Easter weekend brought another showing of the movie, The Ten Commandments. I confess I had to watch Charlton Heston, err…rather Moses, lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt and safely across the Red Sea. It’s one of those movies that I always have to stop and watch at least a couple of minutes, even though I have seen it numerous times.
This past week, I was playing around with some Google features and ran across an article by Bruce Feiler – who I enjoy as an author – entitled “Ten Secrets of The Ten Commandments.” At first thinking it was some insight into the commands given to Moses recorded in Exodus, I soon discovered the ten secrets were about Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 movie. One that particularly interested me was this:
As part of his plan to spread biblical values, DeMille persuaded Paramount to pay for granite monoliths of the Ten Commandments to be placed in public squares across the country. Over 4,000 were made. One of these monuments, in Austin, Texas, became the basis for the Supreme Court decision in 2005 that allowed the Ten Commandments on public property if they had a secular purpose. A publicity stunt for The Ten Commandments became the basis of landmark U.S. law.
You can read my thoughts on the public display of the Ten Commandments and the other secrets mentioned in the full article, but I wonder if it would change the conversation to know that some of the monuments being fought to preserve were remnants from a marketing campaign – albeit perhaps a well-intentioned campaign – to promote the movie?