God's rules for beating your wife
Here we have an Muslic cleric explaining the rules for a husband as to what kind of beating he is allowed to give his wife. Such civilized people!
Some fundamentalist Christians are not far off from this. Calvinist author David Chilton takes the view that all people are property of God and thus the rules of God, as outlined in the Bible, tells one how to treat others. He writes: "It is true I do not have an aboslute right to my property. Nor do I have an absolute right to dispose of my wife and children as I see fit. Everything I have must be owned in terms of God's requirements." Note that wife and children are included in the cateogory of that which is "owned".
If you don't think that is clear enough he says: "I must not rob my neighbor of his life, his wife, his property, or his reputation, nor must I covet anything that belongs to him." Right in the middle of that list of properties owned by the individual is the wife. I don't think Chilton has gone so far as to give rules for beating one's wife however. But no doubt numerous fundies would find that right.
Chilton does find that the Bible condones slavery, another area when human beings are literally considered property. He writes: "The Bible permist slavery... biblical laws concerning slavery are among the most beneficent in all the Bible... it is clearly unbiblical to speak of slavery as being wrong or sinful... that He gives rules for the proper management of slavery shows that to disregard the laws of slavery is a sin." In fact he argues that slavery is especially good if those enslaved are atheists and unbelievers! He argues that Christians enslaving heathens exposes them to the gospel and: "Unbelievers are slaves by nature, and there is no reason to free them as long as they remain in their spiritual bondage."
Now if people are property how can property be treated? Can it be beaten in ways discussed by the mullah linked to above? Chilton says they may. The problem with treating people like property is they have incentive to produce. If you labour on behalf of others in exchange for value it is contract and you have an incentive to work since it is an exchange. Slavery, however, is theft, much like socialism. You work and others reap the rewards so the incentives are absent. Chilton notes that God provided for this (how nice of him). Without economic incentives "the master is allowed to provide that incentive by beating them."
And just like the Mullah this Jehovah has given some rules on how to beat your human property. Exodus 21:21 provides that rule. The master may beat the slave without mercy provided the slave does not die from the beating the same day! Note the "same day" rule. If the slave lingered in pain for a day or two before dying the master was let off the hook entirely. So much for God's compassion. See the master is not allowed to intentionally kill the slave, who after all really belongs to Jehovah. If the slave dies the same die it looks as if the master tried to kill the property of God. But if the slave suffers for a day or two first then the master is off the hook since that indicates he didn't intend to actually kill the slave just inflict severe pain on them (much the way Jehovah supposedly inflicts pain on humans).
Chilton also says that Biblical law "protected slaves from severe mutilation". I presume that moderate mutilation is a different matter. And government, they argue, ought to protect these "rights" to treat others as human property.
Calvinist preacher Joseph Morecraft occupies the pulpit of the Chalcedon Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Georgia. He sees civil law as serving the same function as the master. You have to terrorize people to get them to do what God wants. He wrote that the function of government is to "terrorize evil doers" and "to bring down the wrath of God on all those who practice evil." Calvinist theologian Rousas Rushdoony said something similar: "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."
Morecrafts wants the death penalty used frequently including on all churches which don't worship the fundamentalist deity. "Nobody has the right to worship on this planet any other God than Jehovah. And therefore the state does not have the responsibility to defend anybody's pseudo-rights to worship an idol." "I suggest that in a Christian society... the death penalty is still appropriate for the crime of worshipping another god on the Lord's day."
Calvinist theologian Greg Bahnsen agreed saying the death penalty applies to "someone who comes and proselytizes for another god or any other final authority (and by the way, that god may be man.)." Note that last rule about any "other final authority" would apply to those of us who think reason applied to reality is the final authority as well.
Bahnsen notes that Jehovah set out 15 crimes which were capital offenses including sodomy, apostasy, sabbath breaking and blasphemy. Rev. W.O. Einwechter, vice moderator of the Calvinist Association of Free Reformed Churches said that the death penalty applied to grown children who "rebelled against the authority of his parents". He said such individuals should be stoned to death. Calvinist Gary North agrees saying the "integrity" of the family "must be maintained by the threat of death." Mark Rushdoony wrote: "Parents will be required to bring their incorrigible children before the judge and if convicted have them stoned to death." In fact Rushdoony says in a Christian society the divorce problem will be solved "under God's law because any spouse guilty of capital crimes will be swiftly executed, thus freeing the other party to remarry."
Just like in Muslim theocracies these Calvinists want to use stoning. Gary North said in a Christian society "Executions are community projects -- not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do 'his' duty but rather with actual participants." Yes, you too can executive your sinful neighbors unless they execute you first. North prefers stoning because stones are cheap and plentiful and allow everyone to participate. Hell, even a small child can chuck a rock!
No doubt the Religious Right will take great comfort in the video to which I've linked. A Muslim cleric discussing how to beat one's wife will be seen as proof that Islam is a barbaric religion (which it is). But what of these Christian theologians who want communities to get together for a picnic and a stoning?