Candidate Charlie Fuqua says stoning disobedient children would make an example of them

I don’t play the popular partisan game of scouring the country to publicize embarrassing or scary members of one party or the other. It’s usually just to gin up fear on the other side or take a cheap shot. I mean, both sides have crazies and hypocrites. But I just have to share this because for years my go-to Bible quote to show the absurdity of still living by tribal law has been Deuteronomy 21:18-21:

If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline him, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the gate of that place. They shall say to the elders of his town, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death. So you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel will hear, and be afraid.

I used it just two weeks ago in talking about the fear-based religion that drives some politics:

Of greatest concern in the political realm is fear that there are threats to the Christian community. It’s not enough to live a godly life; it is necessary, it is appropriate, to attack or at minimum repel those you see as not being godly. This view comes from a tribal society where survival was tenuous. In early Hebrew Scripture you find all sorts of directives based on putting the security or harmony of the community ahead of the individual; rules that shun or expel or execute people that might bring disharmony, using disproportionate message-sending responses. Those who can’t breed (and thus drain resources without creating new members) are shunned. Unruly teenagers are stoned to death — “so you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (Deuteronomy 21:21) The same attitude continues in some Christians today, though they may have softened the disproportionality.

I never thought I’d actually encounter a political candidate in America today who hasn’t “softened the disproportionality.”

Meet Republican candidate for the Arkansas legislature Charlie Fuqua, a full-blown Christian Reconstructionist who has caught national attention because of his e-book God’s Law, published this Spring. In it, Fuqua says let’s bring it all back. Why stop at conservative favorites, like the ban on cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5) or the condemning of homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13). Fuqua wants to bring back my favorite — the one so absurd that any rational person would have to admit that times have changed and this stuff no longer applies to us. Right?

The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21.

Fuqua says forget Jesus’ instruction to turn the other cheek. Heck, forget even eye for an eye. He wants to go back to execution for theft:

No prison term should be longer than two years. Prison should be unpleasant and rehabilitative. Anyone that cannot be rehabilitated in two years should be executed.

He advocates for a lot of other things, including deporting all Muslims. This should not scare you — though I hope it repulses you — because Charlie Fuqua is not going to win, though he has been a representative before, nor does the Republican establishment in Arkansas like him. According to Max Brantley in the Arkansas Times, years ago then-governor Mike Huckabee singled Fuqua out to say he was a nuisance. And with this latest revelation, the state party has said they will not support his candidacy any longer. But as with Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” line, these recent statements are new but are in line with earlier ones. Just more extreme. And once Akin looked like he might win after all, support started sneaking, and in some cases, blazing back in. It is in the nature of partisan politics to stand by candidates and legislators that don’t deserve support simply because they’ll be another warm body voting by party line. But that doesn’t make it right.

As Max Brantley said in another Arkansas Times post, some would vote for a crazy candidate in their party over Jesus if He were in the other party. Political parties and elected officials should pull support of candidates like Fuqua and Akin, but they should also publicly disavow them and tell people to vote for the other party despite the short-term political cost.

About Phil Fox Rose

Phil Fox Rose is a writer, editor and content lead based in New York. He is coordinator of Contemplative Outreach of New York, helping promote centering prayer, which has been his contemplative practice for nearly 20 years. Raised atheist by ex-Mormons, Phil has journeyed through Quakerism, deep ecology, Buddhism and Catholicism. Now he's a congregant, worship leader, cook and chair of the leadership team at St. Lydia's, an awesome dinner church in Brooklyn, NY, and spends as much time in nature as possible. Phil has been a political party leader, videographer, tech journalist, punk roadie, software designer, sheepherder, stockbroker and downtempo radio DJ. A common thread is the process of learning about stuff, figuring it out and then sharing that understanding with others. Follow Phil by RSS feed, email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

  • LoieJ

    Gospel, please. Less law.

    • Paul D.

      The Evangelical “gospel” is even worse than stoning children to death, if that is possible. It mandates eternal torture for all (including children) who don’t intellectually assent to a set of theological propositions.

  • Mattiedef

    Prison is rehabilitative when it is light. Retribution and rehabilitation are diametrically opposed. You cannot “Scare” people into acting like better people. If good feels good, they will do good. If you make bad feel bad, they will usually just try not to get caught better.

    But I agree basically with the bloggers statements. The more the parties allow these crazies in, the more they tend to trend towards them because it allows more crazies to come in attached to them.

  • Phil Fox Rose

    Mattiedef, I agree that rehabilitation is not compatible with retribution. Our prison system is broken in so many ways: in the number of people incarcerated; in the inequitable distribution of sentencing; and in how little potential there is for rehabilitation. The spirit of “penitence” in “penitentiary” has been largely lost in our culture today.


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