Before further discussing an article by a Westernised Christian lady, I want to quickly shift to Lizzie’s misuse of a well-known suspected New Testament forgery.
Elizabeth Lizzie Schofield: Jesus stopped a stoning in its tracks with a simple challenge to the crowd: “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:11 ). In so doing he also overturned the Mosaic law on stoning.
This is just staggering beyond belief. Does nobody at St Nicholas Church Tooting know this verse is considered a suspected forgery or was this knowledge discarded so it could be used to dampen the difficulties amongst Westernised Christians in the church when it comes to reconciling Western liberal humanism of being anti-stoning with the church belief Trinitarian church version of (TCVO ) Jesus ordered stoning in the Bible (see below for some examples of TCVO Jesus ordering stoning)?
The story of the woman taken in adultery is a well known suspected Bible forgery. Come on folks, do allow facts to get in the way of what you think is a good story! If you don’t, you’re just doing propaganda. To be honest this whole piece just reeks of a pretence to inject “Christian” propaganda into a story about the suffering of a little girl and the outrage of a nation.
Elizabeth Schofield of St Nicholas Church Tooting begins by talking compassionately and commendably about a little girl who was abducted, raped and killed in a Pakistan.
Lizzie Schofield: Earlier this month, a 6 year old girl, Zainab, was abducted after attending a tuition centre near her home town of Kasur in Pakistan, then raped, killed and thrown on a rubbish heap. This appalling case has gone viral, along with a petition on change.org.
OK, so far so good.
Now it just turns in to a diatribe against Islam and shallow evangelical propaganda based on some petition on change.org calling for capital punishment. If the capital reason for the blog was to just bash Islam and do some Trinitarian evangelism, why talk about this poor child? It could be perceived as a lack of decorum, are you not appearing to be misappropriating her horrific killing for your own little anti-Islam agenda? Not good, if that was the aim of the article.
Lizzie: Citing another case of child rape in Iran, the petition is asking the Supreme Court of Pakistan to hang the culprits “in front of a large crowd, so that other potential rapists learn a lesson.”
This is a common reaction amongst people of every nation after horrific news stories involving children, it happens in the UK too.
Lizzie: As horrific and shocking as this case is, since when was justice best served through such barbaric punishment? There is no doubt it is Islamic – Muhammad ordered the stoning of a rapist, as well as the stoning of adulterers, and stonings are still common in some parts of the Islamic world. But stoning is execution by torture and goes against the UN declaration of human rights. As such it also violates change.org’s community guidelines on inciting violence (I flagged it.)
The positive, we got an anti-Islam Christian admit rape is not allowed in Islam. The number of years I’ve been battling on the net against a conveyor-belt of automaton-type Islamophobes (many of whom are evangelical Trinitarian Christians) to counter their wild-eyed propaganda of rape being allowed in Islam.
As for her propaganda about stoning being “barbaric”, I don’t agree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want to be stoned, far from it. I’m just saying stoning as a state legislated punishment is not “barbaric” and evil.
Of course, “barbaric” is a subjective word here. For some, any death penalty is seen as barbaric. For others putting a human being in prison ( a relatively new phenomena in the history of human society) for a lengthy stretch of time (never mind for life) may be seen as barbaric.
As US law professor Peter Moskos recently pointed out in his book In Defense of Flogging, the notion that imprisoning someone in a cell is somehow more humane than subjecting them to brief but intense bodily pain is a collective cultural fiction. And it is totally belied by the reality of prison-life in America. Even societies in which vicious corporal punishment was common, notes Moskos, “rarely if ever placed a human being in a cell for punishment.” “Consequently,” he concludes, “that we accept prisons as normal is a historical oddity.” And incarceration in the general population of a US prison is mild treatment compared to placement in solitary confinement, a common practice in US prisons. As nineteenth-century American penitentiaries discovered, solitary confinement causes dramatic and often irreparable psychological damage. In 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture concluded that just fifteen days in solitary confinement “constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and after that period irreversible psychological damage can occur.
The profound failings of the US prison system further indict it as a cruel and unusual form of punishment. First, prisons in the US have totally failed to reform those sent there, which is not surprising considering convicts are placed not around positive role models but around other criminals in an environment where 5% of prisoners say they had been sexually assaulted just within the previous year and in which drug use is rampant. The result is that the US has by far the highest population of prisoners in the world and the second highest per capita.
Second, US prisons are cruel and unusual in that they destroy and atomize communities. As Anne-Marie Cusac points out, prior to the penitentiary movement, corporal punishment or humiliation was carried out in public, often in the town square. Criminals might be publically humiliated, but such public pain “understands criminals as existing within that community.” Prior to the mid twentieth century, many prisons were in the center of towns, with prisoners still nearby their families. Now most prisons are in rural areas incredibly distant from the urban neighborhoods most disproportionately affected by incarceration. [Jonathan AC Brown]
I’d also ask why did Jesus or Paul of Tarsus not teach people to use the prison system, why is it such a relatively recent innovation in human society?
But prisons have been the exception, not the rule, for punishment in human history. They are immensely costly, especially for the perennially cash-strapped pre-modern state, and carry with them constant worries over security. Prior to the seventeenth century, when the situation in Europe changed, the main use of prisons globally had been for detaining suspects pending and during trial, not for punishment.
Corporal punishment, on the other hand, is quick and cheap. Although many condemn it as barbaric today, inflicting some form of pain on the body of the perpetrator has been the main means of punishing serious wrongdoing in human society. In Europe from the Middle Ages through the 1700s, horrendous types of mutilation were standard punishment: amputating hands, fingers, ears, tongues, burning with hot tongs, drawing and quartering, etc. Thomas Jefferson recommended cutting a half-inch hole in the nose of women who engaged in sodomy. To understand how this situation changed, one must appreciate important trends in criminal punishment that accompanied industrialization in the early-modern and modern West. [Jonathan AC Brown]
Lizzie is a church member so one would assume she believes in the Bible to some extent. Biblical laws, for the Trinitarian Christian, are laws given by Jesus, order stonings:
Stoning is a method of execution during which a group of people, usually peers of the guilty party, throws stones at the condemned person until he or she dies. Death by stoning was prescribed in the Old Testament Law as a punishment for various sins. Both animals and people could be the subjects of stoning (Exodus 21:28), and stoning seems to have been associated with sins that caused irreparable damage to the spiritual or ceremonial purity of a person or an animal.
Some sins that resulted in stoning in the Old Testament were murder (Leviticus 24:17), idolatry (Deuteronomy 17:2–5), approaching near to Mount Sinai while the presence of God was there (Exodus 19:12–13), practicing necromancy or the occult (Leviticus 20:27), and blaspheming the name of the Lord (Leviticus 24:16). Stoning was probably the punishment for various types of sexual sin, as well (Deuteronomy 22:24); the related passages in Leviticus 20 do not specify the method of execution, only that the guilty party was to be “put to death.” [GotQs]
Are Lizzie, CJ Davis, Joe Gawley or Robert Schofield of St Nicholas Church Tooting going to say the Trinitarian church version of Jesus (TCVO Jesus) was “barbaric”? Likewise about Moses, was Moses “barbaric”? Likewise about the Bible, after all these rules are in the Bible, is the Bible a “barbaric” book?
If you’re stoning somebody to death, not that I’ve had any experience nor want any, I’d imagine the one being stoned actually passes out after the first stone or two or three. Is it really the “torture” people make it out to be? And is it really such a big deal if the people of the country overwhelmingly agree to use stoning, I mean who is somebody in a church in south London to tell people in Asia how to run their country?
Would the same person, if they were knocking about in the Middle East during Moses’ time have told the Israelites not to burn priests’ daughters
“‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire. [Leviticus 21:9]
Or would they have told them not to stone people for breaking the Sabbath (amongst other things, see above):
32 Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him.
35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 So, as the LORD commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.
That’s a serious question, does St Nicholas Church think the above punishments are examples of TCVO Jesus being “barbaric” and ordering torture?
Lizzie: Does the man who raped and tortured a little girl to death deserve death himself? Yes. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Should they be stoned to death? The mother in me says “do it.”
But thank God the UK justice system doesn’t revolve around my feelings.
The British justice system revolves around secularism, as already highlighted, Jesus did not teach imprisonment. Our society in Britain puts mass murderers in prison for life, which folks do not believe to be “humane”. NO punishment for murder is going to be seen as humane by everyone.
Brady, whom I know fairly well from ten years of correspondence, has grasped the full horror of a lifetime behind bars and wants an end to the nightmare.
Before the abolition of the death penalty in 1965, the penal system did not have to cope with the problem of elderly inmates without hope of ever gaining freedom. But now we have a growing number of ‘lifers’ who will stay inside until their deaths.
There is nothing remotely humane about this grotesque phenomenon, especially when such inmates need permanent nursing care or suffer from dementia. Hanging would have been more civilised.
The death penalty is also more compassionate towards the victims of crime, who are able to move on with their lives.
Huntley might be released in 2042 on his completion of a 40-year sentence, if he lives that long. Such an eventuality can only cause further pain to the families of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
And I fear that it would still be dangerous to release Huntley even when he is in his seventies because, as with other sex killers, he is likely still to be a compulsive predator. Again, this only shows how it would have been much better for society if Huntley had been hanged.
The long-standing practical objection to the death penalty, that it may lead to the death of an innocent man, is far weaker now thanks to advances in DNA technology. With someone like Huntley, there has never been a shred of doubt about his guilt.
The supposed miscarriage of justice always cited by opponents of execution is James Hanratty, who was hanged in 1962 for the A6 murder.
Subsequent concerns about his guilt helped to drive the abolition of the death penalty three years later. It is a rich irony that modern DNA techniques have proved that Hanratty was not remotely innocent. Like most dangerous murderers, he thoroughly deserved to hang.
And that should have been the fate of Ian Huntley.
A truly moral society would recognise that no purpose is served by keeping him inside, little more than the object of target practice for other bloodthirsty prisoners and a psychotic maelstrom of his own suicidal fantasies. [Daily Mail]
And folks need to recognise there is a a chink of hypocrisy that the rest of the world probably see much more than evangelical “Christians” on this island. How can “Christian” folks on this island dictate how other countries deal with their mass murderers when we don’t many “Christians” even talk about the mass murder and the untold pain, torture and suffering our nation inflicts on people in poorer countries which possess resources we want?
I truly wonder whether this lady’s church was out protesting against the bombings and invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or the drone strikes elsewhere (including, ironically, Pakistan).
If they weren’t I’d ask them to read about depleted uranium in Iraq.
Lizzie: Jesus stopped a stoning in its tracks with a simple challenge to the crowd: “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:11 ). In so doing he also overturned the Mosaic law on stoning.
This is just staggering beyond belief. Does nobody at this church know this verse is considered a forgery or is this used to dampen the difficulties amongst Westernised Christians in the church when it comes to reconciling Western liberal humanism of being anti-stoning with the church belief TCVO Jesus ordered stoning in the Bible (see above)?
The story of the woman taken in adultery is a well known Bible forgery. Come on folks, do allow facts to get in the way of what you think is a good story! If you don’t, you’re just doing propaganda. To be honest this whole piece just reeks of a pretence to inject “Christian” propaganda into a story about the suffering of a little girl and the outrage of a nation.
To end with the lady wrote something that looked like it was out of an evangelical tract about the cross and Jesus suffering on it.The irony is immense, she’s been talking about torture and now she’s praising what she believes is the torture of Jesus!
I would warmly recommend Christians read this article about the cross and blood atonement idea as it appears to make salvation according to the church story about Jesus dependent on murderers.