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Pa. Man Stones Gay Man To Death Because The Bible Told Him To

A dispute between friends leads to an interesting criminal defense:

Authorities in suburban Philadelphia say a 70-year-old man was stoned to death with a rock stuffed in a sock by a younger friend who alleged the victim made unwanted sexual advances.

According to the criminal complaint, 28-year-old John Thomas of Lansdowne has told police he killed 70-year-old Murray Seidman because the Old Testament refers to stoning homosexuals.

Technically, he’s right:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.

Those violent religious texts continue inspiring people to commit acts of violent.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

    So….eating clams is up there with gayness.

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  2. Vast Variety says:

    Please remind me that if I ever loose my mind and decide to commit a criminal act that I first create a religion that says I can do that and get away with it.

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  3. Vast Variety says:

    Humm… I’m gay And I’ve eaten clams…. what punishment does that deserve?

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  4. Joe Carter says:

    Those violent religious texts continue inspiring people to commit acts of violent.

    Yep, the Jews (you do know that’s a Jewish religious text, don’t you Doug?) are always stoning the gays. Someone should really put a stop to it.

    Why don’t you just come out and admit that you can’t stand religious people, social conservatives, or anyone else who doesn’t agree with your libertarian views?

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  5. Joe,

    Did you follow the link I posted? It goes to the New American Bible, the official Catholic Bible. The last time I checked, the Old Testament was part of the Christian faith as well. Or at least the people who keep telling me that homosexuality is a sin seem to think that it is.

    As for the rest of your comment, I don’t hate anyone fr their beliefs. What I hate are the policies they advocate that deny equality and liberty to my fellow citizens, as well as the hateful rhetoric I hear that they wrap in the cloth of “faith.”

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  6. Joe Carter says:

    The last time I checked, the Old Testament was part of the Christian faith as well.

    Yes, that is certainly true. But while you may find some Christians think such a passage reflects on the moral aspects of homosexuality, you won’t find many Christians who think that the laws of an ancient Jewish theocracy in the Middle East are binding on us today. The fact that some nutjob uses it as an excuse isn’t really newsworthy, is it?

    What I hate are the policies they advocate that deny equality and liberty to my fellow citizens, as well as the hateful rhetoric I hear that they wrap in the cloth of “faith.”

    Yes, Doug, we get it. You are a huge gay rights activist. Every other post confirms this for us. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with advocating for your views.

    But OTS established a reputation for being one of the best blogs on the Internet because Dr. Joyner is one of the most thoughtful and reasonable persons in the blogosphere. It’s often frustrating to read one of his posts and have to admit, “Damn, he’s right. I should have considered that.”

    I don’t suspect anyone has ever done that while reading your posts. They aren’t necessarily bad, they just tend to be the same ideologically-driven groupthink that can be found anywhere. If you were writing on another blog it wouldn’t seem odd. But on OTS it sticks out like a fart at a dinner party.

    You’re not likely to change and I don’t really expect you to. You’ll keep bashing those you don’t like because that’s the kind of blogger you are (unfortunately, I tend be the same way). But doesn’t being on Joyner’s site inspire you to raise your game? Even just a little bit?

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  7. Jay Tea says:

    He can make any defense he wants. He’s still going down.

    And he won’t have very many people sticking up for him. The Westboro a-holes, possibly.

    This reminds me of the Muslim “honor killings,” which are often defended (elsewhere in the world, thank heavens) as an expression of their culture — and often go unpunished.

    J.

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  8. LipstickButch says:

    “So….eating clams is up there with gayness.”

    Especially if you are a lesbian.

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  9. And he won’t have very many people sticking up for him.

    The Texas and Montana state republican parties are apparently okay with it, since their platforms both call for making homosexuality a felony.

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  10. matt says:

    OOOh someone is a little testy about Doug airing a small portion of the violent parts of their religion…

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  11. Steven Plunk says:

    The Christian faith has long parted ways with killing in the name of God. Some kook using such an excuse is an aberration so before posting such a story I believe Doug should have done his research. Making such comparisons is insulting and he should be more polite.

    Joe Carter points out something I have noticed for some time. The level of discourse has fallen around here to the point of frustration. From our hosts to those who comment there is a quickness to use words like stupid, dumb, and whatever other grade school adjectives are handy.

    Story selection like this do expose a predisposition to offend traditional groups and other selections seem to chosen for no reason other than to cast conservatives in a bad light. It’s the author’s choice but I expect fewer conservatives will stick around to have lively debate if fairness is not restored. It has become fatiguing to defend conservatives and religious people over the most minor of accusations and associations like this one.

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  12. matt says:

    The Christian faith has long parted ways with killing in the name of God.

    Except it hasn’t. Like other major religions people of local cultures use it to justify murdering people every day..

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  13. MM says:

    The real victim here is Joe Carter.

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  14. michael reynolds says:

    Lipstick:

    Ah hah hah. You went there.

    I was scrolling down through the comments thinking, Must resist . . . must resist . . .

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  15. michael reynolds says:

    Story selection like this do expose a predisposition to offend traditional groups and other selections seem to chosen for no reason other than to cast conservatives in a bad light.

    No, it shows up the idiocy of Biblical literalists and their screaming hypocrisy and dishonesty as well.

    The Bible is the word of God . . . so long as it’s politically useful. When it ceases to be politically useful, suddenly, The Christian faith has long parted ways with killing in the name of God.

    By the way, there is no “Christian faith,” singular, there are at least 100 Christian denominations with widely divergent views on the Bible. The more sensible ones take a more tenable, more logically supportable view toward scripture.

    But many, maybe most, will still reach into their Bible if they find it offers them an opportunity to dump on someone for political advantage. The Bible is everybody’s b*tch, it does whatever you want it to do.

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  17. Jay Tea says:

    So we got one guy who killed one guy in the name of God, citing a Biblical verse.

    Anyone want to start a betting pool on how long it would take me to come up with 1,000 people killed in the name of Allah? And how far back I’d have to go from today?

    Jesus, people, get a sense of proportion.

    J.

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  18. matt says:

    Jay Tea ; Look in Africa and Asia and you’ll see plenty of “Christians” killing in god’s name.. Or just look here in the United States at the various murders of doctors and innocents by righteous Christians.

    Srebrenica

    Roughly 20% of the world’s population is Muslim

    Roughly 25% of the world’s population is Christian

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  19. anjin-san says:

    > The Christian faith has long parted ways with killing in the name of God. Some kook using such an excuse is an aberration

    “With the might of God on our side we will triumph over Iraq”

    GW Bush, 2003

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  20. matt says:

    Look to be frank I get on people for blaming the Christian religion for all the wrongs in the world… I just cannot stand people generalizing all believers as being something bad…

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  21. Trumwill says:

    Or just look here in the United States at the various murders of doctors and innocents by righteous Christians

    Regarding abortion docs, do we count all six of them or just the one that has occurred in the last ten years?

    No such murders are acceptable, but people act like the killings are an ongoing drip-drip-drip thing when actually they are (thankfully) extraordinarily rare.

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  22. Trumwill says:

    Correction, apparently eight victims total. Four docs, four others associated with clinics. Only one of which since 1998.

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  23. Neil Hudelson says:

    Jay,

    “Since December 2007, OCHA estimates the Lords Resistance Army has killed more than 2,000 people and abducted more than 2,600 in Congo.”

    click

    That didn’t take long.

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  24. matt says:

    Trumwill : You’re being willfully obtuse. There’s plenty of murders in prison right now who have no problem declaring themselves to be Christian….

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t think Christians are evil. I also don’t think Muslims are evil. And I’d be the first to admit that atheists have done their fair share of mass murder and evil deeds.

    The thing I would like Christians to acknowledge is that their faith does not make them better than anyone else. It’s a free country, believe what you want to believe, but don’t try to ram your beliefs down other people’s throats, or imagine that you have some magical insight into virtue that makes you superior.

    What’s funny is that Christians would actually get that if they actually bothered to listen to that old Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. He told you not to judge. He told you to be humble. He told you to turn the other cheek. He said you’d be judged by how you treated children. He told you to love your fellow man. Listen to the man. I don’t think he was God, but you know what? He was not a fool.

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  26. Trumwill says:

    Matt, I wasn’t taking issue with your overall point. I was taking issue with the abortion doctor reference. At least I assumed that you were referring to them. I would also take issue with conflating someone killing in the name of God and someone who believes in God killing someone else. Neither of these things undermine the basic point of “Christians do it, too” (a point I agree with, better illustrated with other examples given by commenters here) but those examples are bad ones.

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  27. TG Chicago says:

    @Joe Carter

    But while you may find some Christians think such a passage reflects on the moral aspects of homosexuality, you won’t find many Christians who think that the laws of an ancient Jewish theocracy in the Middle East are binding on us today.

    False.

    I’m not aware of any movement within Christianity to get the violent, intolerant parts of the Bible edited out. Does one exist? I think it would be great to revisit what goes in the Bible. It’s not as if the decision of what stays and what goes was made by God.

    @michael reynolds:

    The thing I would like Christians to acknowledge is that their faith does not make them better than anyone else.

    I can’t speak for anybody else, but I acknowledge this. Anybody who can’t see that there are plenty of bad people who are Christian and plenty of good people who are not… well, I’m not sure what they can see.

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  28. anjin-san says:

    > Anyone want to start a betting pool on how long it would take me to come up with 1,000 people killed in the name of Allah?

    Throughout history, people have been ascribing a greater propensity for evil to another tribe than their own. It’s so easy to point an accusatory finger at another, and so hard to look in the mirror.

    If history has taught us anything, it is that pretty much every tribe has the capacity for good and for evil. Living up to the actual teachings of Jesus is no easy task. Invoking his name and skipping the hard part is. People, being people, tend to have an affection for the easier, softer path.

    > Jesus, people, get a sense of proportion.

    Jesus had a pretty good sense of proportion Jay. Go back and read the Sermon on the Mount, and meditate on it for a while before you start trashing Muslims again.

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  29. anjin-san says:

    Time to sign off with a few words that my tribe, California hippie Buddhists, try to live by. We often fall short, but we still keep trying…

    Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.

    Buddha

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  30. matt says:

    Trumwell : 78% of this country identifies as Christian…

    Notice the sentence you’re nitpicking has nothing in about doing so in god’s name.

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  31. Trumwill says:

    Matt, no, but in the sentence preceding it – in the same paragraph – includes the words “in god’s name.” Given that, and given what seemed to me to be a reference to abortion doctors (and the religious slaying thereof), given that it was in a response to Jay Tea writing about killing “in the name of god” and “in the name of Allah”, and given that the main thrust of this entire conversation is about killing in the name of religion or god, I made what was a pretty reasonable inference.

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  32. Jay Tea says:

    For the record, I’m an agnostic. I have rejected all organized religions, so I have no dog in that fight.

    The African cases, as I understand them, are largely tribal mores and hatreds filtered through a thin veneer of Christianity — and resoundingly rejected by the vast majority of Christians.

    My intended point is that one is far, far more likely to be killed by a Muslim believing he is doing Allah’s work than by a Christian doing God’s work. And I would feel far less threatened by, say, a Westboro Baptist a-hole than a member of CAIR.

    I’d still like to kick both in the groin, however.

    J.

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  33. Anderson says:

    The Bible provides no penalty for a homosexual advance, however, so the comically named “John Thomas” lacks even that defense.

    As for whether Thomas was punishing the man for prior acts, what evidence did Thomas have of those?

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  34. anjin-san says:

    > My intended point is that one is far, far more likely to be killed by a Muslim believing he is doing Allah’s work than by a Christian doing God’s work.

    So none of our soldiers, or officers in Iraq or Afghanistan think, or thought they were doing “God’s work”. You know this how? And the politicians who give the marching orders? None of the ones who voted for the authorization of force in Iraq thought God’s work was involved? You seem to have intimate insight into the minds of so many people. It’s rather remarkable. Bush himself said, “This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.”

    Shorter Jay. “I am really scared of Muslims, I don’t like them, and I need a good rationalization for my bigotry”.

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  35. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, sometimes I wonder if you take special stupid pills, or if you’re just naturally this way.

    The primary reason our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan is that they were ordered to, and they respect their chain of command.

    The Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq gives a whole buttload of reasons why it’s justified — and even though I’ve read it over a dozen times, I don’t recall God or Jesus being brought up.

    Just because an action is CONGRUENT with one’s religious beliefs, does not mean that the action itself is religiously inspired. I’m an agnostic, but I tend to follow a good part of the Ten Commandments because they make sense in a civilized world. I don’t murder, I don’t steal, I try not to covet, I won’t bear false witness, and I was only once involved in a technically adulterous relationship — her divorce was pending, but not final. I do that because those things tend to cause complications in my life I’d rather not deal with.

    So, I make a point of following six out of ten of the Ten Commandments. I also recommend others do the same. Am I some kind of religious zealot or bigot?

    J.

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  36. Brian Miller says:

    I would feel far less threatened by, say, a Westboro Baptist a-hole than a member of CAIR.

    More the fool you, then.

    I love how religionists like to make challenges — “show me a Christian group that kills lots of people.”

    Then when someone takes him up on it, he claims it’s not really a Christian group but an “African one” and tries to argue that a member of a religious lobby group in Washington is more dangerous than a ranting lunatic.

    Ahhh, religion, the great and eternal duller of minds.

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  37. Brian Miller says:

    How about the German National Socialist Party? Here’s what its founder believed, in terms of religion:

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.”

    That was back in 1922, when he was building his political movement in Weimar Germany.

    You could say it was Hitler’s “deep Christian faith” that motivated him through the odds to take him to the top and into the Shoah and World War II.

    The 96% Christian nation of Germany rapturously followed him, too.

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  38. Jay Tea says:

    “Religious lobbying group?” Oh, I see. We’re talking about two different groups.

    I’m talking about the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, that supports Hamas and Hezbollah, and has lauded as outstanding Muslims men such as Muzzammil Hassan, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, and Amir Abdel Malik Ali.

    What CAIR were you talking about?

    J.

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  39. matt says:

    Trumwill : While grammatically my sentences were a mess I would like to point out that you might want to re-investigate what “or” means. I the person that created the sentences in doubt are being told by you what I really meant. I find it rather funny that instead of taking my clarification you’re intent on bickering with me…

    The African cases, as I understand them, are largely tribal mores and hatreds filtered through a thin veneer of Christianity — and resoundingly rejected by the vast majority of Christians.

    DINGDINGDING You are finally starting to get my point. Now replace Christian with Muslim and you get the exact same result…

    My intended point is that one is far, far more likely to be killed by a Muslim believing he is doing Allah’s work than by a Christian doing God’s work. And I would feel far less threatened by, say, a Westboro Baptist a-hole than a member of CAIR.

    In the USA you’re far more likely to be killed by a professed Christian then either of the above. I would hang around CAIR any day then risk having to hang with one of the variety of Christian Militia groups in this country.

    BTW Jay Hamas was democratically elected to lead the Palestinians so screeching HAMAS BOO isn’t very scary to people that are aware of the middle east..

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  40. anjin-san says:

    > Just because an action is CONGRUENT with one’s religious beliefs, does not mean that the action itself is religiously inspired.

    And it does not mean that it is not. We have a lot of folks in the field. You give yourself a lot of credit, you claim to know what is in the hearts and minds both of Muslims and Christians you have never even met. Quite a few of them.

    And it does not follow that because the act of a soldier going into combat as ordered is not religiously inspired that he or she cannot feel that they are doing God’s work. This is just another one of the logical fallacies you serve up so regularly in the service of your ideology. If you are going to talk about “stupid pills” do try to present coherent arguments. This is not Fox News, where reality is whatever we say it is.

    And then there is the fact that Bush, the man who started the the war in Iraq, referred to the war on terror as a “crusade”. Now I admit that it is possible that Bush was simply ignorant of what a crusade is, but failing that, well, the connotation of “doing God’s work” is pretty damn obvious.

    Then there are things like this: http://www.ocfusa.org/

    These folks are obviously deeply religious, and deeply committed Christians. Nothing wrong with that. But are you actually putting forth that they think there is no aspect of doing God’s work in their chosen profession?

    > The Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq gives a whole buttload of reasons why it’s justified — and even though I’ve read it over a dozen times, I don’t recall God or Jesus being brought up.

    Ummmm. I refer you to this:

    http://chaplain.house.gov/

    Funny, the Christian chaplain of the U.S. Congress seems to feel those folks are doing God’s work. Here are a few of the Chaplain’s own words’s:

    The formal prayer before each legislative session of Congress, and even before days of pro forma sessions, casts a light on the day that awakens faith and calls forth a nation to stand with its leaders and affirm: “In God We Trust.” But daily prayer for the Members of the House cannot end there.

    Seems like some of the members of Congress think God is involved in what they are doing. Or is the Chaplain’s work some sort of sham? If that is the case, he should probably be fired, the cost of his office contributes to the deficit.

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  41. anjin-san says:

    > I’d still like to kick both in the groin, however.

    Damn Jay, what kind of a fricking sissy are you? No wonder you are terrified of Muslims.

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  42. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, please point out where the words of the House chaplain have the force of law. Basic Civics 101: the only thing that matters are the laws that are passed.

    I’m trying to get into your reasoning. Are you saying that since the Bible says “thou shalt not kill,” we should get rid of murder laws because they reinforce a religious principle?

    Neither of us, apparently, are Christians. The difference is, I feel no great sense of hostility towards them. And your hatred warps what you laughably call “thinking.”

    And as far as Hamas goes, I’ve agree — they are the democratically elected government of Gaza. But unlike you, I recognize that they are also still terrorists, still murdering Islamist fanatic scum, and hold the people who voted them into power responsible for their actions. You seem to think that “winning an election” has some kind of magical white-washing powers.

    Terrorists win an election.

    Your response: Oh, cool! They won an election! We can treat them like they’re not terrorists now! Yay!

    Mine: OK, fine. They’re the legit government now. Doesn’t mean we have to deal with them, and pretend that they aren’t still terrorist murdering scum.

    J.

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  43. matt says:

    But unlike you, I recognize that they are also still terrorists, still murdering Islamist fanatic scum, and hold the people who voted them into power responsible for their actions. You seem to think that “winning an election” has some kind of magical white-washing powers.

    I guess that’s fine because to me Israel is every bit of a terrorist state as Palestine. If you want to ignore half of the problem so you can blame them dirty Muslims for everything then that’s your problem.

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