The Pro-Rape Pagans?

WorldNetDaily has just published an editorial from Christian libertarian Vox Day. In it he attests that there is no moral condemnation of rape except in Christianity, and that pre-Christian cultures approved of and celebrated raping.

“It is ironic that mythomoralists show a predilection for paganism, given the historical pagan approach to rape…most atheist and agnostic morality is parasitical, the cultural residue of previous generations…There may be a genuine moral argument against rape to be made outside of the Judeo-Christian ethic, but I have yet to hear it. And, more significantly, much finer minds than mine have reached similar conclusions in a broader sense, which nevertheless encompasses the moral question of rape considered here.”

The strange thing about his thesis (besides the sheer ignorant asinine horror of it all) is that he displays absolutely no understanding of how myth and stories work in culture, and how that differs from texts of law or religious doctrine. Since a Roman founding story features rape, and since Greek gods raped in myth it must mean that people from that time found no moral quandary with actual rape. This immense lack in understanding allows the author to make sweeping judgments about thousands of years of history and culture.

Of course a little digging would provide the author with laws and traditions in pre-Christian societies (Celtic and Roman, for instance) that punished or held responsible the rapist. He talks of the Vikings love of rape, yet forgets to mention the harrowing accounts of God-approved rape in the Bible. Indeed, Christianity has no record to be proud of in the long tragic history of rape and the Bible hasn’t gone out of its way to condemn rape or protect the rights of women.

“Take the case of rape as an example of an immoral act. The question could be posed: why should people not rape? The Bible is unsatisfactory on this point. It says that any betrothed virgin who is raped within a town or city is equally culpable for not screaming for help and is to be executed, along with the rapist (Deut. 22:23-24). If the rape occurs out in the country, then she may be excused, but if she is a virgin not already betrothed, she must marry her attacker (Deut. 22:25-29). There is no biblical injunction whatever against the rape of a non-virgin who is neither married nor betrothed. Rape is viewed in the Bible as a kind of property crime against the man who owns the woman, which is either her husband (or future husband for one who is betrothed) or father. Thus, the Bible provides no general answer to the question “Why should people not rape?” and is very unsatisfactory in conveying the immorality of the act.”

No ancient culture has their hands clean in this matter, and to single out Christianity for special moral praise is to blur and confuse the actual history of Christianity and rape in ancient societies. Morality didn’t spring whole-cloth from the Bible and anyone versed in history would know that. Rape is a horror and all right-thinking modern religions and cultures condemn it, to try and twist history and facts to suit your religious moralistic viewpoint and to in turn damn all other religious cultures is petty and small-minded.

Jason Pitzl-Waters