Deuteronomy 21:21 on trial: NY woman murders daughter for dishonoring her

A woman recently removed the rebellious blight of her daughter from the community, murdering the offspring of her loins for chronic disrespect. Here’s the AP today via Breibart:

A woman accused of strangling her daughter on a college campus apartment in Purchase, N.Y., told them she did it because the daughter was “disrespectful all the time,” according to court papers made public Thursday. . . . When police asked what prompted Marissa to be disrespectful, her mother said, “I asked her where she was going.” She said she told her daughter, “Don’t ever speak to me like that. This will be the last time you speak to me like that.”

Here’s my question: if this woman were to argue that she had, afterall, merely done something broadly in keeping with the biblical command to remove evil children from the community (see Deuteronomy 21:21 and 21: 20), would it be proper for a jury to take her affirmation of religious motive into account?

What say you?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to Deuteronomy 21:21 on trial: NY woman murders daughter for dishonoring her

  1. santitafarella says:

    This in the Sydney Morning Herald:

    “Murder is punishable by the death penalty in Jordan but in such cases of the so-called ‘honour killings’ a court usually commutes or reduces sentences, particularly if the victim’s family urges leniency.”

    That is, the leniency goes to the father who has killed one of his children. I regard this as deeply pathological, the perverse and inhumane “logic” of religious fundamentalism.

    Here’s the link to the Sydney article: http://www.smh.com.au/world/she-got-pregnant-outside-marriage-so-father-killed-her-police-20091019-h37o.html

  2. concerned christian says:

    No, the Judge should not allow the Bible to be used as a legal document, because it is not considered to be a source of our laws according to the Constitution. This is different in many Muslim countries, like Egypt, which fell into the trap of amending the constitution declaring the Islamic Religion to be the source of all the laws, as explained in the attached item. Today, Judges in Egypt can totally disregard Egyptian laws and apply Islamic Sharia and no one can challenge them. It is not only honor killing that is justified, it’s a lot of twisted rules that treat non-Muslims as second class citizens based on Islamic Sharia. To add insult to injury, some western countries such as Canada and UK are considering allowing Sharia rules in some cases, go figure!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_constitution#Secular_v._Islamist

    Secular v. Islamist
    The tradition of Egyptian constitutions have been secular in nature since the first modern constitution was founded in 1923. However, an amendment that differs from this tradition was passed in 1980. According to the 1980 amendment of the Constitution, Islamic Law (Sharia) became the principal source of legislative rules. Such wording simply implies that any new law that is being enacted or considered for enactment should not be in contravention of any prevailing principles of Islamic Law (Sharia). It is worth noting that laws regulating personal status issues (Marriage, Divorce, Inheritance,..etc) are derived from Islamic norms, penal law rules as codified in the Penal Code are entirely western non-religious oriented rules, whether they were ratified before or after the 1980 amendment. Egypt has also enacted a number of new statutes to respond to contemporary standards of global economic and business reform including: Investment Law, Anti-Money Laundering Law, Intellectual Property Rights Law, Competition Law, Consumer Protection Law, Electronic Signatures Law, Banking Law, Taxation Law,… etc.[1]
    With the apparent growing popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood after the 2005 parliamentary elections, the debate arose again discussing whether the state is secular or religious. The legitimacy of a religious political party is also in debate among intellectuals and politicians.

  3. santitafarella says:

    Concerned:

    I completely agree with you. All national governments in the world should be (if we are to regard them as free states) secular. If individual conscience and liberty are to prevail there must be a sharp separation between church/mosque/temple/synagogue and state. Religion should receive no deference in the law (other than the freedom by individuals to choose a religion and practice it without coercing others to join in or harming children). And there should be no “blasphemy” laws or other forms of protection from speech that a religious group happens not to like.

    I’ve heard about some instances of deference to Sharia among Western lawmakers and I think it is a suicidal impulse—and something I emphatically oppose.

    —Santi

  4. concerned christian says:

    Santi:
    It’s good that while we are on opposite sides in many issues, we find points that we agree on. I believe that many issues that we are facing should be a black/white dichotomy. These issues should be open for discussions where honest debate brings positive conclusions. In this regard, the separation of Church and state is an important example, where neither the strict fundamentalist-Christians nor ACLU positions should be the only options available.

  5. concerned christian says:

    correction
    Santi:
    It’s good that while we are on opposite sides in many issues, we find points that we agree on. I believe that many issues that we are facing should NOT be a black/white dichotomy. These issues should be open for discussions where honest debate brings positive conclusions. In this regard, the separation of Church and state is an important example, where neither the strict fundamentalist-Christians nor ACLU positions should be the only options available.

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