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Stoning in 21st-Century USA

John Joe Thomas, confessed to a biblical executionWell, it's official. The USA has become so religious that civil stoning has been reintroduced, just like in the Middle-East. According to a story yesterday in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a 28-year-old man stoned his 70-year-old church-buddy for having made sexual advances towards him.

He told the police that he stoned the old man because that's what the Bible says the punishment should be. The most disturbing thing about this is that the bible is unequivocally on the side of the killer.

There are no two ways about it. Lev 20 is specific with the act, the punishment and the justification. It is the ever-marching, ever-preaching religious groups that give credibility and confidence to those who would carry out such biblical punishments and, good news for Americans, most crimes in the bible are punishable by death. I wonder how far away we are from seeing a parent kill a child merely for being disobedient, citing justification in Deut 21.

Oh, but hang on, the USA has already seen real-world filicide in the footsteps of biblical Abraham (Gen 22). In November last year, Jeannine Brandt stabbed her sleeping son because God told her to.

In 2001, Andrea Yates drowned all five of her kids, thinking it was the only way they'd get into Heaven. Two years later, Deanna Laney killed two of her sons and almost killed the third, this time by stoning, stating that she had received instructions to do so from her Christian god.

Then there's Dena Schlosser, the God-fearing mother who in 2004 chopped off her infant's arms as an offering to Yahweh. More biblical inspiration from Judges 11.

The victim: Murray Seidman was stoned to death by his church-buddy, apparently for sexual advances.Brandt's case is still before the court, but guess what? The other three women were acquitted on grounds of temporary insanity, two in a Texan district where the insanity defence is the most stringent: Even if the defendant is psychotic and has a long history of diverse and colourful mental illnesses with a string of psychiatrists testifying that they're off the planet, the defence still has to prove that the defendant was unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Here's a fun fact: Talk to any evangelical Christian about who determines right and wrong, and they'll say "God" without hesitation. They'll proudly announce that they don't know right from wrong, and rely entirely on God to keep them on the straight and narrow.

It would seem, then, that as long as you claim God told you do kill those kids, rob that bank, hijack that plane and fly it into a building, you have an automatic insanity defence, because God, not you, is deciding right from wrong.

God Bless America.

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Who is Edward?

Edward Falzon is a critically acclaimed author with almost one Pulitzer Prize. A semi-committed writer, he is adored by more than half of his family.

Edward completed his 20-city book-tour of North America in September 2012. Make contact to complain if he didn't visit you.

He's pro-gay, pro-abortion, anti-death-penalty, anti-religion and pro-just-be-nice-to-each-other-for-christ's-sake. Special thanks to the Secular Student Alliance for all their support!

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