Barack Obama had been President for only one full day when, on Jan. 22, 2009, he acted on a central campaign promise. Arguing that the Founding Fathers would agree that America must “observe the core standards of conduct not just when it’s easy but also when it’s hard,” Obama signed an executive order to close the notorious military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, where the Bush administration had detained hundreds of men captured in combat and counter terrorism operations since 2001. With dozens of men imprisoned for years without charges brought against them, and in many cases having actually been cleared for release, Obama said closing Guantánamo would return America to the “moral high ground” it had yielded in its ruthless pursuit of al-Qaeda during the Bush years. “I can tell you that the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away,” Obama said in May 2009. “I refuse to pass it on to somebody else. It is my responsibility to solve the problem.”
Four years later, with Guantánamo still open–and the site of widespread hunger strikes and other acts of disobedience by many of its 166 inmates–Obama is again trying to fulfill that responsibility. In a May 23 address about a range of his counter-terrorism policies, including drone strikes, Obama declared the start of a new push against the political obstacles that thwarted his first attempt to close the most infamous symbol of the US’s post-9/11 war on terrorism. “[History] will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism and those of us who fail to end it,” Obama said.
But Obama will be hard pressed to live up to his grand rhetoric. Opposition still runs high to the idea of releasing or bringing into US prisons dozens of men widely considered dangerous terrorists even if many are not. Asked to gauge the probability that Obama can close Guantánamo before he leaves office, David Remes, a lawyer who represents 18 Guantánamo inmates replies, “Zero.” And even if Obama can shut down the site known colloquially as Gitmo, he hasn’t promised to end the practice of long-term incarceration without trial that along with interrogation techniques like waterboarding blighted the US’s track record for treating prisoners in the so-called global war on terrorism. The prison camp on Cuba’s southern tip may or may not be shuttered during Obama’s watch, but Gitmo, in the metaphorical sense, may never really close.
Nor is America’s long war on terrorism about to end. Obama’s speech revealed a man “haunted” by the deaths of innocents in drone strikes and wrestling with the balance between national security and the constitution’s integrity. But while he announced tighter standards for ordering drone strikes abroad (including an unspoken plan to partly shift the programme from the CIA to the theoretically more accountable Pentagon) and spoke of a day when the war might be declared over, Obama is retaining broad powers to detain or kill suspected terrorists, to conduct aggressive surveillance and to use military force in foreign nations. “To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties,” Obama said. “We must finish the work of defeating al-Qaeda and its associated forces.”
Hungry for Clarity
At last count, military medical personnel at Gitmo were force-feeding 35 of the more than 100 inmates who refuse to eat. Twice a day, those men are strapped into restraining chairs as tubes that run up their noses and down their throats fill their stomachs with a compound called Ensure, a supplement used by everyone from athletes to dieters. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called force-feeding a violation of international law, and the World Medical Association, of which the US is a member, declared in 1991 that the practice is “never ethically acceptable” unless a prisoner consents or is unable to make a rational choice. (The WMA calls it “ethical to allow a determined hunger striker to die.”)
Although Remes says he suspects the inmates at Gitmo are aware of the President’s speech and that some may even have watched it on television, he doubts that the hunger strikes will end anytime soon. “Obama has no credibility with the detainees,” he says. “I bet they didn’t even look up from their chessboards.” Then, recalling that after recent scuffles with their guards, inmates were barred from congregating, he adds, “No, they’re not playing chess. They’re not even allowed to be together.”
A lack of faith in Obama is one reason for the hunger strikes (although detainees have also alleged improper treatment by guards, including charges of mishandling Quran, that the military denies). Among the hunger strikers are 86 who have been declared safe for release–some of them by two different administrations–and who were crushed when Obama failed to deliver on his 2009 promise to close Gitmo.
Should They Stay or Should They Go?
Understanding why Gitmo hasn’t closed requires understanding who exactly is there. The camp holds three types of inmates, each posing different challenges. The first group consists of those 86 detainees deemed safe to release to their home countries or third nations, so long as they can be monitored and accounted for to ensure they don’t take up arms against the US The second group consists of suspected terrorists whom the administration is prosecuting or plans to charge with specific crimes. The third group consists of prisoners too dangerous to simply release–for reasons that could include a suspected organizational role in al-Qaeda, explosives training or in some cases an openly stated desire to kill Americans–but also impossible to put on trial, maybe because of evidence rendered inadmissible by torture; because the troops who captured them didn’t collect evidence; or because they supported al-Qaeda before the US made that a crime for foreigners overseas.
The first group is the easiest to deal with. Obama has the freedom to send the 86 men home on his own. Fifty-six of them are from Yemen–all of whom could be there by now had al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, whose leaders included an ex–Gitmo detainee, not tried to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009, leading Obama to halt detainee transfers back to the country. Obama now says improvements in the Yemeni government’s ability to monitor repatriated detainees allows him to lift his self-imposed moratorium on returning detainees there. He can likewise dispatch the rest of the cleared inmates to other countries unilaterally.
Republicans warn that even some of those detainees deemed safe for release will inevitably join forces with Islamic radicals–as did Saeed al-Shihri months after his 2007 release from Gitmo, eventually rising to the No. 2 spot in al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch before being killed by a drone strike earlier this year. “I don’t trust the government” in Yemen, Republican Representative Peter King told ABC’s This Week on May 26. But they can’t prevent Obama from proceeding. How fast he’ll move is another question: Obama said each of the Yemenis must first undergo yet another review.
The second and third groups are considerably tougher cases. Obama would like to move the trials by military commissions now under way at Guantánamo to a location in the US and bring any new cases against prosecutable suspects on American soil, either in military or civilian courts. He also presumably intends to move to highly secure sites in the US the roughly 46 who can be neither released nor tried, until some solution can be found for them. But right now Obama can’t move any detainees into the US without Congress’s help. In 2009 he tried to resettle some low-risk prisoners in the US and also proposed trying alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Gitmo inmates in federal court. A furious backlash from conservatives and even many Democrats who feared the soft-on-terrorists label prompted Congress to block inmate transfers into the US for any reason.
And while Obama’s May 23 speech may have stirred the hearts of some liberal supporters, it doesn’t seem to have moved the Republicans whose support he’ll need to move detainees into the US, particularly in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. “I don’t get the sense that this pressure is having an impact” on House Republicans, says Representative Adam Smith, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. Many Republicans argue that the risk of detainees’ committing future acts of terrorism outweighs the damage Guantánamo does to the US’s image. And they have little interest in Obama’s appetite for moving more terrorism cases into civilian courts.
Lately Obama has tried speaking the language Republicans best understand–spending–by pointing out that each inmate at Gitmo costs $800,000 per year to house, for a total of about $150 million per year in operations. But when it comes to closing Gitmo, Smith says, many of the Republicans whose support Obama would need to approve transfers to US prisons have boxed themselves in politically. House Speaker John Boehner, for instance, has called the prison a “world-class facility” and in 2010 said he wouldn’t vote to close it “if you put a gun to my head.”
The broader themes of Obama’s speech may not have helped the Guantánamo cause either. Far from agreeing with the President’s talk of a severely weakened al-Qaeda and his aspiration to wind down the war on terrorism, some Republicans accused him of complacency and retreat. Newt Gingrich called Obama’s vision “breathtakingly, stunningly naive.” Such talk is hardly the groundwork for a new spirit of cooperation.
Some Problems Have No Solution
Even assuming that the president can close Gitmo by resettling some detainees in other countries and bringing the rest to trials and prisons in the US, a major problem will remain: What to do with the 48 detainees who can’t be tried or released for fear that they will return to the “battlefield” of the war on terrorism? After all, holding prisoners without charges would seem to violate the constitution’s fundamental habeas corpus guarantee. Obama doesn’t claim to have a clear answer, and his speech punted the question. He said only that “once we commit to a process of closing [Guantánamo], I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.”
For now, Obama deals with this legal equivalent of radioactive waste by treating those inmates as prisoners of war. In March 2009, Obama’s lawyers filed a legal brief justifying detention of Gitmo detainees under the laws of war–in this case the war on al-Qaeda, made official by Congress’s September 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which allowed for the invasion of Afghanistan and other counter-terrorism efforts. Ironically, “while it decries Guantánamo as contrary to American values, the Obama administration has convinced courts of its legal validity,” says Matthew Waxman, a former Bush detainee policy official now at Columbia Law School.
Rather than see Obama stretch that validity in new directions, one prominent human rights lawyer has actually argued for keeping Gitmo open. Closing it now “would do more harm than good,” human rights lawyer and Georgetown law professor Jennifer Daskal wrote in a January New York Times op-ed, because it would mean simply opening up a similar camp in the US, thereby “setting a precedent and creating a facility readily available to future Presidents wanting to rid themselves of a range of potentially dangerous actors.”
According to this vision, Gitmo would close when the war on terrorism is finally considered over. Lawyers for detainees might argue that should happen once the US’s lead combat role in Afghanistan ends in late 2014, for instance. Obama also says he’d like Congress to revisit the AUMF, perhaps to narrow its scope or even to declare the war over. “Usually if you’re holding prisoners of war, you release them at the end of hostilities,” says C. Dixon Osburn of Human Rights First.
But at a recent Senate hearing on the AUMF, a top Pentagon official testified that the war on al-Qaeda could last 10 to 20 more years. Some Republicans, including Senator John McCain, have suggested that the law should be broadened, not narrowed or repealed.
Rhetoric about the founders aside, it’s hard to imagine Obama’s releasing trained al-Qaeda members who have not renounced terrorism into the wild, as it were. “The administration’s view seems to be that so long as it’s only a small number of very dangerous al-Qaeda terrorists, it is legitimate to hold them without trial,” Waxman says. Obama would prefer not to hold them in the prison that stains America’s international reputation. But he may find the moral high ground he seeks is simply out of his reach.
In his latest book, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield (Nation Books, April 2013), Nation journalist Jeremy Scahill takes us inside America’s new covert wars. The foot soldiers in these battles operate globally and inside the United States with orders from the White House to do whatever is necessary to hunt down, capture, or kill individuals designated by the president as enemies. How did the president come to hold this much power in his hands, and what can be done about it?
Join Nation Books and The New School on Friday, May 31 at 7pm EST for a special presentation, Jeremy Scahill in conversation with Spencer Ackerman, a national security reporter and blogger for Wired magazine. Tune in here to watch the full live stream.( Click link below(
It has been widely reported but rarely acknowledged in Washington that three US citizens — Samir Khan, Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki — were executed in Yemen by missile-equipped drones in 2011. With Holder’s latest admission, however, a fourth American — Jude Kenan Mohammed — has also been officially named as another casualty in America’s continuing drone war.
“Since 2009, the United States, in the conduct of US counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and its associated forces outside of areas of active hostilities, has specifically targeted and killed one US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki,” the letter reads in part. “The United States is further aware of three other US citizens who have been killed in such US counterterrorism operations over that same time period,” Holder said before naming the other victims.
“These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States,” the attorney general wrote.
The news of the admission broke Wednesday afternoon when New York Times reporter Charlie Savage published the letter sent from Holder to congressional leaders in a clear attempt to counter critics who have challenged the White House for falling short of US President Barack Obama’s campaign plans of utmost transparency. Upon a growing number of executive branch scandals worsened by the Department of Justice’s recently disclosed investigation of Associated Press journalists, Holder wrote that coming clean is an effort to include the American public in a discussion all too often conducted in the shadows cast by the US intelligence community.
“The administration is determined to continue these extensive outreach efforts to communicate with the American people,” continued Holder. “To this end, the president has directed me to disclose certain information that until now has been properly classified. You and other members of your committee have on numerous occasions expressed a particular interest in the administration’s use of lethal force against US citizens. In light of this face, I am writing to disclose to you certain information about the number of US citizens who have been killed by US counterterrorism operations outside of areas of active hostilities.”
The letter, dated Wednesday, May 22, was addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Drone strikes have become a signature counterterrorism tool used by the Obama administration and his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and have been attributed with killing roughly 5,000 persons abroad, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). But under the covert and protective umbrella of the Central Intelligence Agency, little has been formally acknowledged from Washington as to the details of these strikes.
As part of the vaguely defined ‘War on Terror,’ the US has reportedly waged drone strikes outside of Afghanistan where the Taliban once harbored al-Qaeda. In recent years, those strikes have targeted towns in neighboring Pakistan, as well as Yemen, Somalia and perhaps elsewhere.
But despite growing criticism over escalating use of drones, the president and his office has remained adamant about defending the operations.
“It’s important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash,” Obama said last January, adding that his administration does not conduct “a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly.”
Others have argued quite the opposite, though, and have opposed these drone strikes over the lack of due process involved and the habit of accidently executing civilians in the strikes. When researchers at Stanford University and New York University published their ‘Living Under Drones’ report last September, they found that roughly 2 percent of drone casualties are of top militant leaders. The Pakistani Interior Minister has said that around 80 percent of drone deaths in his country were suffered by civilians.
Earlier this year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) led a marathon filibuster on the floor of Congress to oppose the CIA’s drone program and demand the administration explain to elected lawmakers why the use of unmanned aerial vehicles is warranted in executing suspects, often killing innocent civilians as a result.
Of particular concern, Paul said, was whether or not the Obama administration would use the 2011 Yemen strike as justification to kill American citizens within the US. For 13 hours, he demanded the White House respond.
“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA,” Sen. Paul said. “I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”
One day after the filibuster, both Attorney General Holder and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reached out to Sen. Paul to say the president lacks the authority to issue such a strike within the US. With this week’s letter, however, Holder admits that at least four Americans have met their demise due to US drones. He also explains why the administration felt justified in using UAVs to execute its own people.
“Al-Awlaki repeatedly made clear his intent to attack US persons and his hope that these attacks would take American lives,” wrote Holder. “Based on this information, high-level US government officials appropriately concluded that al-Awlaki posed a continuing and imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.”
Later, Holder says the decision to strike al-Awlaki was “not taken lightly” and was first put into plan in early 2010. Additionally, Holder said the plan was “subjected to exceptionally rigorous interagency legal review” and that Justice Department lawyers and attorneys for other agencies agreed that it was the appropriate action to take.
According to Holder, the senior al-Awlaki and Mr. Khan were killed in the same September 2011 drone strike in Yemen. The following month, 16-year-old Abdulrahman Anwar Al-Awlaki was killed in a strike in the same country. Mohammed, a North Carolina resident born in 1988, was killed by a drone likely in November 2011 within a tribal area of Pakistan. Mohammed was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2009 for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country, and was considered armed and dangerous by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both Khan and the older al-Awlaki were suspected members of al-Qaeda and were affiliated with the group’s magazine, Inspire.
Last February, friends of Mohammad told a North Carolina newspaper that they believed he was dead.
“Farhan Mohammed says he heard in November that his friend was killed in a drone strike,” Raleigh’s WRAL News reported in 2012. “Jude Mohammad’s pregnant wife was hysterical about her husband’s death and called her mother-in-law in the Triangle to break the news, according to Sabra. The US government hasn’t confirmed Mohammad’s death, but the people who knew him in North Carolina say it’s probably true.”
Holder declined to explain why either Mohammad or the teenage al-Awlaki were killed. President Obama is expected to discuss America’s drone program at an address in Washington on Thursday.
GE 1:28 Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over all living things. (Note: God appears to be totally unconcerned with population control or ecology.)
GE 3:16, CO 11:3-9, EP 5:22-24, CN 3:18, TS 2:5, 1PE 3:1-6 The husband is to rule over his wife. Wives are to be subject to their husbands even when the husband is disobedient to God. Man is the image and glory of God, while woman is the glory of man. Man was not created for woman but woman for man.
GE 3:16 Women should suffer pain during childbirth. (Note: This verse was used by the Church to oppose the use of anesthesia during childbirth.)
GE 4:13-15 Cain–who murdered his brother Abel–is promised protection by God.
GE 17:10 “This is my covenant, …every male among you shall be circumcised.” (Note: God seems to have an obsession with this–the words circumcise, circumcised, circumcising, circumcision, uncircumcised, uncircumcision, foreskin, and foreskins appear 157 times in the KJV. Although the KJV correctly translates the oldest Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, versions since the KJV attempt to soften this apparent obsession by creatively translating these words in a different fashion wherever possible.)
GE 17:14 A child is to be punished when his parents neglect to have him circumcised.
GE 31:17, GE 36:6, DT 21:15, JG 8:30, SA 5:13, KI 11:3, CH 14:3, CH 11:21, 13:21 Polygamy is condoned. (Note: David is one of the polygamists. He is an angel of God, SA 19:27, and always fulfills God’s will,AC 13:22.)
GE 38:8-10 A man who refuses to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law is put to death.
EX 20:4 We are not to make likenesses of anything. (Note: This seems to preclude all photographs, paintings, statues, etc.)
EX 20:5 We are not to worship a likeness. The children to the third and fourth generation will be punished for infractions.
EX 20:8-11, 31:15-17, 34:21, 35:1-3 No work of any kind is to be done on the Sabbath, not even lighting of a fire. This commandment is permanent. Death is required for infractions. (Note: This would require even that essential services, such as hospitals, police departments, etc., shut down on the Sabbath.)
EX 20:26 You should not go up steps to a high altar; you might expose yourself. (Note: Men wore skirts at this time.)
EX 21:7-11 A father can sell a daughter into slavery to pay a debt. A daughter sold into slavery is not released at the end of six years as is an ordinary male slave.
EX 21:12 Whoever strikes a man so that he dies is to be put to death–except that, in some cases, God will appoint a place to which the offender may flee instead.
EX 21:15 Whoever strikes his father or mother is to be put to death.
EX 21:20-21 A slave owner is to be punished if he strikes his slave and the slave dies shortly thereafter. If the slave lives a day or to and then dies, the slave owner is not to be punished. A slave is the same as money to his owner.
EX 21:28-32 When an ox gores a man to death, the ox must be stoned. If the ox has gored a man previously, the animal’s owner must also be put to death; in the case of the goring of a slave, the only requirement is that the owner of the ox must pay thirty shekels to the owner of the slave.
EX 22:16-17 An unbetrothed virgin is required to marry her seducer.
EX 22:20 Anyone who sacrifices to other gods must be destroyed.
EX 22:29 Firstborn children should be sacrificed to the Lord.
LE 3:17 The eating of blood and fat are prohibited forever.
LE 10:9 Drinking strong drink in the tabernacle of the congregation will result in death.
LE 11:10 Eating shellfish is prohibited.
LE 12:2 A woman who has a child, especially a female child, is unclean and purification rites are required.
LE 15:2 When a man has any bodily discharge, it is unclean.
LE 15:4 Any bed that a man with a discharge lies on is unclean.
LE 15:5 Anyone who touches an unclean bed must bathe and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:6 Anyone who sits on anything that a person with a discharge sat on must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:7 Anyone who touches the skin of a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:8 Anyone who is spit upon by a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:9-10 Whatever [saddle] a person with a discharge sits on is unclean. Anyone who touches it must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:11 Anyone who is touched by a person with a discharge who has not washed his hands must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:12 Any clay or wood utensils that are touched by a person with a discharge are unclean and must be broken or washed.
LE 15:13-15 When his discharge has stopped, the person who had the discharge will count off seven days, wash his clothes and bathe. On the eight day, he must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a discharge.
LE 15:16 When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body, and he is unclean until evening.
LE 15:17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed, and it is unclean until evening.
LE 15:18 When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe, and they are unclean until evening.
LE 15:19 A woman who is menstruating is unclean. Anyone who touches her is unclean.
LE 15:20 Anything which a woman who is menstruating sits on or lies on is unclean.
LE 15:21 Anyone who touches the bed of a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:22 Anyone who touches anything which was sat upon by a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:24 If a man lies with a woman who is menstruating and any of her discharge touches him, he is unclean for seven days. Any bed he lies on is also unclean.
LE 15:28 After her flow stops, a woman who was menstruating must count off seven days before she is considered clean again. On the eighth day, she must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a menstrual discharge.
LE 19:13 Hired help must be paid every day.
LE 19:19 Cattle must not be allowed to breed with a different kind.
LE 19:19 A field must not be sown with more than one kind of seed.
LE 19:19 A cloth garment made of two kinds of material must not be worn.
LE 19:26 Flesh with blood in it must not be eaten.
LE 19:27 The hair on the temples should not be rounded off.
LE 19:27 The edges of a beard should not be clipped.
LE 19:28 Tattoos and the like are prohibited.
LE 19:29 Do not make your daughter a prostitute.
LE 19:31 Do not consult mediums or wizards.
LE 20:14 If a man has sexual relations with both his wife and his mother-in-law, all three of them must be put to death.
LE 20:15-16 If a person engages in sex with an animal, both the animal and the person must be put to death.
LE 20:18 If a man has sex relations with a woman who is menstruating, both shall be excommunicated from their people.
LE 20:27 A medium or wizard is to be put to death.
LE 21:9 If a priest’s daughter becomes a prostitute, she is to be burnt with fire.
LE 21:14 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, a woman who has been defiled, or a harlot, but only a virgin.
LE 21:17-23 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) with crushed testicles (or almost any other physical deformity) is not to be allowed near the sanctuary.
LE 24:16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death.
LE 27:3-7 Males are more valuable than females.
LE 27:29 Human sacrifice is condoned.
LE 27:30-32 A tithe, a tenth of everything, is to be given to the Lord.
NU 3:10 An unauthorized person who acts as a priest must be put to death.
NU 5:2-3 Anyone who has a discharge or who has touched a corpse is unclean.
NU 5:12-31 A woman suspected or accused of adultery is to be tested by making her drink the “water of bitterness,” or holy water mixed with dust from the floor. (Note: There is no such test for men.)
NU 19:16 Whoever touches one who is slain in the field with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, is unclean for seven days. (Note: Isn’t one who is slain in the open field with a sword also a dead body? Why the distinction between the two?)
NU 19:22 Whatever an unclean person touches is also unclean. Anyone who touches an unclean thing also becomes unclean.
DT 4:19 Be careful when you look at the stars and planets not to be enticed into worshipping them.
DT 13:2-5 Anyone who causes someone to turn to another god must be put to death.
DT 13:6-10 A man is required to slay his friends and members of his own family who are guilty of worshipping another god.
DT 15:1-3 Every seven years, a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite) should be released from his debt. Only a foreigner should be required, again, to honor his debt.
DT 17:12 A man who shows contempt for a judge or priest must be put to death.
DT 22:5 One must not wear the clothing of the opposite sex.
DT 22:6-7 If you want to live a long time, you must not take a mother bird from her young, but you may take the young from the mother.
DT 22:10 You must not plow with an ox and an ass together.
DT 22:13-21 A bride in whom “the tokens of virginity” are not found is to be put to death. (Note: The bridegroom who falsely accuses his bride gets off with a fine.)
DT 22:23-24 A betrothed virgin who is seduced in the city is to be put to death unless she cries for help.
DT 22:28-29 A virgin who is raped must marry her rapist (if they are “found”).
DT 23:1 A man whose testicles are crushed or whose “male member” is cut off may not enter the sanctuary.
DT 23:2 A bastard–and his offspring to the tenth generation–are to be punished for his illegitimacy and cannot enter a congregation of the Lord.
DT 23:10 A man who has a seminal emission during the night is unclean and must go through a purification process.
DT 23:12-14 The Lord must not be allowed to see human excrement (it is indecent).
DT 23:19-20 Money must not be lent at interest to a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite). Interest can only be collected from foreigners.
DT 24:1-4 A man may divorce his wife simply because she displeases him.
DT 25:5-10 A man has an obligation to produce a child for his widowed sister-in-law.
DT 25:11 A wife who grabs her husband’s opponent by his “private parts” must have her hand cut off and is to be shown no pity.
JG 21:21 The Benjamites are commanded to take wives by hiding in the vineyards and then seizing the “daughters of Shiloh” as they come out to dance.
PR 13:24, 22:15, 23:13 Children are to be disciplined with the rod–if beaten with a rod, they will not die. (Note: Many Christian parents have inadvertently beaten a child to death following this precept.)
PR 26:4 Do not answer a fool. To do so makes you foolish too.
PR 26:5 Answer a fool. If you don’t, he will think himself wise.
PR 31:10-31 The able wife is to bring only profit and no loss, rise before dawn, buy land prudently, plant a vineyard with her earnings, keep her lamp burning all night, gird herself to work, be generous to the poor, lend a hand to the forlorn, talk shrewd sense, offer kindly counsel, and never be idle.
IS 56:4 A eunuch who keeps the Lord’s Sabbath will receive special rewards.
HO 4:14 The sins of female prostitutes and adulterers can be excused when the men themselves set a bad example.
MT 5:22 Do not get angry. Anger is a sin.
MT 23:9 Do not call any man on earth “father.”
MT 5:18-19 The OT law is to remain in effect until heaven and earth pass away.
MT 5:28 Whoever looks upon a woman lustfully commits adultery in his heart. (Note: This precept could cause some to think that they might as well commit adultery as to do so only in the heart.)
MT 5:29-30, 18:8-9, MK 9:43-47 If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. (Note: Many believers insist that this admonition, and others like it, are to be taken figuratively, although others take even this admonition literally. The problem is that there is no clear and decisive method to determine whether a passage is meant to be taken literally or figuratively. God could have foreseen this problem and should have provided an unambiguous solution.)
MT 5:33-37 Make no vows or oaths. They arise from evil (or the Devil).
MT 5:38-44 Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies. Do good to those that hate you.
MT 5:40 If any man would sue you and take your coat, give him your cloak also.
MT 5:48 Be perfect.
MT 6:6 Pray in private.
MT 19:12, RO 8:13 A man should consider castration, thereby making himself a eunuch, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. If you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. (Note: During the dark and middle ages, saints castrated themselves by the thousands in order to become more godly. Even now, the practice continues in some sects.)
MT 23:3 Practice and observe everything the Pharisees and scribes teach.
LK 12:33, TI 6:8 Sell your possessions and give to charity. Be content with having only food and clothing. (Note: Many believers claim that the first injunction applies only to those who are wealthy or have a problem with wealth. That this is not the case is clear from the context. It is also clear that the Disciples practiced this principle; see AC 2:44-45 and 4:32-35. This is in sharp contrast to the concept of abundance that many evangelists preach and to the personal wealth they often amass.)
LK 14:26 One cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless he hates his mother, father, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even his own life.
LK 14:33 “… any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
RO 13:1-4, PE 2:13-14 Be subject to every human institution. All authorities (laws and governments) are from God. (Note: This would include those of a Nazi Germany, yet believers seldom follow this injunction. Even Jesus and his Disciples violated this principle.)
1CO 3:18 Become a “fool” (for Christ) in order to become wise. (Note: A fool is still a fool.)
1CO 6:1-8 Christians should never go to court against each other, but should, instead, let the church settle their differences.
1CO 7:1-38 Men and widows should not marry. Although it is well for a man to remain chaste, the temptation to immorality is a valid reason to marry; a man should marry if he cannot control himself. Yet, a man who is already married should live as if he were not. He that is unmarried is concerned about how he can please the Lord while he that is married is concerned about pleasing his spouse. It is better to remain single so as to attend to the Lord without distraction.
1CO 10:24 Put your neighbor’s good ahead of your own.
1CO 11:3-10 A woman is to keep her head covered while praying or prophesying.
1CO 11:14 It is a shame for a man to have long hair. (Note: Why is it, then, that most portrayals of Jesus show him with long hair?)
1CO 14:34-35 Women are to be silent in church. If they have any questions, they are to ask their husbands at home. It is a shame for women to speak in church.
2CO 13:12 Greet each other with a holy kiss.
CN 2:8 Philosophy is to be shunned.
1TH 5:16 Rejoice always.
1TH 5:18 Give thanks no matter what the circumstances.
2TH 3:10 Anyone who doesn’t work should not be allowed to eat.
1TI 2:11-12 Women are to learn in silence (from men) in all submissiveness.
1TI 2:12 Women are not permitted to teach or have authority over men.
TS 1:10-11 There are many who must be silenced.
JA 4:7-10 Humble yourselves before God: be miserable, grieve and cry, let laughter be turned to sorrow. The Lord will then exalt you.
JA 5:14-15 Use prayer and anointing to cure illness.
2 JN 1:9-11 Do not allow anyone into your house who is not a fellow believer.
Tomorrow part 7 Bible Vulgarities & Obscenities –