I've been reading some pretty outraged comments online, most of them denouncing Moroccans as savages, inhuman, animals, etc. This is certainly a horrifying story and I can understand why people are so upset: The suicide of a Moroccan teenager
March 16, 2012

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I've been reading some pretty outraged comments online, most of them denouncing Moroccans as savages, inhuman, animals, etc. This is certainly a horrifying story and I can understand why people are so upset:

The suicide of a Moroccan teenager who reportedly had been forced to marry her rapist has spurred calls from around the world to change criminal laws long lamented by Moroccan feminists.

Human rights groups complain that Moroccan law has been interpreted to allow someone who rapes a minor to escape punishment if he marries the victim. Moroccan media reported that was what happened to Amina Filali, a 16-year-old who reportedly swallowed rat poison Saturday.

"It is unfortunately a recurring phenomenon," Fouzia Assouli, the president of the Democratic League for Women's Rights, told the Associated Press. "We have been asking for years for the cancellation of Article 475 of the penal code, which allows the rapist to escape justice.”

What kind of backwards patriarchal thinking reduces women — rape victims, even — to mere chattel, to be married off as a remedy for their family's honor? Don't be so quick to look down your nose, because that would also be that all-American favorite, the Bible. Deuteronomy 22:28-29:

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

So another desert tribe had pretty much the same law. Yes, but that was 2000 years ago! What kind of crazy people would try to impose ancient tribal rule on a modern society as its legal code? Just about any right-wing politician:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. -- Leviticus 20:13

Even though the latest translations of the Bible say this is a complete misinterpretation.

Neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee. -- Leviticus 19:19

Looks like we need the fabric police!

When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. -- Deuteronomy 25:11-12

This would not only ruin most episodes of "Cops," it would put professional wrestling out of business.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor -- Exodus 20:16

Unless you work as a political spin doctor.

Do not go around as a gossiper among your people... -- Leviticus 19:16

Unless you're trying to sell opposition research to a media outlet.

They shall be stoned with stones, their blood shall be upon them. -- Leviticus 20:27

Among the Biblical reasons for which death is prescribed: homosexuality, adultery, gluttony, astrology, being a disrespectful child, being a drunken son, blasphemy, breaking the Sabbath, and most importantly, eating seafood.

If you killed all the gay staffers on Capitol Hill, there would be no one left to run the place. If you killed all the adulterous politicians, there would be only a handful left. If you killed all the people who faithfully read their horoscopes, you wouldn't have many voters left. And if you killed all the people who broke the Sabbath by watching football, well, ditto.

So why aren't fundamentalist Christians, who claim to follow the literal interpretation of the Bible, out smiting and killing people in the name of the Lord? (Most of them aren't, anyway.) Why aren't they picketing seafood restaurants, screaming at people to turn back and save their souls before they eat the unclean food?

Because deep down, they know how absurdly contradictory these ancient laws are. They know they are picking and choosing from these Biblical injunctions (even though the Lord tells them they have to keep all of them. Leviticus 26:14-16 that "If you do not obey me and do not carry out all of these commandments, if instead, you reject my statutes, and if your soul abhors my ordinances so as not to carry out all my commandments ...I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up." ).

So most of them are hypocrite enough to ignore the rest, thank God. (As we've seen in some of the more extreme religious sects, the ones who do follow all these ancient tribal laws are pretty crazy -- because, as I've pointed out, they were written for a 2000-year-old desert tribe.)

This is why, once we start trying to codify the Bible into our legal system, things get nuts.

No question that some of that old-time religion still holds great appeal to the New Christian Taliban — namely, anything having to do with girly bits.

There is nothing in the Bible about abortion. The closest we get is Exodus 21:22-25, which says if a woman has a miscarriage as the result of a fight, the man who caused it should be fined. If the woman dies, however, the culprit must be killed.

But surely God doesn't want people killing babies?

About Babylon, the Bible states, Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks (Psalms 137:9). And: Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. (Isaiah 13:15–16). Not so baby-friendly. So where did the idea that God wants to protect fetuses come from?

In Numbers 5:27-28, we even have a recommendation for abortion if an adulterous woman become pregnant:

If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.

If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

There's plenty more where that came from, but I've made my point. Those who try to selectively impose this ancient code on a modern society will suffer from a severe cognitive dissonance, and people of good conscience would do well to reject every single attempt they make to get the rest of us in line with their mythologies.

Because you'll notice the one Bible quote they carefully avoid? "The greatest of these is love."

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