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The ‘shame’ of honour killings

02 Dec

If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the girl’s father and mother … shall display the cloth (that the couple slept on) before the elders of the town …  If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.

So-called ‘honour killings’ are still a reality today in Central and Southern Asia, and the Middle-East.

These shocking verses, however, are from Deuteronomy 22:13-21 an early text from the Christian Old Testament.

What validity do they have for Christians today? What is God’s word here?  If the Bible is inerrant, it would seem, from these verses, that God is a vicious, tyrant.

Isn’t it time the LCA revisited the pledge that graduating seminarians are required to take before ordination?

Can anyone explain the argument for maintaining the use of ‘inerrancy’ in the face of such texts of terror?  Hoping that someone can enlighten us.

 

Further Reading:

Dear Dr Laura

 

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13 responses to “The ‘shame’ of honour killings

  1. Chris Donges

    December 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    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 the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” (Deuteronomy 22:28–29)

     
    • Katie and Martin

      December 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      … and the girl/woman is forced to live with her rapist.

      Death to the Rape Victim (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)
      If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife.
      Rape in the Bible: http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm

      … and this is God’s inerrant word?

       
      • Chris Donges

        December 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

        I have heard it said by some on LCAi that this was a good arrangement because the woman would have a husband rather than be shunned.

        As a father of two daughters this kind of thinking makes me physically ill.

         
        • Chris Donges

          December 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm

          Here is the quote from a pastor on LCAi: “Given it’s cultural context we have a text here that, as imperfect as the situation is, actually helps to safeguards the rights of children and women…and the family and community.”

           
          • Katie and Martin

            December 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm

            Thanks Chris. Your LCAi pastor seems to condone the killing of women. Is that forgivable?

             
          • Chris Donges

            December 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

            Katie and Martin :
            Thanks Chris. Your LCAi pastor seems to condone the killing of women. Is that forgivable?

            I don’t think he condoned the killing of women, just them spending the rest of their lives being abused by their rapist.

            Isn’t everything forgiveable except blasphemy of the holy spirit?

             
  2. janine

    December 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    if you tried to have that debate on the lcai you were accused of game playing and not taken seriously.

     
    • Katie and Martin

      December 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks Janine. That seems not to be unusual. Our experience on this site is that the conversation/debate quickly widens out and the original issue is not dealt with.
      We need to stick with the text and keep probing for a response of integrity.

       
  3. janine

    December 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a desire on the part of many in the clergy to discuss all the texts, only the ones that reinforce their view.

     
    • Katie and Martin

      December 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      So, I guess that means we have to persist in pointing out their inconsistency, phrase by phrase, until they concede that that can’t be done. It’s an inconsistency with a gender bias that jeopardises women and girls.
      They no doubt place more emphasis on certain texts, but even that starts to water down the inerrancy claim.

       
      • janine

        December 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm

        exactly. it’s only inerrant when it suits, the rest of it is ignored.

        cherrypicking of texts largely destroys any credibility, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for those doing the cherrypicking.

         
  4. Katie and Martin

    December 2, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    “I don’t think he condoned the killing of women.”
    Chris, I respectfully wish to differ: “If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.” (v21) It seems to me that God is represented as saying here that, if it is true, the woman should be stoned. The lack of blood is taken as proof that the woman wasn’t a virgin.
    Is sex before marriage really worthy of stoning? Where does ‘inerrancy’ fit it?

     
    • Chris Donges

      December 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      Sorry, I had in mind my bible story about rapists, not the original story about virgins.

       

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