Compassion is what’s needed

It’s really easy to use the bible to support your own point of view and ignore the rest of what’s written in it, until you need it for something else.  It’s such a big book full of some of the most violent nasty stories you’ll read anywhere.  There’s also love and compassion, lots of sex!  How they love the sex in the good book.  It is like an instruction manual on how to get off and if you get off in the wrong way you need to learn how to dodge stones.

In The Age newspaper, the Executive Director of the JCCV, one Geoffrey Zygier1, wrote a letter2 to defend what he calls the “Jewish Bible”.  In the letter he says:

He ignores such commandments as “You shall love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” and ”[If] a stranger comes into your midst … you shall not do him wrong … you shall love him as yourself”.

He uses these quotes, which look like they might be from Leviticus 19, to suggest that Jews have an obligation to be nice to the strangers, the letter is in relation to asylum seekers in Australia.

Let’s just have a bit of a look at Leviticus 19.

13: You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him.

17: You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.

18: You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Of course there’s lots more in there – but as I’m dealing with a religious matter, I’ll only extract those parts that actually support me and ignore the rest.  And there’s the crux of the matter.  While Geoffrey is busy berating a ‘stranger’ and giving him a lesson on jewish morality, talking of obligations, the organisation that he is the Executive Director of will not take its orthodox membership to task about their intolerant view on homosexuality.  He does not remind them of their obligation to not oppress their neighbour, he does not berate them when they hate their brother in their heart, he takes no action when they bear a grudge or take vengeance against the sons of their own people.  Of course, if he has taken them to task then perhaps he could supply those letters or just let us know.  The JCCV still refuses to acknowledge the problem that fundamentalism in judaism causes in young homosexuals growing up in an orthodox environment.  If you can pick and choose which bits of the bible you want to use to support your cause, then perhaps its possible to also ignore those parts that are no longer acceptable.  Bits like this:

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (New International Version)

A Rebellious Son

18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.[SOURCE]

So, you might get stoned for just being a rebellious teenager. There’s one that we don’t do anymore!

Deuteronomy 13:6-11 (New International Version)

6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.[SOURCE]

If your friend is of a different faith and they ask you to attend a church/mosque/synagogue service you should stone them to death.  There’s one that we don’t do anymore!

Leviticus 24:10-16 (New International Version)

A Blasphemer Stoned

10 Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) 12 They put him in custody until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them.

13 Then the LORD said to Moses: 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. 15 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death. [SOURCE]

God is a bastard.  There’s one we don’t do any more.

Leviticus 20:26-27 (New International Version)
26 You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.

27 ” ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’ ” [SOURCE]

Ever read your stars?  Anyone ever asked what your star sign is?  Ever thought you’d heard a voice?  Had a friend who thinks they’re psychic?  You should stone them.  There’s one we don’t do any more!

Numbers 15:32-36 (New International Version)

The Sabbath-Breaker Put to Death

32 While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses. [SOURCE]

Oh, this one is good.  Some poor bastard is out getting wood on a Saturday afternoon, the nights are probably cold, or his wife is giving birth and he needs to boil water, or he needs to sacrifice a lamb to god.  He’s very naughty and gets stoned.  No if and buts about it, no mitigating circumstances taken into consideration, that’s it, you fucked up, prepare to get pelted with fucking big rocks.  There’s one we don’t do any more.

Leviticus 18:22 (New International Version)
22 ” ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

So, don’t lie with a man if you’re a man, there’s one we don’t do any more…. it’s ok to lie with a man.  But wait… that is detestable.  I wish we could say that’s one we don’t do anymore!  Alas, people from fundamental/orthodox backgrounds continue to treat homosexuals as sinners and think they are detestable.  They don’t stone people any more, as a society we find that detestable, so much gets washed away as society progresses, and yet some still cling to stupid silly statements in a book that is by and large ignored by most of its adherents.

Finally, Geoffrey Zygier says

[he’s]insinuation that the Jewish Bible’s teachings lack compassion is wrong.

Not is not.  You’re being very selective.  You’ve picked a couple of passages out of the bible to pretend that those words represent compassion.  The bible is not compassionate, the JCCV lacks compassion and its time to stop quoting silly outdated texts are a defence for your actions, but that’s fucked and just plain wrong.

  1. JCCV – Jewish Community Council of Victoria SOURCE
  2. Letters to the Editor January 4th 2010 SOURCE
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