Sunday favorites

Numbers 15:15-16

As for the assembly, there shall be for both you and the resident alien a single statute, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you and the alien shall be alike before the Lord. You and the alien who resides with you shall have the same law and the same ordinance.

  • Kryptozoon

    Isn’t this passage given just before the Israelites invade some land already settled by other people? And does it not mean that the original inhabitants, or what remains of them after God’s work is done and the conquest completed, should be forced to be subject to the idiosynchratic and OCDish Mosaic law, e.g. stoning for working on the Sabbath, no worshipping other gods an so forth, regardless of their former religion and culture? If so, what’s so good about it as to qualify as ‘favorite’?

  • Steve

    Because when you read this verse from the standpoint of 21-Century American politics (which is without a doubt the lens the author intended) it sounds really progressive.

  • SergeantHeretic

    That it does, whitch is rather the point.

  • Kryptozoon

    I got it that Fred talks about illegal immigrants to the US here, but I also think the quoted text only works in that role if lifted from context. In that case it can sound progressive if you think it says something like ‘do not withhold from the alien the legal protections you yourself enjoy’. But in context it rather seems to mean ‘do not suffer them to mind their own business; push them to assimilate by forcing them to observe your pretty arbitrary laws’.

  • Albanaeon

    Well, this could go very wrong, in a “rich and poor are forbidden to sleep under bridges” sort of way.

    “Of course I could be arrested and deported if I didn’t have citizenship papers, just like them. Its perfectly fair, even if I’m never asked to prove my right to be here, while brown folk always have to. Its just the way it is…”

  • Mark Z.

    As always, there’s the Law (in this case, “treat foreigners exactly like your own people”), and then there’s the stupid shit that the Israelites actually do, which has very little resemblance to the Law.

  • Ben English

    I’ve heard basically the same thing in arguing about gay marriage. “Gay marriage isn’t equal rights, it’s special rights! See, I can’t marry a man, so why should they get to?”

  • Evan

    Actually, there were some exceptions given in that regard. I don’t remember them all, but foreigners weren’t required to be circumcised and weren’t even allowed to eat the Passover unless they were circumcised. I’ll agree with you about idolatry and the Sabbath, though. (But on the other hand, I’ve no idea what would have happened among the Caananites if someone insisted on working on a local feast day.)

  • SergeantHeretic

    That’s why now we say Marriage equality. The idea is that we want the ability to mary the human being we love, just the same as Straghts can, regardless of some petty outmoded sensibility.

  • dpolicar

    Yup. Personally I’ve taken to framing it as “families like mine deserve the same kind of legal support that families like yours have enjoyed for generations.”

  • Kryptozoon

    Instance of this phenomenon, personal experience. I grew up in an Eastern European country whose ethnic majority was different from my own. Communist era, conscript army. In the very first day of my military service the commanding officer ordered us to only use the majority language among ourselves for the duration of our stay in the army; this for a platoon which mirrored to some extent the ethnic makeup of the general population, more precisely: five different mother tongues could be identified among us. Presumably this order was fair because everyone was equally forbidden to speak any minority language, both those who had it for a mother tongue and those who could not understand a word of it. The order did not really have any effect since we always ended up speaking whatever language we could identify as being common to all those present, and besides we were all fluent in the majority language, but still …

  • lowtechcyclist

    Clearly this passage is to be filed under “Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes.”


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