The Freedom From Religion Foundation is holding a Stone a Heathen event on Monday to call attention to International Blasphemy Rights Day and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night project. It’s a clever fundraiser first done at the University of South Carolina where people can buy water balloons and “stone” an atheist, with the money going to charity. Billy Hallowell of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze tries to understand the event.
The event is clearly a play on the horrific stoning deaths that often unfold in Islamic countries. But a release from the Freedom From Religion Foundation claims that posters at the campus event will also invoke Judeo-Christian scripture, featuring signs with “biblical quotes calling for the stoning of atheists and blasphemers.”
Obviously, this is an effort to rile people up and to potentially drum up interest in the undertaking.
These verses that will be displayed, as presented on the atheist organization’s website, are as follows:
* “And everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.” – 2 Chronicles 15:13
* “You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” – Deuteronomy 13:10
* “Anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death.” – Leviticus 24:16
These proof texts, of course, were never intended to be Biblical mandates to modern-day Christians and are not put into proper context in their use by the foundation.
First of all, those stoning deaths that often take place in Muslim countries are also largely based on those same texts. Muslims believe that the Torah, the first five books of the Christian Bible, are the word of God too. And they follow them, with all the barbarism they contain. They don’t just get their barbarism from the Quran, they get it from the Old Testament of the Bible as well and, just like Christians, they believe those commands to have come from the same God that they worship.
And Hallowell is a bit too cavalier in his statement that “of course” they were “never intended” to apply today and are “not put into proper context.” There are lots of Christians — theonomists, Reconstructionists, some other types of dominionists — who very firmly believe that the Mosaic law still applies. And I’m not talking just about fringe figures, I’m talking about people associated with causes that Glenn Beck routinely helps promote. Gary North, for example, is a Reconstructionist who advocates bringing back stoning and the entire Old Testament law. He’s the curriculum director for Ron Paul’s new project that Beck has helped promote.
Despite being an event that will likely spark controversy and ire among some (particularly because the use of Judeo-Christian scripture), the hope is that the money raised can be donated by atheists to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
No, that isn’t “the hope.” That’s what is going to happen. This is really a bizarre way to word this, as though it was somehow suspect that they were really going to give the money to charity or something. But the real fun is in the comment section, as usual. One of the very first comments, by “RetiredUSMC”:
I’ll bring my own balloons filled with goat urine.
Yeah, that’s just what Jesus would do.