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Biblical Honor Killing Does Not Justify The Practice

By Audrey McGuire
Quoting biblical honor killing in order to illustrate Christian sanction of the practice is highly erroneous, many would argue. Indeed, it is an issue of passionate debate whether or not it is acceptable by either Christianity or Islam.

These killings are understood to be the act of putting to death of a family member or community member due to the disgrace they have been thought to have brought on the society or themselves. It is usually women who are mostly victimised in this way especially where they are deemed to contravene permitted culture in matters of love, sex and marriage. Gay men are also particularly vulnerable to this type of victimisation too.

Generally the perceived criminal behaviour is due to one type of disobedience or another. Simple dating or male, female friendships can be viewed as premarital sex, whoring or adultery. Even mode of dress can attract abusive attack. Participation in political causes such as feminism or gay issues can be very dangerous behaviour in some cultural contexts.

People are killed in a variety of ways. The news is replete with stories of women who have been shot or stabbed to death. The perpetrators are most often, husbands, fathers or brothers of the victim. In historical times, public execution by stoning was common practice and unfortunately, persists till the modern day. Nowadays we do not see people burned at the stake or on a sacrificial alter as is often referred to in Bible stories.

Surely, if you look at some Old Testament bible texts such as Exodus, Leviticus or Judges, you will find references to burnt offerings and death by fire that are seemingly justified acts where women have behaved in a morally unacceptable way. Indeed human sacrifice is mentioned several places in the Old Testament. However, it does not mean that these things are Christian. Indeed, Christians believe that the last accepted human sacrifice was the death of Jesus on the cross. The whole purpose of his death was to atone for the sins of everyone with his life. As such any other human sacrifice is nullified and illegal for most Christians.

There are many who believe that the practice is actually an Islamic one but this idea is just as erroneous as it being sanctioned by Christianity. Islam does not condone unlawful murder either. It has very particular laws that are expected to be obeyed and in some cases the sanction for breach can be capital. However, a legal system exists where all cases are expected to be heard by a judge and sentenced accordingly. Never it is permitted for an individual to take hold of the law into his own hands.

This writer is of the opinion that murder is an international phenomenon. The sad truth is that violence and murder against women is also global in its occurrence too. Few cultures can claim immunity from this taint. Western culture is full of stories of women attacked, raped and dismembered by sadistic serial killers. Asian and Middle Eastern cultures are prone to the practice under discussion here. African cultures have a history of ritual killing where body parts are removed from victims.

It is true that biblical honor killing exists in the bible but that is not to say that it is condoned by Christianity. Indeed it is vehemently condemned as it is in Islam too. This practice is nothing more that sadistic murder with a specific cultural overtone.

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