More From The Biblical Stoning & Legalized Slavery Movement
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 12:13:45 AM EST
In 1998, a controversy broke out over Christian reconstructionist advocacy for stoning as a legal penalty for a range of infractions listed in the Old Testament. This scandal is more timely now because, at the time the controversy erupted, a key adviser who was working to get Mike Huckabee re-elected as Arkansas Governor had also just started contributing articles to a leading reconstructionist website and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has endorsed that man's latest (reconstructionist-linked) political endeavor.
[ for that timelier, newsier aspect of this story please see Huckabee Endorses His Christian Reconstructionist Arkansas Policy Adviser. The following is merely an account of the minor 1998 flap over Biblical stoning. ]

***

"For connoisseurs of surrealism on the American right, it's hard to beat an exchange that appeared about a decade ago in the Heritage Foundation magazine Policy Review. It started when two associates of the Rev. Jerry Falwell wrote an article which criticized Christian Reconstructionism, the influential movement led by theologian Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, for advocating positions that even they as committed fundamentalists found "scary...."

On the website of the National Reform Association one can actually find an artifact, by Daniel Lance Herrick, titled Table of Death Penalty Laws in the Pentateuch which, explains the article introduction, "is a sidebar for Why Execute Murderers? which was published in the May - June, 2000 issue of The Christian Statesman."

Herrick's article contains a series of grid boxes that delineate various offenses, per the Old Testament, that are described in the Old Testament as punishable by stoning to death. the "crimes" demanding communal stoning to death according to Herrick are:

  •  Idol Worship
  •  Witchcraft
  •  Blasphemy
  •  Cursing the Lord
  •  Violating the Sabbath
  •  Enticing to Idolatry
  •  Women who marry but are not virgins
  •  Adultery

As Frederick Clarkson, in his landmark 1994 article on Christian Reconstructionism (otherwise known as Theonomy) at The Public Eye entitled Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence, gives provides a list of of capital crimes under Christian Reconstructionism, or Theonomy, and some helpful context:

Epitomizing the Reconstructionist idea of Biblical "warfare" is the centrality of capital punishment under Biblical Law. Doctrinal leaders (notably Rushdoony, North, and Bahnsen) call for the death penalty for a wide range of crimes in addition to such contemporary capital crimes as rape, kidnapping, and murder. Death is also the punishment for apostasy (abandonment of the faith), heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, "sodomy or homosexuality," incest, striking a parent, incorrigible juvenile delinquency, and, in the case of women, "unchastity before marriage."

According to Gary North, women who have abortions should be publicly executed, "along with those who advised them to abort their children." Rushdoony concludes: "God's government prevails, and His alternatives are clear-cut: either men and nations obey His laws, or God invokes the death penalty against them." Reconstructionists insist that "the death penalty is the maximum, not necessarily the mandatory penalty." However, such judgments may depend less on Biblical Principles than on which faction gains power in the theocratic republic. The potential for bloodthirsty episodes on the order of the Salem witchcraft trials or the Spanish Inquisition is inadvertently revealed by Reconstructionist theologian Rev. Ray Sutton, who claims that the Reconstructed Biblical theocracies would be "happy" places, to which people would flock because "capital punishment is one of the best evangelistic tools of a society."

The Biblically approved methods of execution include burning (at the stake for example), stoning, hanging, and "the sword." Gary North, the self-described economist of Reconstructionism, prefers stoning because, among other things, stones are cheap, plentiful, and convenient. Punishments for non-capital crimes generally involve whipping, restitution in the form of indentured servitude, or slavery. Prisons would likely be only temporary holding tanks, prior to imposition of the actual sentence.

Such bloodthirsty aspects of Christian Reconstructionism rarely get publicly discussed, but one of the exceptions was during a controversy that broke out, in 1998, over an article written by William O. Einwechter entitled Stoning Disobedient Children? which provoked a deliciously sardonic response in Reason Online, a magazine that has specialized (among other things), ironically, in Global Warming denialism. Nonetheless, Walter Olson's 1998  Invitation to a Stoning: Getting cozy with theocrats managed to capture something especially characteristic of Christian Reconstructionists - they can be (and usually are) sticklers for detail:

For connoisseurs of surrealism on the American right, it's hard to beat an exchange that appeared about a decade ago in the Heritage Foundation magazine Policy Review. It started when two associates of the Rev. Jerry Falwell wrote an article which criticized Christian Reconstructionism, the influential movement led by theologian Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, for advocating positions that even they as committed fundamentalists found "scary." Among Reconstructionism's highlights, the article cited support for laws "mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards." The Rev. Rushdoony fired off a letter to the editor complaining that the article had got his followers' views all wrong: They didn't intend to put drunkards to death.

Ah, yes, accuracy does count.

In reaction to Olson's article, an obviously bristling Reconstructionist leader Adam Sandlin wrote in to Reason Online with the following rebuttal:

Protruding conspicuously through the facade of smirking paranoia in Walter Olson's screed against Christian Reconstruction is the outline of the ever-widening chasm between secular rationalists known as libertarians on one side and, on the other, Christians dedicated to re-establishing Christian civilization, by which alone true political freedom is possible. In what he obviously considers gleeful revelations of our dedication to taking seriously the whole Bible, Olson conveniently neglects to mention Rushdoony's conviction in Law and Society that the biblical civil codes are designed for a nation in covenant with God, not modern Western secular democracies which are at war with God.

William O. Einwechter, who professed to be taken aback by the controversy his "Stoning Disobedient Children?" had provoked, wrote a follow up to the article entitled "Stoning Disobedient Children?" Revisited:

When I wrote the article for the Chalcedon Report on Deuteronomy 21:18-21, "Stoning Disobedient Children?", little did I anticipate the notoriety this short essay would achieve. Apparently, it caught the attention of Rev. Barry Lynn and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), and this organization sent out a press release on February 18, 1999 with the heading, "Bible Requires Death by Stoning for 'Rebellious' Teenagers, says PA. Preacher....

AU's philosophy seems to be: Why enter into serious discussion or interact on a theological or philosophical basis with those that you disagree with if you can simply marginalize your opponent by distortion and inflammatory words?

But Lynn and AU were not finished yet with their use of the article on Deuteronomy 21:18-21. In the October 2001 issue of Church & State, the AU ran an article on the National Reform Association.3 The article, written by Rob Boston, began with this sentence: "The Rev. William Einwechter has a novel solution to the problem of incorrigible juvenile delinquents--stone them." Boston then gave his summary of the article and indicated that I serve as the vice president of the NRA....

Einwechter went on to describe how AU leveraged his "Stoning Disobedient Children?" to generate national publicity that persuaded Pennsylvania US Congressman Joe Pitts to cancel his appearance at a 2002 National Reform Association conference

...In the press release, AU made a predictable reference to the Chalcedon Report article saying, "One sponsor of this weekend's event, the Rev. William Einwechter, argued in a 1999 article that juvenile delinquents should be stoned to death." The pressure by AU and others caused the PA Congressman, Joe Pitts, to cancel his appearance (who wants to appear on the podium with a man who wants to stone disobedient children?)

Einwechter was obviously taken aback and felt unfairly attacked - in his article he had taken pains to make clear he didn't hold that children should be stoned but, rather, teenagers who were more like adults and had become truly, obnoxiously, corrupt and abusive. Had Einwechter reflected a bit, he might have seen how his position could have been misinterpreted because teenagers are quite often considerable trouble due to the hormonal vicissitudes of puberty. It's worth noting, additionally, that Einwechtwer is a leading reconstructionist thinker but not its sole spokesperson by any means.

Another major spokesperson for Reconstructionism is Andrew Sandlin who wrote, concerning slavery, in an article published on the  National Reform Association website entitled Jesus and Politics:

If  we are elected to political office, we must glorify God. We do this by obeying the Bible. And Jesus Christ himself confirms the authority of Old Testament civil law as properly enforced in the state....

Every area of life should be Christianized, including the state.

....Finally, this answers the question of whether Christianity is either a radical or a reactionary force. If we had listened to many of the "Jesus People" in 60s and 70s, we would have heard that Jesus was a revolutionary political radical... At the opposite end of the spectrum are those today who charge that Jesus Christ and his followers were politically and socially reactionary: women are held to be subordinate to men, slavery is permissible, private property is inviolable, and so forth. In other words, some leftists use the Bible to prove that the Bible supports leftism, while other leftists attack the Bible because it is anti-leftism. The former consider the message of Christ and the Bible radical, while the later consider it reactionary.

Sandlin offers the view that the Bible is neither revolutionary or reactionary in political terms. But he makes it clear that, in his view, Jesus condoned slavery.

William O. Einwechter also appears to hold a pro-slavery position and argues, in the following audio sermon A Christian Perspective on Slavery, that the issue of whether one is a slave or a master is actually irrelevant because, though slaves have the duty to honor and obey their masters, all are equal - spiritually at least - before God.

In short, Theonomy is simple - the templates for Christian governance, Christian (Biblical) Law and all manner of human behavior and societal structure can and must be derived from a close, literal reading of the Bible.

Whose Bible ? Probably the King James version.




Display:
Death is also the punishment for apostasy (abandonment of the faith), heresy...

Ah but who decides? Some of us might think Gary North and the rest of his ilk are the heretics and start gathering our rocks up, eh?

Except for that pesky Jesus in John 8:2-11

"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone .."

by ds on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 02:54:47 AM EST

Pay no mind, that's just a metaphor. And, worry not as to the consumption of shellfish....

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 06:12:27 AM EST
Parent
in colors not found in nature.

by nogodsnomasters on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:45:13 AM EST
Parent
All I wear are my three identical homespun Yak-wool hairshirt tunics.

They prevent excessive identification with the sins of the flesh.

;)

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 01:47:08 PM EST
Parent





"Ah, but the rules are for THEM, not US."

(That is what I expect to hear!)

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 03:06:26 PM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.Yet that's what......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And `Biblical Law' In America
Every now and then, while scanning the day's news, I come across a headline that's hard to believe.Like this one: "California lawyer proposes ballot......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Will our Prisons Overflow with Christians this Summer?
Many leaders of the Christian Right, from megachurch pastors like Rick Warren to the top prelates in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Say You Want A Christian Nation?: Let's Try This One
Last week an article began circulating on social media claiming that 57 percent of Republicans in a recent poll said they believe Christianity should......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Are The Fundamentalists Winning?
We missed Evolution Weekend, which was held February 13-15 this year.   This worthwhile effort, which began the same year as Talk to Action,......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Mario Cuomo's Memorable Lesson on Challenging the Political Authority of the Church
It is never too late to remember. Here is a reposting of a column I did following the death of former New York Gov.......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Legacy of Francis Bellamy
"We assemble here that we, too, may exalt the free school that embodies the American principles of universal enlightenment and equality; the most characteristic......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
The Inquisitional Urge Gets the Better of Bill Donohue (Again)
Bill Donohue is at it again. The Catholic League president went apoplectic over President Obama’s seemingly innocuous comments at the February 5th National Prayer......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
John Dorhauer Recommended to Lead United Church of Christ
I am very pleased to report that John Dorhauer, who joined us early on at Talk to Action has been recommended by a national......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)

Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (8 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (2 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (1 comment)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.