Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Charlie Fuqua and the implications of biblical literalism

I wonder how many folks outside of the state of Arkansas have heard of Charlie Fuqua.  Fuqua is a former state representative, and is seeking reelection to that position this year.  He is also, much to the chagrin of some of his supporters, the author of a book released this year called God's Law.

The reason that Fuqua's book has provoked such a fury of facepalming amongst his fellow Republicans is not, technically, that they don't agree with his views, which basically follow the conservative Christian, fundamentalist, biblical literalist pattern that so many of them espouse.  It's more that Fuqua did what you should never, ever, ever do  as a politician:

He told the truth regarding what those views imply.

Fuqua first landed himself in Huffington Post last week, when writer John Celock gave national exposure to a story from the Arkansas Times that had quoted Fuqua's book.  Fuqua wrote a nice long passage in his book that suggests creating laws in the US based on Deuteronomy 21:18-21:  "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

Yes, people, you are understanding correctly: Fuqua wrote in his book that the USA should have laws that provide for the execution of rebellious children.

Now, wait, Fuqua says: it's not that I think it should happen all the time, fer Pete's sake:
This passage does not give parents blanket authority to kill their children. They must follow the proper procedure in order to have the death penalty executed against their children. I cannot think of one instance in the Scripture where parents had their child put to death. Why is this so? Other than the love Christ has for us, there is no greater love then [sic] that of a parent for their child. The last people who would want to see a child put to death would be the parents of the child. Even so, the Scrpture [sic] provides a safe guard to protect children from parents who would wrongly exercise the death penalty against them. Parents are required to bring their children to the gate of the city. The gate of the city was the place where the elders of the city met and made judicial pronouncements. In other words, the parents were required to take their children to a court of law and lay out their case before the proper judicial authority, and let the judicial authority determine if the child should be put to death. I know of many cases of rebellious children, however, I cannot think of one case where I believe that a parent had given up on their child to the point that they would have taken their child to a court of law and asked the court to rule that the child be put to death. Even though this procedure would rarely be used, if it were the law of land, it would give parents authority. Children would know that their parents had authority and it would be a tremendous incentive for children to give proper respect to their parents. 
Yup, Rep. Fuqua, that it would.  Respect through fear.  That's just the kind of relationship a parent should shoot for.  No wonder he won a "Friend of the Family" award from the Arkansas Christian Coalition, is it?

Of course, that's not the only repellent thing Fuqua said in his book.  Here are a few other gems:
  • American citizens who are Muslims should all be deported.  To where isn't specified.
  • Liberals are trying to overthrow the US government via "bloody revolution."
  • Anyone who cannot support their children should be surgically sterilized.
  • Anyone in the US who is not a Christian is, by definition, against the government, and they should be considered "conspirators" and "traitors" and dealt with accordingly.
What I find most interesting about this is not that Fuqua believes this (and has stated, for the record, "I think my views are fairly well-accepted by most people.").  It's that more people don't see that his views are simply the logical end result of biblical literalism.  Biblical literalists are usually quite good at cherry-picking a few of their favorite passages to support whatever cause they happen to be in the mood to rant about -- prohibitions on homosexuality, and the young-earth, anti-evolution stuff being two favorites.  They conveniently gloss over more dicey passages, such as the ones prohibiting anyone from eating shrimp or pork, the ones forbidding you to wear clothes made of cloth woven from two different kinds of thread, the ones expressly permitting slavery (as long as the slaves come from another country, which makes me wonder if I can own a Canadian), the one requiring that rape victims marry the rapist -- and the one mandating the stoning of rebellious children.  Fuqua isn't being crazy, as some people have said about him; he's merely being consistent.

It is mighty convenient, the way the vast majority of people who claim that the bible is the 100% true, literal word and law of god just ignore the passages that are unpleasant or troubling.  If anyone needed further proof that literalist Christianity demands an ethical code that is repulsive, bizarre, and inherently immoral, Fuqua and his ilk are it.  And as for the supposed fundamentalists who are squirming in their seats as they read the bits of Fuqua's book that aren't nice... well, I think you're the ones who have a bit of explaining to do.

1 comment:

  1. In theory you can own a Canadian, but they're expensive because of all the donuts and hockey paraphernalia.