The Raving Theist

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Candidate Invokes Progressive Old Testament Principles

April 19, 2006 | 23 Comments

Shrewdly pre-empting any possible opposition to his candidacy for the New York Governorship, writer/actor Malachy McCourt quoted the Old Testament in announcing his bid to seek the Green Party nomination on a platform calling for abolition of the death penalty.

“It is quite clear in the Bible — ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill,'” said McCourt, who is well-known in New York City progressive politics.

The strategy of calling for blind but selective obedience to ancient scriptures of unknown origin has recently become popular among the state’s liberal politicians, who see it as depriving conservative candidates of their customary trump card.

Noting that “our text is full of concubines and de-virginizing young girls and multiple wives and incest and gang-bangs and eating feces and chopping up babies and nakedness and hot hot sex and whatnot,” McCourt said he would disregard the passages about incest and gangbangs as “figurative.” He said he would support feces-eating because it is approved in the Book of Malachi “and my first name is the same.” Although a later chapter of Malachi calls for sinners to be burned in ovens, McCourt said his views on capital punishment remain unchanged because only the Ten Commandments are binding.

McCourt faces only token opposition from one of his brothers, Leviticus McCourt, who is running on a gay rights platform.


23 Responses to “Candidate Invokes Progressive Old Testament Principles”

  1. Mookie
    April 19th, 2006 @ 10:48 am

    Politicians feel they need to pander to the masses by tossing religious dogma at them. It worked for Bush and the crooks in power right now, and will probably continue to work so long as
    Americans do their best to not think.

  2. franky
    April 19th, 2006 @ 11:04 am

    same old, same old. selective reading of only the passages that you want

  3. Brad
    April 19th, 2006 @ 11:09 am

    franky, the bible for most people is like Playboy magazine, if you look at the photos, it’s a good read. if you read a couple of the main articles and the little comics, it’s got some good entertainment value, but if you read the thing from cover to cover you’ll be bored out of your mind before hitting the centerfold.

  4. markm
    April 19th, 2006 @ 11:15 am

    Brad, you’re on the track of a great analogy there, but it needs to be shorter: The bible for most people is like Playboy magazine, they check out a few favorite parts and skip the rest.

    In McCourt’s case, what he skipped includes “an eye for an eye” and about a hundred cases of divinely imposed and rather randomly distribuited capital punishment…

  5. Brother Jeff
    April 19th, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

    LOL! Now that’s funny! The sad part is that politicians do indeed use religion as a platform all the time. As Mookie pointed out, it works.

  6. Tom
    April 19th, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

    I recently read an article about a politician who extolled the practical reasons for a society prohibiting murder, but he was shot down by the media for being a materialist.

  7. Rod
    April 19th, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

    You are correct that this position is inconsistent. The penalty for violating the Commandment “You shall not kill” was death.

    Setting aside your disdain for any authoritative document that claims to be divine revelation, I think you would have to agree that the Mosaic Law was rather progressive for its time.

    By the way, as a Christian, I think it is best if we eliminate the death penalty in our current situation. It doesn’t serve as a deterrent. And it feeds the thirst for retribution.

    This position is not inconsistent with an honest reading of the Bible and a desire to take it seriously.

    Christianity, unlike Islam and Orthodox Judaism, is not bound to a particular culture or time.

    I am just as disturbed as you all are when people use the Bible for their own selfish purposes.


  8. Oz
    April 19th, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

    I like that thing you said about the Bible being like a Playboy. Even more ironic is that most people skip the sex parts.

  9. Marc
    April 19th, 2006 @ 10:17 pm

    This guy seems to forget that a more accurate translation of the Commandment says “murder” rather than “kill.” The death penalty is perfectly fine by Old Testament standards.

  10. Mookie
    April 19th, 2006 @ 11:06 pm

    My *religion*, unlike *another religion* and *yet another religion*, is not bound to a particular culture or time.

    Pretty cool that I *was raised into* the right one.

  11. HappyNat
    April 20th, 2006 @ 9:42 am

    Rod said: ” I think you would have to agree that the Mosaic Law was rather progressive for its time.”

    No really Rod. Plenty of other societies had come up with the idea that killing each other and stealing from each other were bad ideas. It is a very simple way to keep control of a society and allow it to move forward.

    In the same vein you know many of Jesus’ supposed ideas were not original either, right? If he’d been around today he would probaly have been busted for plagiarism at some point.

  12. salvage
    April 20th, 2006 @ 9:54 am

    Aside from the U.S. and Japan (they do about 2 executions a year) the only other nations that have it are third world crap hole dicatorships.

    Really, all you need to know.

    And to any Christian that supports the death penalty, what do ya think Jesus would say about it?

  13. Tom
    April 20th, 2006 @ 10:06 am

    And to any Christian that supports the death penalty, what do ya think Jesus would say about it?

    I’m not a Christian, but I imagine he’d say something like, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18).

  14. salvage
    April 20th, 2006 @ 10:41 am

    So does that mean all of Leviticus is in full effect?

    It’s so very confusing.

  15. Rod
    April 20th, 2006 @ 11:08 am


    I was thinking primarily of the hygenic rules that were advanced even for the 16th century.


  16. Rob
    April 20th, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

    Thats a funny thing to say, considering that out of all the religious groups affected by the black plague, the Christians handled it least well, even blaming the Jews (who had relatively more survivors of the plague due to their superior hygenic laws) for their problems.

  17. Rod
    April 20th, 2006 @ 7:05 pm


    Yes, there were Christians who thought the plague was God’s punishment. There were some who flagellated themselves in ignorance “to appease God’s wrath.” But there was also a significant number who took care of the sick and dead because of their Christian faith.

    But my point was that the Mosaic Law wasn’t just a bunch of “silly rules.”


  18. Tom
    April 20th, 2006 @ 10:45 pm

    So does that mean all of Leviticus is in full effect? It’s so very confusing.

    “I’ve done everything the Bible says – even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!” -Ned Flanders

  19. Brad
    April 20th, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

    I have nothing constructive to add to this at all, but I have to say, using a Ned Flanders quote in a litgitamate debate….I love it.

  20. hermesten
    April 25th, 2006 @ 9:49 am

    This whole “thou shalt not kill” thing is a hoot. But usually taken completely out of context, as it is here. Obviously, it doesn’t mean “thou shalt not kill.” It’s certainly never impeded Christians from any killing they wanted to do, and never will. For better understanding, it needs to be coupled with the admonition to love one’s neighbor, and updated, because the meaning has, by necessity, changed throughout history. Today, it means, more or less, thou shalt not kill your neighbor, as long as he’s: 1) an American Citizen; 2) a Republican (or independent who votes Republican, or at least doesn’t vote liberal); and 3) a good, God fearing, Christian (meaning, he condemns pornography on every internet porn site he visits when jack-ing o-ff, is anti-abortion, and cheats on his wife discreetly). Everyone else is fair game.

  21. markm
    April 27th, 2006 @ 10:40 pm

    Hermesten: This commandment has indeed kept some Christians from killing: Quakers, Mennonites, and possibly various older “heretical” groups that we don’t know much about aside from what those who exterminated them said about them. So maybe everyone except the Quakers and Mennonites are bad Christians and are going to hell… Of course, if that’s true Heaven must be a boring place!

  22. hermesten
    April 28th, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    If Quakers represented a plurality, or even a large minority, of Christians, I might actually accept the notion that the Christian religion has some positive effect on morality. Of course, the fact is, Quakers are not only an insignificant minority of Christians, the real Christians used to kill them as heretics back when they could still get away with it.

    I’m an anti-dogmatist, but I am willing to make trade-offs. The Christian dogma means something positive in the context of Quakers and Mennonites. But, the very fact that these groups comprise a heretical minority sort of proves the moral vacuity of Christianity –they are the exception that proves the rule, so to speak.

  23. Morgan-LynnLamberth
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 8:08 pm

    We ought to lambaste publicly the immorality of theBuy -bull. Yes ,the unbelievers in reality cherry pick alright.

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