Friday, April 02, 2010

Using the Bible for a Roadmap -- to Death!

In November 2009 the state of Texas (of course) executed 32-year-old Kristian Oliver after he was convicted earlier last year of murder.

You may recall this case. This was the one where the jurors passed around a copy of the Xian Bible during sentencing deliberations, with the appropriate "death penalty" passages highlighted.

Okay, even putting aside the obvious Church-State issues, is this really the way we want our jurors to behave, putting a man's life on the line for something written in a 2000+ year old book of grim fairy tales?

Anyway, this got me to thinking about the verses in the Xian Bible that support, even demand ("he shall surely be put to death"), the death penalty. I recalled that there were a lot of them, but after checking out this Wikipedia entry, I was surprised not only at the number but also at the nature of some of the "crimes" for which one could be surely put to death:

1. Religious Crimes:
  • Sacrificing to gods other than God alone [Exodus 22:20; Leviticus 27:29]
  • Passing children through the fire (human sacrifice) [Leviticus 20:1-5]
  • Worshipping Baal Peor [Numbers 25:1-9]
  • False prophecy [Deuteronomy 13:1-10; Deuteronomy 17:2-7; 18:20-22]
  • Necromancy, masters over ghosts and those who gain information from the dead, gastromancy and enchantment [Leviticus 20:27]
  • Witchcraft [Exodus 22:18].
  • Blasphemy [Leviticus 24:10-16]
  • Sabbath breaking [Exodus 31:14; Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36]
2. Sexual Practices:
  • Rape by a man of a betrothed woman in the countryside [Deuteronomy 22:25-27]
  • Being either participant in urban sexual activity, in which a betrothed woman consensually loses her virginity to a man [Deuteronomy 22:23-24]
  • Loss of virginity by a woman prior to marriage, to someone other than her husband [Deuteronomy 22:13-21]
  • Adultery with a married woman [Leviticus 20:10]. Sexual activity between a married man and an unmarried woman was not forbidden.
  • Marrying your wife's mother [Leviticus 20:14]
  • Certain forms of incest, namely if it involves the father's wife or a daughter-in-law [Leviticus 20:11-12]. Other forms of incest receive lesser punishment; sexual activity with a sister/stepsister is given excommunication for a punishment [Leviticus 20:17]; if it involves a brother's wife or an uncle's wife it is just cursed [Leviticus 20:20-21]; and sexual activity with an aunt that is a blood relation is merely criticised [Leviticus 20:19].
  • Prostitution by the daughter of a priest [Leviticus 21:9]
  • Certain "activities" with a male [Leviticus 20:13; Leviticus 18:22]; the gender of the target of the command is commonly understood to be male, but not explicitly stated.
  • Bestiality [Exodus 22:19]
3. Miscellaneous:
  • Murder [Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12-14; Leviticus 24:17-23; Numbers 35:9-34]
  • Striking a parent [Exodus 21:15]
  • Cursing a parent [Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9]
  • Being a "degenerate son" [Deuteronomy 21:18-21]
  • Kidnapping [Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7]
  • Negligent homicide, specifically by ox-goring [Exodus 21:28-32]
  • Contempt of court [Deuteronomy 17:8-13]
  • False witness to a capital crime [Deuteronomy 19:15-21]
What is particularly striking in this all-encompassing list is that there is nothing in there from the New Testament, which it seems, ought to have precedence over the Old Testament -- as Joshua bar Joseph himself implied -- but after all, that wimpy New Testament Jesus has become something of an embarrassment to the purveyors of the faith, which is why they are now embarked on a quest to silence him and all that Prince of Peace love-thy-neighbor turn-the-other-cheek crap of his.

This is just a little taste of the kind of criminal law that will rule this nation if the Religious Right Dominionists get their way and we become the theocracy they want. These people are domestic terrorists of the first order, and they are infinitely more dangerous than a few disgruntled radical Islamists hankering for those seventy virgins.

So please, consider joining an organization such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State and help us hold back the rising tide of radical Christianist theocratic fascism.