of authors to be left out of the design frame. The gray area of legitimacy sparks fear and resentment against the establishment that is manipulated by the upper class of authors and artists. The privileges wealthy copyright holders have garnered affords them monopoly powers capable of “slap suiting” lesser artistic creations out of the ballpark. Ruthless tactics designed to preserve old stale art and keep competition down adorn our halls of entertainment. Pray that they sit on the chopping block of the faux pedestal. The end result is the established dominant authors are not really the genius they have been likened to. Perhaps they are just old tired worn out has beens, unable to compete with new art and clinging to the government protections like a dog that covets his bone collection. And the copyright office may very well cater to these wolves. I’ve heard that it can take up to a year to get some works copyrighted. This can be construed as a tactic to leave new artists standing in the soup line.
    I reiterate that you cannot scientifically prove the necessity of copyright law on our modern society. In all likelihood authors may find greater rewards by learning to protect their works without the government. Quality industrial services in a globalize system of accessibility will prove to be the ultimate protection, and provide greater rewards to the artists. It’s like someone offering to buy 1 million dollars of your product for 5 years of use. Then he offers you an extra 125 thousand if you are willing to take 5 annual payments instead of the lump sum. Anybody that’s owned a small business knows to take the 1 million, because the customer might not come back next year. You’ll have a larger lump sum payout vs. the trickle down royalties that the copyright laws give you.
    Remember copyright protection is ONLY A RIGHT FOR A LIMITED TIME. The founding fathers didn’t authorize eternal services.
    IN THE END BY BREAKING FREE OF THE HOLLYWOODLAND UNION CONTROLS AND GOVERNMENT INDULGENCES WE WILL UNLEASH A TORRENT OF ART, A RENNAISSANCE LIKE NEVER SEEN BEFORE ON THIS PLANET EARTH, AND THE PROFITS WILL SOAR BEYOND IMAGINATION!
    When the transition happens some people will lose out, but new jobs and businesses will be created to replace government control. We will survive and prosper like business as
    Usual. The fluency of the art will resonate without copyright, producing enormous profits for authors, yet keeping a natural check and balance by filtering out the old stale art that has outlived its usefulness.
    THE COURT JESTER IS NOW THE KING. Well it worked out for the better with Reagan, but that doesn’t mean every singer, dancer, actor that has a hair to become a politician will be as good as him. We’ve given to much power and wealth to the artist community. Reduce their stranglehold on our country and let the real politicians get the votes. Hey! Hey! Vote for me I’ve got Big Muscles. Check out my biceps, just the right size for president eh! “Oh what a wicked web we weave when a first we do deceive”. You sowed us copyright law and now the vines of government abuse will suffocate the lifeblood from our souls. Radio paying royalties will equal “HARDCORE” paid advertising and that will be the end of free radio. It was the free music that allowed radio to survive the television. Now we will see an era of RUSH LIMBAUG SPAWNS spewing up across the country like little demons returning to their haunt 10 fold. It won’t matter what side of the fence they represent just as long as it doesn’t exceed the company budget. Let us keep the court jesters in their field of entertainment by eliminating copyright laws. Do you want some Bozo as your circuit court judge or would you have Judge Harvard Yale, a man learned in the science of law and politics? Copyright laws have turned the Bozos into the crème de la crème and they have developed the knack to jump careers into politics at a whim (thanks to the success of Reagan). Don’t expect every song and dance act to be as good as he was!
    AS THE RECESSION ROLLS ON CONGRESS PLOTS TO DESTROY MORE JOBS AND FAMILIES. Millions of unemployed and more businesses on the chopping block of Bill # H.R. 4789. If hundreds or even thousands of radio stations cannot afford to pay the royalties, the next step will be to the poor house. Why take a chance with this bill during the great recession? Just to satisfy a small handful of old washed out artists that cannot compete any longer. They cannot cut new music so they have found the proverbial buried bone in the back yard to dig up. I say, “Put these dogs down”, they are still young enough to learn a new trick or song. Say NO to BILL H.R. 4789
    ARE THE ATROCITES OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LITIGATION HIDDEN FROM THE PUBLIC EYE BY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS AND SLAP SUIT TACTICS? Before congress acts they must get the whole story. Look at the case of Beatty Chadwick a lawyer imprisoned 11 years for not paying child support. Just one example of the dark side, and a government in need of more safeguards. Has anybody in congress seen a categorical survey of the arts potential? If drawing a picture of a carton animal is a category then how many times can you draw a cat without becoming an infringer? It must have some resemblance of a cat, some identification pattern to fit the category. THE CASE OF DMITRY SKLYAROV, he was arrested for creating tools to read encrypted books. In the middle Ages the Catholic Church persecuted scholars who tried to translate Latin bibles into the common languages. In some MUSLIM countries today they still permit Arabic wording only when copying the Koran. Does history repeat itself or not brothers and sisters?? Is there any difference between Islamic fascists that will put a man to death for translating the Koran in another language other than Arabic, and the U.S. government copyright laws that arrested Dmitry for translating encrypted books?
    IS INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY A CONSECRETED RIGHT SOLELY FOR WEALTY COPYRIGHT HOLDERS? Doesn’t our conscience owe us an equal opportunity for all? Many of today’s copyright holders avail themselves to mass production strategies in lieu of simpler age-old systems. Crafters in flea markets, craft and art fairs, basements, and in the garage create art that is outside the realm of big business, and is frequently found to be infringing. It’s not fair to the street corner musician and all the others that work out of a car, bus and boat to make an honest buck. Simple remakes of ancient art altered and online by clever vendors out for a quick buck, along with a plethora of other types are forcing the issue of right and wrong. Yet the only way people can have this art is through the underground and on the Internet. There is obviously a lacking of brotherly love and charity from the copyright holder. The Grand Architect bids us to the common mans struggle like a crusade and an obligation against ignorance, fanaticism, and error. Because in the end we are responsible for our own actions, which means there is a system beyond government copyright law.
    IT DOESN’T TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST AMOUNT OF INTELLIGENCE TO KNOW THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO GET OUT OF THE COPYRIGHT BUSINESS. The constitution has already promised that the government will limit its time of involvement into to the private sector business. Obviously, the Founding Fathers knew that there are not an infinite number of copyrightable expressions.

    “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively posses as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.
    Its peculiar character, too, is that none possess the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He, who receives an idea from me, receives instruction without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.
    That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instructions of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, Like fire expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.
    Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.” -THOMAS JEFFERSON

    IF THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT GET OUT OF THE COPYRIGHT BUSINESS WHAT WILL HAPPEN? One possible action is people could step in and replace the copyright office anyway. Create a system to help poor people get their art copyright protected by registering it online so the time stamps of the Internet could be a partial protection. Such an action would help put the courts in a backlog and tie up litigations for the next hundred years. Free enterprise copyright assistance already exists thru the attorney, but the mantra of service is lacking and they are only out for the quick buck. A discount copyright clearinghouse for the unregistered could take us to a new playing field. With the help from the FOIA freedom of information act one could copy the entire copyright offices business and figure out how to operate it better than the government does. Thank God for the “Creative Commons” people, they are trying to do the right thing by encouraging authors to share their works. Maybe they should be allowed to take over management of the copyright office?
    “WHATS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS ALSO GOOD FOR THE GANDER” or another way to say it is communists work from within the capitalist system by embracing copyright laws as a source of money and influence. Maybe they did outgrow true communism after the fall of the Soviets, but the system is still in place for their eventual take over of the U.S.
    COPYRIGHT LAWS INSTIGATE AN ABOMINATION AGAINST GOD! They allow a conglomeration of the arts to gain momentum and unity for no divine purpose. Where as individuals they may be harmless ungodly works, combined they are a monstrosity of evil that feeds solely on the human palate for passion and greed. Look at how black and white television was replaced with color, and radio with TV. We will dispose of cartoons and sitcoms, dramas and anything else as soon as we are bored and ready for something new. History repeats itself! Do not embrace copyright laws out of fear. Seek the truth in mathematics. “The great architect of the universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician” Sir James Jeans
    “GIVE AND IT WILL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU” What you put into the public domain may come back as new works in some way or fashion.

    Now wouldn’t it be something if thousands of radio stations refused to play any more music rather than pay royalties? We could have an enormous boycott of the new law (if it gets passed).

    Copyright law multiplied by exponential growth factors (EGF) = AAD art at death
    EGF could include: 1. Human population growth 2. Copyright literacy 3. Mass production 4. Copyright laws. 5. Accelerated copyright evolution 6. Convergence factors 7. New technology

    This article is copyright free. Use it or lose it any way you want.

    DARN DOG CAN’T FIND ANY REAL FOOD, SO HE DUG UP THIS OLD BONE FROM OUR BACK YARD! Pic of dog with bone in his mouth and caption on bone reads; am/fm royalty bill is missing. Sorry!

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