I wrote yesterday about religion-based bigotry versus the world of facts and I’m going to touch on that subject again today. It is important that we question the GOP closely on this issue since it’s one so important to them that they insist we all abide by it as well, regardless of our own religions beliefs (or lack thereof). Look at this headline from Right Wing Watch as an example of the recent rhetoric:
James Dobson takes to WorldNetDaily to blast Obama over his support for marriage equality: “I hope you live to regret ripping into the institution of marriage, which has been foundational to the social order of all nations.”
Leaving us some questions about this “institution of marriage” thing. Avaaz.org asked the other day, “What defines a real marriage?” The Republican Party spouts the fundamentalist Christian line that there is something called “traditional” marriage and they like to point at the Old Testament for proof. They like to claim that the “institution” of marriage is between one man and one woman. But their claim and the Old Testament do not line up – there is no “traditional marriage” in the Old Testament as the above graphic (from Upworthy and Unicorn Booty) demonstrates. As Avaaz.org points out, “they should probably stop relying on the Old Testament as backup.”
We see the same bizarre claims made in Republican opposition to abortion, that the Bible somehow backs them up, these God opposes the “slaughter of innocents” when in fact God readily, gleefully and repeatedly engages in the slaughter of not only men, but women, children, unborn children, and their animals. You will see blog after blog claiming that in every instance abortion is mentioned in the Old Testament that it is condemned but again and again abortion is carried out on orders from God and orders from Kings who serve God, as any person who actually bothers to read the Old Testament will see.
2 Kings 15:16: ”He [Menahem, king of Israel] sacked Tiphsah and ripped open all the pregnant women.” Menahem did here exactly what God himself does repeatedly in the Old Testament: he threw a hissy fit because Tiphsah refused to open its gates to him. Their punishment included mass abortions for the women of the city. The Bible does not condemn his actions. How could it? God orders this exact behavior time and again.
Genesis 38:24: Tamar is pregnant. This is found out only 3 months later, proof she had been bumping uglies with somebody. She is a widow. So since she is pregnant, she must be a prostitute, right? We know how this works out in right-wing morality. Her father-in-law orders her to be burned alive, which of course includes burning the fetus alive. Twin fetuses, in fact. No problems there. Toast the little suckers! Then this dirty old man finds out he is in fact the father and changes his mind about crisping them. There is no indication that the fetuses are people or that there is anything wrong morally with murdering them in the womb. Fundamentalists make a big deal about killing “innocent unborn babies” but the fetuses here as elsewhere obviously carry no guilt but are killed or sentenced to die anyway.
Numbers 5:12-31: As Ray Madeiros pointed out in here in March, it is perfectly permissible to put a curse on a woman – if the husband believes she has been adulterous – that will result in miscarriage in the event of her guilt.
Numbers 31:17-18: ”Now, kill all the boys. And kill every women who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” Moses issues this order on behalf of his god while engaging in genocide against the Midianites.
We find the following examples of God’s love in Hosea:
Hosea 9:14: “Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.”
Hosea 9:16: “Yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.”
Hosea 13:15-16: “I will have no compassion…the people of Samaria…will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashes to the ground; their pregnant women ripped open.” It should be obvious here that God is not commanding across-the-board Caesarian sections for the pregnant women of Samaria. He is ordering their wholesale, violent forced abortions. He does not say he loves the “unborn babies” but that he has no compassion. He is killing innocent unborn fetuses because the adults turned away from him – in other words, a fit of anger at being dismissed. We would not think a human who did this was sane. And in fact, God did not like it when others did this exact same thing to his people, as shown in Amos 1:13: “I will not revoke the punishment because they have ripped up women with child in Gilead, that they might enlarge their borders.” Genocide was a way of life in the ancient Middle East and it was a game God played with the best of them.
A fetus wasn’t safe from God’s wrath even after it escaped the birth canal. In 2 Samuel 12:14 when God gets mad at mommies and daddies he sometimes kills their newborn babies: “Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”
God of the Old Testament cares nothing for human life. In fact, human life is less than nothing to him and his repeated and violent tantrums mark him as nothing less than a sociopath, ordering the raping, murdering, and enslaving innocent people, including fetuses. If he took human form, he would have to be arrested and put away for life; he would make Ted Bundy look like an amateur. These are the facts of the Old Testament.
Liberals and progressives must be armed and ready with the facts to dispute the false claims of gullible conservatives as they canvas for votes. Ask them to explain these various and conflicting types of “traditional” marriage. Demand that they cite for you the passage in the Old Testament where “traditional” marriage is defined. When they ask for your vote, whip out your chart (like that above) and ask them which of those forms of “traditional” marriage they’re asking you to support.
Ask them to explain and justify the various examples of God’s violent behavior toward women and unborn children. They will no doubt cite you their favorite passages; let them. Then ask them to explain the above passages to you. Print them out as a handy aid and reference guide. Point to the various biblical passages cited. If abortion is an abomination, why does God order it? Ask them how ripping out unborn babies is a sign of God’s love and opposition to abortion. Demand they justify their claims that God is pro-life.
It isn’t anti-Christian of us to ask these questions and to demand answers. We have a right, and if they wish this to be policy, they have an obligation to explain their reasoning every bit as much as if they were talking about taxation or jobs.
We know that the Bible – Old Testament and New – is full of contradictions, that it is an imperfect document written by imperfect humans over many centuries and often long after the incidents described. In this it is no different than the Iliad. But fundamentalist Christians believe it is the inerrant word of God and as such it can have no contradictions. But if this is so, how to explain side-by-side passages supposedly against and passages clearly for abortion? Unless somebody is lying about what God said, and that can’t be possible in a perfect Bible, how is it God is pro-abortion?
The simple truth is that if, as they claim, Republicans were really demanding that we return to God’s will per the Old Testament, the United States would become a pretty violent place and an international pariah, as you can see from these examples. It wouldn’t be gays being targeted but all men who shave their beards (Leviticus 19:27), for in God’s Old Testament eyes one is as much an abomination as the other. When was the last time you saw an unshaven, thickly-bearded Republican candidate pushing the Bible down your throat? Mitt? Rick? Newt? Ron?
No, not so much….
Fundamentalist Christians aren’t really demanding a return to the Old Testament but to what they think is the Old Testament, a sort of bastardized version of Jewish history to go along with their bastardized interpretation of more recent history. Their love of history as it should have been includes a fantasy Israel.
It is a vision born of ignorance, in most cases, willful ignorance. Nobody is forcing them to pretend they have read and understand the Bible. Most of what they think is in there is not and much of what they don’t think is in there, is. They don’t know this because they haven’t bothered to read the damn book and if they do, they will lie about it anyway because it has to say what they believe it says.
They don’t base their beliefs on the Bible but their beliefs are beliefs about the Bible, which is not at all the same thing. It is certainly for them a mark of shame that atheists, and Heathens like me, know their holy book better than they do themselves.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
39 Replies to “What the Bible Says Versus What Republicans Wish it Said”
It is pretty hideous reading, which is why I tend to avoid it, and the people who immerse themselves in it become pretty hideous, which is why I tend to avoid them.
Re Numbers 5:11-31 — it isn’t just a curse – in that passage God calls for giving a woman an abortifacient if her husband suspects she has been unfaithful
By asking readers to take biblical evidence while questioning fundies when canvasing for votes is asking them them to do the work of a “deprogramer”…You’re asking regular citizens to step up, do a “show and tell” on the cultist and, ask them to change due to the facts…I wish it were that simple.
In some cases doing this delicate dance produces an epiphanies; it will occur by those who have already been internalizing the ultimate as in, how to leave the cult. They want out. The authoritarian control has enveloped them and their family…this gives them the out they’ve been looking for as it was right in front of their eyes…
Others will double down. Those who double down are those who have everything to loose, which usually means a charismatic persona built on the graves and wealth of others…in other words, they’re bottom-feeders who make their living off being con-artist (like Barton); those folks won’t change but look for a new con. Or they are so ignorant that asking them to read and educate themselves borders on asking a cave man to read a book.
It is a noble cause, it is the right thing to do and I’m whole-hardheartedly support this approach. However, the “obleck” (and the burn-out) you get on you from being around those who engage in what Reyn calls “hideous reading is valid.
Just know and understand before you take on this task that there isn’t much choice when confronting those who are afflicted with mind control syndrome…they are “owned” and operated by a darkness that makes sure they’ve suppress human qualities that are their birth right…if you’re going to give them the truth, make sure to shine the light of truth slowly and not directly into their eyes; they haven’t seen it in such a long time, they’ll be blinded like a mole…and run underground, defeating your purpose.
Why doesnt Dobson say the same things about alcohol? Something that destroys marriages on contact?
Traditional marriage as far as I can see in the OT is multiple wives. Mittens should be crowned king
Why is there no Bobbit rule in the Bible? Because this god made women to be helpers and pretty much dogmeat?
All this is just part of why I refuse to be a christian or follow any religion. Its clear none of them are the “true” religion, its clear to me that no religion can be the true religion. The concept of a god who creates a universe and probably more descend to watch over just the Israeli’s & makes rules that punish women at every turn? Bah, humbug. The right wing nut jobs use it only to get into peoples heads and curry favor and support for a false cause
The bitter water is what causes the curse: “And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free this bitter water that causeth the curse…”
Authoritarians never read the religious books that they claim gives them their authority. They don’t have to; they already perfect.
I pretty much agree with you except I’d add two things. First, if someone DOES try to provide a little light to those in the cult, they need to be prepared for a success rate down in the single digit percentages… like 1 out of a hundred. It usually is a massive fail.
Second, I’d also warn people to be very aware of their area and the “atmosphere” and especially the reactions of the person or persons they talk to. I don’t dare do that (“shine truth” to “Good Christians”) most of the time in this area… just telling the truth about creationism (and supporting evolution) in a public setting cost me my workshop and all of the parts and equipment (and irreplaceable manuals/books) in it (arson, no insurance, requests for investigation refused). We also have realized that in the past, shining a little truth in public cost some of our kitties their lives… “Good Christians” WILL poison pets, commit arson, and as Darla Kay Wynne and others have learned – even gotten violently physical. A good friend of mine even says that they’re capable of murder and have done so in the past.
Excellent analysis Hraf – I do think though, that more of the fanatics know all about the nasty parts of the bible and just ignore it. Yesterday I interviewed a Christian who was very aware of god’s hateful edicts and how Republicans use selected passages or fabrications to support their impositions in legislation. Her justification was “anything that gets America back to a bible-based set of laws like the Founders intended has god’s blessing and they won’t stop until every American kneels to god’s power.” Honest to dog, her exact words. We are doomed.
According to what they used to teach, you’re supposed to unquestionably obey authority and “trust God” to make things right.
Problem is, it never happens. (They make sure of that.)
Meanwhile the preachers and the rich/elites laugh all the way to the bank.
RMuse, I have met people like that, too. They take a kind of “shock doctrine” approach, believing that the world is so morally depraved that more extreme (read: banned) action is not only approved but mandated. They got that from the Bible too.
Singhx, you may not convince the speaker, but you can get some of those listening in who have been drawn in but not yet absorbed into the collective.
So, if the bible is all bull crap and God is an evil baby-aborter, shouldn’t all of you be anti-abortion champions?
You say, “Ask them to explain and justify the various examples of God’s violent behavior toward women and unborn children”. So then you admit these are unborn children?
One of the main problems liberals have is that they really don’t understand conservative positions. You imagine every Republican to be some super religious evangelical. You are constantly arguing with a caricature that exists only in your own heads. The truth is that neither I, nor most conservatives could care less whether God is ok with abortion or not. It is simply irrelevant, since the secular biologic arguments against abortion are irrefutable.
You guys like to talk a lot about what you perceive to be absurd belief systems, well let’s discuss the liberal belief system as it pertains to abortion. It seems that the liberal position (generally speaking) is that full personhood occurs upon birth. So, here we have a developmental process that begins at conception and becomes complete around 18 years of age when frontal lobe development is complete. Nonsensically, of all the myriad of processes that occur during development, liberals have chosen to assign movement of the baby out of the uterus as the all-important milestone. How is this any less absurd than believing that a vagina fairy sprinkles us with our humanity as we move through the birth canal?
Shiva, I see your arguments are getting better. Great Job! You even managed not to post a link that directly contradicts yourself.
I didn’t want to “go there” as in, watch out for cultist reactionary acts of terrorizing on others…why?
Because most of those situations deal with people who are FORMER MEMBERS and speak out against the group to the public.
Deprogrammers have no problem going into a “strange” community where they have no ties to the local cult and do their work…the cultist are more afraid of “outsiders” catching on and getting their number than someone who used to be an “insider” one of them–cultist know what buttons to push, what triggers to fire in order to terrorize a former member so that they fear for their lives…outsiders, not so much.
If you are just a doing political “canvasing” for a candidate, I would suggest going to a neighborhood where you aren’t known (where you live or work) as it’s much easier environment to control…and park in a large busy lot, walking to the surrounding neighbors.
Keep in mind, the JW’s/Mormons walk the streets in pairs all them time and invade your privacy parking in unknown locations or having someone pick them up on a corner–giving back or “sharing” with “them” the truth is fair play.
Of course, that’s what I said…their are followers who just need a nudge in the right direction in order to make an informed decision…forget the sociopaths and uber ignorant as you can’t make a dent in their DNA
There is no caricature; we have all met and known (and sometimes married) these people addressed here. When I write, I am speaking from experience. If it makes you feel better to believe otherwise, power to you.
As for your claims about liberalism, make an actual argument and we’ll happily shoot it down.
She is incapable of understanding the word fundamentalist and goes goes on making assumption. Good for a laugh but little else
Humanity, Julia? Apparently the “vagina fairy” was a few sprinkles short the day you were born. Your sweeping generalizations about liberals are snotty, Julia. Everything comes around to abortion for you.
How many foster children do you welcome into your home, Julia? How many special needs children have you adopted, Julia? How many pregnant teens have you helped through their pregnancies after their parents kicked them out of their homes, Julia? If 1/10th of conservatives put their actions where their sanctimony is, maybe someday we could find our way to humanity where abortion no longer exists because every pregnancy is both wanted and supported.
OMG – I just read the mormon oath of vengance against this country, it is apparently taken by all priests of the mormon church, Romney was one. It is some crazy stuff~!~~
J, give us a link, or if you can’t do that, a hard cite.
Julia, your coming into a spiteful, useless existence is one of the greatest arguments for contraception and abortion I can imagine.
(Sigh) those oh-so-Godly churches you defend… I belonged to one, a couple actually so I do know what I’m talking about. The told me that I was only permitted to eat, sleep, read the Bible, pray, work (gotta keep paying those tithes dont’cha know) and “If God drops a girl in your lap, MAYBE we’ll let you marry her”. Meanwhile as I later found out, they were (1) blocking any relationships I might have tried to establish, and (2) blocking me from getting a decent job – and telling me it was “hidden sin” and “need to get closer to God” that was causing all of the misery. I finally couldn’t take any more and walked over 30 years ago. (The treatment meted out was so bad that most of the memories of the three years in those churches was repressed until a couple of years ago.)
While I met my wife within a few weeks of walking and we were married several months later (something that angered those types), they were caught trying to break our marriage as long as 4-5 years after I’d been gone, and I also learned that they’d been blocking me from getting a decent job at least three years after leaving. 20 years after I’d left they were still trying to get us to “return to the fold” including using coercion. So even when I couldn’t remember any details of the time I was in those churches, I knew they were bad people all along.
Their treatment towards people like myself was real Godly… NOT.
The church – the Assemblies of God. Sadly they’re considered mainstream by the more real churches.
Therefore, I know how those churches are and what they think and stand for… and they’ve only gotten worse since then. I remember their hostility towards abortion back then… the attitude that was openly expressed was that it allowed young women to “get away with their sins”. It is attitudes like that which brought me to a realization. They aren’t Christian… I call them “Churches of the anti-Christ” (as in the inverse of Christ) and if you belong to one of them you’d better think about that. They demonstrate just the opposite attitude of that shown by Jesus Himself.
As far as personhood… you’d be surprised at the amount of variation in cultures regarding when a homo sapiens becomes a person. In some cultures, it’s when the woman can first tell she’s pregnant. In a couple, it’s when the child can speak clearly and well enough to demand his or her rights as a member of that culture. Historically, it’s always been at the quickening or later (including the Jews, especially of Jesus’ day).
In essence, you’re forcing your views on everyone else, without considering the consequences to the people you’re doing it to. That is why we get so angry, because while jackasses like you try to force women to “carry to term”, they do nothing to help the person in whatever situation she finds herself and you (collectively and individually) demonstrate a total lack of caring for people.
Julia? THE Julia? Holy crap where have you been grrrl? We miss having your drivel to laugh at on the usual sites.
“…If 1/10th of conservatives put their actions where their sanctimony is…” hi-larious, especially if you’ve ever lived with/been involved with republicans who try to prove they’re deeply committed to ANYTHING other than money or sex that enriches themselves…
Julia reminds me of a woman I knew (one of “them”) who pointed out to me that she “recycled” because she had one of those “bins” where you put your used cans…I asked to see her “bin”–it was a bathroom trash can with a lid with a dirty can and a couple of paper cups, while her trash can was full of all kinds of jars and plastic containers…same thing. These fund’a’loonies who “believe” in the bible, but can’t tell you what’s in it, or even how to use it…
“…The truth is that neither I, nor most conservatives could care less whether God is ok with abortion or not…” Julia
There you have it folks…she and her fleas could care less about what God has to say; you heard it hear first.
Ya’ have to swallow the whole wade or spit it out, Julia. Retribution’s gotta mind of it’s own.
Thank you, John Thomas, for the link.
The Wikipedia entry indicates that the oath is not given now, but it explains the mode of killing Brenda Lafferty and her toddler daughter in the early 1980’s. The Lafferty Brothers may have been a splinter group, but it’s clear that the content of the Oath was known to them.
The notion of “saving” others by killing them is blood-chilling. I suspect that notion is confined neither to Mormons nor to then.
This requires further, clear-headed research.
The Lafferty Brothers did belong to a splinter group, which they left as not extreme enough. In 1984, they slit the throats of Brenda Lafferty and her toddler daughter, Erika, on the basis of a “divine revelation” dictating that “these people be removed”, because Brenda, a “whore”, not only had refused to let her husband, their brother, engage in plural marriage, but encouraged one of her sisters-in-law to leave.
The book, “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Krakauer, details this episode, along with some Mormon history. A movie based on it is supposed to be released this year, but I bet Mimney’s Rottenue gets it suppressed.
You say you don’t need the Bible to argue your case, but please allow me to use it. The Bible’s definition of human life appears to be with the first breath. The breath of life is mentioned often and is also seen with the spirit of life. You have a good point with the developmental model. I would suggest that true human existence starts when the baby takes its first breath, and can live outside of the mother. Yes, there is development later, and yes, the baby isn’t truly independent of the parent, but the baby has a level of independence. It didn’t have that before.
exmormon.org would also have it and a lot more.
Warren Jeffs was building a crematory down at his Texas compound at Waco when the family “architect/engineer” on the project got the willies. It scared him badly to hear Jeffs talk about this “oath” and actually planning on dealing with members (primarily pubescent girls who scorned him) in this fashion; that’s when he went to the authorities.
Jeffs was going to use the “wood-chipper” then burn the evidence…why doesn’t anyone ever ask Romney about his religion and Warren Jeffs?
Here is the article; below is the excerpt.
This is only a “model” of what is to come if the radical fundamentalist keep bullying and steeple-jacking America.
“…With no check on his power, Jeffs appears to be inching closer to re-instituting some of the most radical aspects of early 19th-century Mormon doctrine, including “blood atonement,” or ritualistic human sacrifice.
A former FLDS member who left the church in April tells New Times he believes Jeffs is building a blood-atonement room in the Texas temple where sinners’ throats would be slit and their bodies burned in a DNA-incinerating crematory. It is believed by strict constructionists of FLDS doctrine that this last-gasp ritual is sometimes necessary to ensure a sinner’s eternal salvation.
Robert Richter says he left the church in April while he was working on a “secret project” to build computer controls for an extremely high-temperature thermostat that he now fears could be used to operate such a crematory at the temple to dispose of the remains of blood-atonement victims.
Richter says he was told to design controls to operate a thermostat that could handle temperatures up to 2,700 degrees. At that heat level, DNA is destroyed. Richter says he felt unqualified to handle such a project and wondered why YFZ officials did not hire a licensed specialist to do the work.
Richter says he was deeply troubled when he was told his work on the thermostat controls was to be kept secret. Richter, who was working in Colorado City, says he knew the thermostat was to be used in conjunction with a furnace, but he was not allowed to speak to other FLDS technicians working in Texas about the project.
The secrecy disturbed him to the point that he decided to leave the FLDS..”
I’m inclined to think that Rott is more deeply tarred by his connection to the PNAC crowd than by any shadowy nexus between the Laffertys/Warren Jeffs and the mainstream LDS, but…yeah, it’s creepy.
You nailed it, Hraf! They thump their bibles in a cloud of purity of Elizabethan magnitude – kicking and screaming as they are forced to live in a time of modernity in a post-enlightenment age – and facts ALWAYS get in their way!
I was raised with this scripture-twisted theology from my mother. Like you, my knowledge comes from experience, not just study. They cannot have it both ways – pull select verbiage that is a translated version as it is – and use the authority of the Bible to set rules that accommodate their biblical worldview, yet deny the facts that contradict them.
You are missing two of the key aspects of understanding the Bible – context and God’s command vs. Our actions.
You have to at least attempt to understand the culture of the time and how the Israelites were set apart as well as the typical war tactics. For example, if someone from the 50s tried to understand our culture today without understanding how little our culture thinks of sex, they would be baffled.
Also, It’s important to differentiate the behavior of the people in the Bible with what God endorses. It’s not hard to see God’s judgement and condemnation of many of the acts you have highlighted.
Happy to talk, if you are willing to consider another perspective.
She sounds like the Islamic extremists who claim “lying is permitted to further the cause of Islam,” doesn’t she?
I note that this entire article was about the Judeo-Christian cult vs. marriage – as if marriage was made up in the Middle East during the Bronze and Iron Age.
Marriage has been a feature of 99% of all cultures throughout human history.
It was not made up during the Bronze/Iron Age by worshipers of Yahweh/Jehovah/God.
Marriage has absolutely nothing to do with Middle Eastern RELIGIOUS values or traditions, except that it was USURPED by it by the majority of our ancestors who had that cult background.
Christians in the US who believe differently are proving that they know nothing whatsoever about history or the Bible they’ve never read.
You liberals are so mixed up its unbelieveable. I can out smart any of you anyday, anytime, anyplace, I prove liberals wronmg all the time. You’re not so smart as all of you think you are.
Is that you Con-Heart?
Or is it “Julia” trying to control the conversation by flipping her bangs at us again…
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