The Two Commandments.

Don Ardell, Palace blogger and fellow godless heathen, sent this to me this morning.

[Charlton Heston as Moses holding two stone tablets: one reads “BE COOL” and the other “DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.”]

Don was of course very wise to bring this to my urgent attention: because I am a world-renowned expert in moral philosophy, I instantly recognized that the proposed Two Commandments needed a tweak or two.  Here are my edits:

“1.  Be good.  And don’t confuse niceness for goodness.”
“2.  Don’t be an asshole.  But if you are going to be an asshole, only use your asshole powers for good (see #1).”

__________

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is constantly battling public schools that insist on displaying the biblical ten commandments, about which Christians so love to crow.  In a brilliant essay entitled “What’s Wrong With the Ten Commandments?” from her 1983 book Lead Us Not Into Penn Station, FFRF founder and president emerita Anne Nicol Gaylor explains exactly what is wrong with them.  Unfortunately, her essay offers no insight into what is wrong with god-besotted public school principals and community school boards who do not care one whit that displaying sectarian crap on public school property is a constitutional violation.  (We have our own hypothesis about that.)

Perhaps the biggest failing of the commandments is what they don’t say, rather than what they do.  As Gaylor points out regarding the seventh commandment:

Adultery, it must be remembered, involves an act between consenting adults. Should it really rate in the Christian’s “Big Ten?” How much more relevant and valuable it would be to have, for instance, a commandment that forbids the violent crimes of rape and incest.

Sure, it would be relevant and valuable. But on the other hand it would directly contradict the god character’s enthusiastic endorsements of rape and incest elsewhere in the novel.  Kind of like how the sixth commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is really more the exception than the rule, as the villain in the story, “Lord,” repeatedly commands his chosen people to march around to village after village in the Middle East and mercilessly slaughter every man, woman, child and non-human animal.  (Except for female hotties, of course.  Those they get to capture and keep as wives, after raping them.  Duh!)

But the commandment that really turns my stomach — and the one that should instantly banish all thought of holding them up as a moral guide or letting schoolchildren be anywhere near them — is the tenth:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17 RSV)

So, a man’s wife is lumped into a list of his personal property including his farm animals, right there between his house and his slave.  It’s all his stuff, to do with whatever he damn well pleases.

In 1976 Nebraska, of all places, became the first U.S. state to abolish the “marital rape exemption,” which prior to that had been the law of the land.  The exemption codified that a spouse exists in a state of perpetual consent to sexual intercourse, and therefore cannot possibly be raped:

The so-called “marital rape exemption” has been embedded in the sexual assault laws of our country since its founding. In its most drastic form, the exemption means that a husband, by definition, cannot legally rape his wife. The theory goes that by accepting the marital contract, a woman has tacitly consented to sexual intercourse any time her husband demands it.

The concept dates back to 18th century common law, and was articulated by English jurist Matthew Hale as follows: “The husband cannot be guilty of rape . . . for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife [has] given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract.”

Over 200 years later, American lawmakers were not ready to do away with the marital rape exemption, as shown by the Model Penal Code. Drafted in the 1950s, the code states that: “Marriage . . . while not amounting to a legal waiver of the woman’s right to say ‘no,’ does imply a kind of generalized consent that distinguishes some versions of the crime of rape from parallel behavior by a husband. . . . Retaining the spousal exclusion avoids this unwarranted intrusion of the penal law into the life of the family.”

North Carolina became the last state to jettison the marital rape exemption from its penal code, all the way back in 1993.  Until then, a person could not be convicted of rape “if the victim is the person’s legal spouse at the time of the commission of the alleged rape.”

Why on earth would victims rights advocates, lawyers and politicians need to work so tirelessly for so many years to finally get marital rape exemptions revoked across country?  I mean, I know they were up against the powerful rapist rights lobby and everything, but where would anyone ever get such a repugnant idea about women in the first place?  From the fucking tenth commandment, that’s where.

Here’s a little story.  Once upon a time…

(WOMENSENEWS)–The scars on Regan Martin’s wrists are a painful reminder of a past filled with violence and fear. While handcuffed behind her back, Martin’s husband brutally beat and raped her, leaving her bloody, bruised and severely injured on the floor of their Crete, Ill., home.

The 2005 incident began, police reports say, after Martin refused to have sex with her husband John Samolis.

Sadly, Martin’s story is not uncommon among American women. Studies indicate that between 15 and 25 percent of all married women have been victims of spousal rape and some scholars suggest that this type of rape is the most common form in our society.

Evidently, Regan Martin’s husband believed that spousal rape should not be considered a crime at all. He exhibited a commonly held assumption among perpetrators of the crime: that husbands have property rights in their wives’ bodies.

“He thought he had every right to do what he was doing because he was her husband,” Cherry Simpson, Regan Martin’s mother, told Women’s eNews.

Regan Martin’s husband was offered a plea bargain to plead guilty to the lesser crime of aggravated domestic violence in return for the DA dropping rape and unlawful restraint charges.  He served 19 months in prison on the aggravated domestic violence charge.

Rape convictions are vanishingly rare:

54% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past 5 years. Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.

__________
References
  1. Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2006-2010
  2. FBI, Uniform Crime Reports: 2006-2010
  3. National Center for Policy Analysis, Crime and Punishment in America, 1999
  4. Department of Justice, Felony Defendents in Large Urban Counties: average of 2002-2006

Rapists:  Christianity is your friend.

Christians:  that is some telling company you keep.  Also, your god is a cruel, sick creep and your holy book is a rapist’s manifesto.

And anyone who proffers the ten commandments as a moral guide really should not have access to U.S. schoolchildren.

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