I Samuel 15:2-3


2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

See other: Often Ignored Bible Verses

Kippumjo


The Kippumjo, which translates as ‘Pleasure Squad’, is a group of approximately 2,000 North Korean women who are recruited by the head of state to serve in a private harem. Although most women are believed to retire in their twenties, there is evidence to suggest that the age of Kippumjo members ranges between 13 and 40.

‘Although Kim Il-sung appears to have been at least in part a feminist, in that he sought to bring women’s education up to scratch and elevate their status by involving them in the workforce, he nonetheless possessed a virtual harem of young women selected purely for the purposes of entertaining him and Kim Jong-il. Kim Il-sung’s interest in young women was not just for pleasure, but for rejuvenating himself through absorbing a young virgin’s ki, or life-force, during sex. As such, it was extremely difficult being an attractive teenage girl in North Korea, lest the authorities (schools, in practice) recommend her to recruiters of the so-called “happy corps” (entertainers), or “satisfaction corps” (sexual services). Remarkably, parents were often happy for their daughters to be selected for these corps, for it would confer on them enhanced status, and therefore money. Pleasure girls retired from the corps at 22, after which they were often married off to other members of the elite. The two Kims’ easy-going sex lives were in sharp contrast to the stricter social mores of North Korea’s conservative society, yet another example of the leaders not practicing what they preached.’

– “The Kims’ North Korea. Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K. Martin (Bookreview by Yoel Sano)” Asia Times, 4 June 2005

Conversations: Conservatism and Society


Helena
The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious adherence; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and infant mortality.

Sappho
Sadly, the same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious literalism, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms.

Lysandra
Hang on, political party affiliation in the United States is not a perfect indicator of religiosity! Continue reading

Conversations: Genocide and Dogma


Helena
Consider the Holocaust: centuries before the mid 20th century, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, while the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were religious, and the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued. The anti-Semitism that built the Nazi death camps was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity.

Sappho
Examples aplenty, the Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914. And both Catholic and Protestant churches have a shameful record of complicity with the Nazi genocide.

Galene
Hang on, what is this so-called blood libel? Continue reading

Faith and Porcophobia


‘There must therefore be another answer to the conundrum. I claim my own solution as original, though without the help of Sir James Frazer and the great Ibn Warraq I might not have hit upon it. According to many ancient authorities, the attitude of early Semites to swine was one of reverence as much as disgust. The eating of pig flesh was considered as something special, even privileged and ritualistic. (This mad confusion between the sacred and the profane is found in all faiths at all times.) The simultaneous attraction and repulsion derived from an anthropomorphic root: the look of the pig, and the taste of the pig, and the dying yells of the pig, and the evident intelligence of the pig, were too uncomfortably reminiscent of the human.

Porcophobia—and porcophilia—thus probably originate in a night-time of human sacrifice and even cannibalism at which the “holy” texts often do more than hint. Nothing optional—from homosexuality to adultery—is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishments) have a repressed desire to participate. As Shakespeare put it in King Lear, the policeman who lashes the whore has a hot need to use her for the very offense for which he plies the lash.

Porcophilia can also be used for oppressive and repressive purposes. In medieval Spain, where Jews and Muslims were compelled on pain of death and torture to convert to Christianity, the religious authorities quite rightly suspected that many of the conversions were not sincere. Indeed, the Inquisition arose partly from the holy dread that secret infidels were attending Mass—where of course, and even more disgustingly, they were pretending to eat human flesh and drink human blood, in the person of Christ himself. Among the customs that arose in consequence was the offering, at most events formal and informal, of a plate of charcuterie. Those who have been fortunate enough to visit Spain, or any good Spanish restaurant, will be familiar with the gesture of hospitality: literally dozens of pieces of differently cured, differently sliced pig. But the grim origin of this lies in a constant effort to sniff out heresy, and to be unsmilingly watchful for giveaway expressions of distaste. In the hands of eager Christian fanatics, even the toothsome jamón Ibérico could be pressed into service as a form of torture.’

Hitchens. C. 2007. God Is Not Great London, Great Britain: Atlantic Books (2008) p. 40-41

Wanted Posters


‘The Wanted Posters at the post office: you’re there, you got your package, you’re trying to mail something, this guy’s wanted in 12 states. Yeah, now what? Ok, I check the guy standing in line behind me, if it’s not him, that’s pretty much all I can do.

Why don’t they just hold on to this guy when they’re taking his picture.
“The guy’s there with you!”
“Come out from behind the camera and grab him!”
“No, we don’t do that. We take their picture, we let them go.”
“That’s how we get the front and side shot.”
“The front is his face, the side is him leaving.”‘

– Seinfeld, J. (1998). I’m Telling You For The Last Time. Broadhurst Theatre, New York: Universal Records.