It has been disturbing of late to hear politicians and pundits maligning one of the world’s great religions, reasoning (if that’s the right word to describe the process) that the actions of fundamentalists reveal the nature of the religion as one that counsels brutality, slavery, murder and death. It is perhaps not surprising — given that these fundamentalists have been responsible for virtually every violent act of terrorism in the United States since 9/11/2001 — that they have drawn so much invective down upon their whole belief system. I resolved to put the matter to rest by doing what none of the commenters seem to have done; by reading closely what the unfamiliar scriptures actually have to say.
Sadly, I must report that instead of debunking the defamers, I found confirmation of what many of us thought were reprehensible slanders.
When you go in search of the truth, you just never know what you’re going to get. Unpleasant though it may be, let me share some examples, found in what these deluded people call their “holy” book, of mandated and prohibited practices.
Mandated: Slavery. It is not only condoned here, but recommended, along with a manual of best practices: one should buy them only from neighboring countries or from people with temporary visas (1); if you snag a Hebrew male, you have to turn him loose after seven years, but of course there is no such provision for the females (2).
Mandated: Keeping the Sabbath. Any person who sees another doing work on the Sabbath Day is required to kill him. Keeping the Sabbath is “holy to the Lord,” so much so that the death sentence is made explicit three times (3).
Prohibited: Swearing. Anyone who blasphemes is to be taken out by all who heard the words and stoned to death. No exceptions for foreigners (4).
Prohibited: Adultery. Whether it’s plain vanilla adultery, incest, gay sex or bestiality, it’s all the same — both participants must be put to death (5).
Prohibited: Impaired Worship. This one I have to quote verbatim: “No man who has any defect may come near [the altar of the Lord]: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.” (6)
Prohibited: Tattoos. “Do not…put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” As the death penalty is not specified here, one assumes that a severe lashing will do (7).
Prohibited: Barberism. It is forbidden to trim the hair on the side of the head, or to trim the beard (8).
There are, one supposes, more proscriptions in this vein, similarly addled in their intent and barbaric in their punishments. But enough. Clearly, the case has been made, and we ought to deny all these people residence in our country. Our homeland security depends upon it.
Oh, and for those committed to truth, the whole and nothing but, all of the edicts cited here can be found in Leviticus and Exodus, in the Christian Bible. Specifically:
- Leviticus 25: 44-45
- Exodus 21: 2,7
- Exodus 31: 14, 15 Exodus 35:2
- Leviticus 20:14
- Leviticus 24: 10-16
- Leviticus 21: 18-20
- Leviticus 19:28
- Leviticus 19:27