“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
Carl Sandburg, in The People, Yes (1936)
One response to my sixty objections against Clay Jones’s attempt to defend Jehovah’s command to the Israelites to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children), is that my my objections “argue the law” thus betraying a reluctance to “argue the facts”. There is some truth to this point. I have indeed focused primarily on “arguing the law”. That is because the laws of Jehovah are clearly sexist, arbitrary, unclear, and harsh (indicating that Jehovah was either stupid or unjust or both).
However, the FACTS are not especially on Jones’s side either. Jones actually makes very little effort to “argue the facts”. So I’m more than happy to shift gears for a bit and to show that Jones’s attempt to justify Jehovah’s command to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children) fails even when the focus is placed on “arguing the facts”.
I will imagine that it is my own daughters (at ages 8 and 18) who are being charged with a sin or crime that Jones believes to be worthy of the death penalty. I will imagine Clay Jones to present the case for convition and for the punishment of death (based on his comments in his article “Killing the Canaanites“), and I will imagine that it is my job to vigorously defend my daughters against the charges and the case made by Jones, to ensure that they are given a fair trial.
In Part 1, I presented a mini-trial of Lisa and Kathy conerning the charge of IDOLATRY. In Part 2, I presented a mini-trial of Lisa and Kathy conerning the charge of INCEST. Today, Grand Inquisitor Jones will take another swing at these two girls, arguing that they have committed the sin or crime of ADULTERY.
Judge: The Grand Inquisitor Jones will now present his case against the accused, and then Bradley For the Defense will present objections and arguments defending the accused.
GI Jones: Thank you, your honor. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: today I will present to you my case for the charge that Lisa (age 8) is guilty of the horrible crime or sin of ADULTERY, and for the charge that her older sister Kathy (age 18) is also guilty of this terrible crime or sin, and that because of this horrible sin or crime, they both deserve the penalty of DEATH; they both deserve to have their heads chopped off by a sword-wielding, Jehovah-worshiping soldier of the army of Israel.*
Lisa and Kathy have committed the crime or sin of ADULTERY. I assure you that both of these wicked girls are Canaanites who were raised to worship the gods of the Canaanites. Canaanite religion, like that of all of the ANE [Ancient Near East], was a fertility religion that involved temple sex. Inanna/Ishtar, also known as the Queen of Heaven, “became the woman among the gods, patron of eroticism and sensuality, of conjugal love as well as adultery, of brides and prostitutes, transvestites and pederasts.” As University of Helsinki professor Martti Nissinen writes, “Sexual contact with a person whose whole life was devoted to the goddess was tantamount to union with the goddess herself.” [The preceding italicized sentences are a quote from Clay Jones’s article.]
Since these two Canaanite girls have participated in worship of a female goddess who was a patron of conjugal love as well as adultery, and since the worship of Canaanite gods involved temple sex, where a married man could have sex with a woman who was not his wife but who was devoted to the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, as a part of the worship of the goddess, these two girls must have been inspired by the practice of temple sex and by the goddess of sex and adultery to engage in adultery themselves.
So, you must, on the basis of these facts, deliver a verdict of “Guilty” and condemn these evil and perverse girls to death by beheading. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury for your attention to my case for the guilt of Lisa and Kathy.
BFD: What the hell! Is this a joke? I was expecting hours of testimony from multiple eyewitnesses, or at least a lengthy presentation of dozens of facts to make a circumstantial case for the guilt of the accused girls. But instead we are offered a fifteen-second, purely speculative “argument”. Grand Inquisitor Jones, have you no shame, sir?
The Grand Inquisitor has failed to cite the law that the defendants have violated, and the Grand Inquisitor has not even hinted at what he means by “the crime or sin of ADULTERY”, so we have no clear idea of what the defendants are being accused of doing, or whether the law even applies to these beautiful, charming, and intelligent girls. Since the laws of Jehovah were directed to the men of Israel, the presumption is that any such laws do NOT apply to young girls who are Canaanites, not Israelites.
Though GI Jones has utterly failed to make a rational case against the defendants in terms of the alleged law against ADULTERY, let’s ignore that for the moment, and simply assume the common sense notion that the word “adultery” means:
Either (a) being a married person and (while still married) having sexual intercourse with a person to whom one is not married,
OR (b) being an unmarried person and (while still unmarried) having sexual intercourse with a married person.
Since GI Jones has presented ZERO facts to show that either Lisa or Kathy have ever had sexual intercourse with ANYONE, there is no case here to consider.
All we have is GI Jones’ personal assertion that Lisa and Kathy “were raised to worship the gods of the Canaanites” and that one of the gods of the Canaanites was the patron of both conjugal love and adultery. So what? The fact that they worshiped a god who was patron of “conjugal love as well as adultery,” does not mean that these girls had any interest or desire to engage in adultery, nor does this show that they ever in fact engaged in adultery.
Jehovah was “a mighty warrior” (Jer. 20:11, see also Zeph. 3:17) and thus a patron of warfare in the religion of the Israelites. Does that mean that every girl and young woman in Israel was a warrior? Does that mean that every girl and young woman of Israel has killed an enemy in battle? Of course not. The fact that Jehovah was viewed as “a mighty warrior” and as a patron of warfare in the religion of the Israelites does NOT by itself prove anything about the behavior of individual Israelites.
The fact that the Canaanites worshipped a goddess who was a patron of “conjugal love as well as adultery” does not even show that adultery was a generally accepted behavior among Canaanites. Notice that the Grand Inquisitor does not mention the legal status of adultery among Canaanites. This suggests that adultery was prohibited by Canaanite laws, and that GI Jones chose to keep this relevant information to himself.
The Oxford Bible Commentary offers some evidence on this point:
Sexual mores were fairly uniform throughout the ancient Near East. For example, adultery was universally condemned (cf. Codex Hammurabi 129-132). (The Oxford Bible Commentary, p.103 – comment on Leviticus 18:24-30)
We previously saw that INCEST was prohibited among Canaanites, even though some of their gods were portrayed as engaging in incest, so it should be no surprise that ADULTERY was also prohibited among Canaanites, even if they worshiped a goddess who was the patron of “conjugal love as well as adultery”.
But what about “temple sex”? If a married man had sex with a priestess or devotee of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar as a part of the worship of the goddess, then he would be committing adultery as a part of a religious ritual. Wouldn’t this send a message to Canaanite children and young people that adulterous sex was acceptable behavior? There are several problems here that cast doubt on this assumption.
First of all, were children and teenagers allowed to observe such religious rituals? We don’t know, and GI Jones has presented no facts showing this to be the case. Second, even assuming that children and teenagers were allowed to observe this ritual, would they know that the man who was having sex with the woman was a married man having sex with a woman who was not his wife? I doubt that Canaanite children went to Sunday school to be taught such details about Canaanite religious rituals, and GI Jones offers no facts indicating that Canaanite children received detailed lessons about Canaanite religious rituals.
Third, was this a weekly ritual? a monthly ritual? a yearly ritual? GI Jones offers no information about the frequency of such rituals. Some Christians go to church services and prayer meetings and bible studies on a daily basis. Other Christians go just to church services on Sundays, and many Christians only show up to church once or twice a year, on Easter or Christmas. It seems likely that Canaanites did not always show up to every Canaanite religous ceremony, so even if “temple sex” was a regular (weekly or monthly) ritual, many Canaanites might only observe this ritual once or twice a year.
Finally, a BIG problem with the assumption that observing temple sex would encourage people to believe that adultery was OK, is that temple sex was NOT actually adultery! More accurately, the laws of Jehovah do NOT prohibit adultery in general (as we have defined the word), but only prohibit ONE form of adultery, and this prohibited form of adultery does NOT occur when a married man has sex with an unmarried woman:
The commandment’s prohibition [related to adultery] is thus a narrow one. Because it is addressed to men, it does not explicitly prohibit women from having sex with married men, or, for that matter, prohibit married men from having sex with unmarried women, including prostitutes. (God and Sex by Michael Coogan, p.103)
In the ancient Near East and the OT (Lev. 18:20; 20:10; Deut. 22:22) adultery meant consensual sexual intercourse by a married woman with a man other than her husband. However, intercourse between a married man and another woman was not considered adultery unless she was married. (Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, p.23)
Therefore, when a married man had “temple sex” with a woman other than his wife, this might well have NOT been a violation of Jehovah’s law concerning adultery, since a woman who was a priestess or devotee of a Canaanite goddess might well be an unmarried woman.
Finally, even if it could be proven that Canaanites in general viewed adultery as an acceptable behavior, and even if Canaanites in general desired to engage in adultery, and even if Canaanites in general attempted to engage in adultery, this is NOT sufficient reason for convicting these two particular Canaanite girls and condemning them to have their heads chopped off!
At the most, the sort of evidence that GI Jones offers shows that there is some modest probabiltiy that one or both of these two girls has committed the sin or crime of adultery, but such a weak conclusion falls obviously and hopelessly short of the requirement that guilt be established beyond any reasonable doubt, especially in a capital case.
Let’s briefly consider each category of adultery, in accordance with the above common-sense understanding of what “adultery” means.
1. Was either of these girls a married person who (while still married) had sexual intercourse with a person to whom she was not married?
Obviously Lisa, who is only eight years old, is NOT a married person, so she clearly did NOT commit this form of adultery.
Kathy is eighteen years old, so it is legally possible for her to be a married person. However, I have submitted into evidence sworn statements from Kathy’s parents and three of her friends that she has never been married, and GI Jones has provided no evidence that Kathy has ever been married. So, there has been no case presented for the claim that Kathy has committed this form of adultery.
2. Was either of these girls an unmarried person who (while still being unmarried) had sexual intercourse with a married person?
Lisa is an eight year old child. So, if Lisa did have sex with a married man that would presumably be an instance of CHILD RAPE by the married man, and not the sin or crime of adultery by Lisa. If the laws of Jehovah demanded the death penalty for a victim of CHILD RAPE, then that would only prove that the laws of Jehovah were obviously and greviously UNJUST. But there is no reason to believe that the laws of Jehovah demanded the execution of victims of CHILD RAPE. So, Lisa cannot be convicted of this form of adultery.
Kathy is eighteen years old, so it is reasonable to hold her accountable for consensual sexual activity in which she has (recently) been involved. However, as we have previously shown, there is NO prohibition in the laws of Jehovah against a married man having sex with an unmarried woman. Even if it could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Kathy has had sex with a married man, neither the man nor Kathy would be guilty of violating a law of Jehovah, because Kathy is an unmarried woman. Therefore, because this court is only concerned with violations of the laws of Jehovah, Kathy cannot be convicted or punished by this court for engaging in this form of adultery.
In conclusion, we have examined the two basic kinds of adultery, in accordance with this common-sense understanding of the meaning of the word “adultery”: Either (a) being a married person and (while still married) having sexual intercourse with a person to whom one is not married, OR (b) being an unmarried person and (while still unmarried) having sexual intercourse with a married person.
In NO CASE did we find a specific kind of adultery in which both of the following requirements were met:
(1) the specific form of adultery in question was prohibited by a law of Jehovah, AND
(2) the factual evidence presented here by GI Jones proves beyond a reasonable doubt that one or both of these two girls had engaged in that specific form of adultery.
Because the Grand Inquisitor Jones has failed to meet both requirements for EITHER of the two different forms of adultery, you must return a verdict of NOT GUILTY.
Please return a verdict of NOT GUILTY for the two beautiful, charming, intelligent, and loving girls who are standing at my side today. There have been no specific facts or evidence presented by the Grand Inquisitor Jones showing that they have engaged in any form of adultery prohibited by the laws of Jehovah. Let there be no chopping off heads today; declare Lisa and Kathy NOT GUILTY.
* I do have children, but the names and ages given here are not the actual names and ages of my children.