Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

July 7, 2010

Woman in Iran Condemned to Stoning

CNN posted this news story a couple days ago about a 42-year-old mother of two who has been condemned to death of an alleged adultery. Five years ago, she received a punishment of 99 lashes for this 'crime.' It is unclear that she is guilty, but as far as Iranian officials are concerned, she has been re-arrested, jailed, and condemned to death by stoning. She will buried to to her waist and stoned with rocks big enough to cause pain, but not large enough to kill her immediately.

If you want a very raw look at this punishment, check out the film The Stoning of Soraya M, based on a true story from the 1980's. Soraya was a mother of 4 and her husband decided he wanted to divorce to marry a 14-year-old girl with a rich family. Soraya refuses the divorce and her husband successfully convinces the men of the town (through blackmail) to find her 'guilty' of adultery and stones her. After the stoning, the husband decides he does not want to marry the young girl anymore. The film is based on a book written by journalist Freidoune Sahebajm. Yes ladies, this still happens and it WILL continue to happen. Let's all get on our knees in intercession for this woman and so that the scales will fall from their eyes to the evil of death by stoning.


MyAmerica Journal said...

I have had problem with this issue for a long time. Please help me to understand our position on this issue.

The holy Old Testament specifies the following punishments for committing adultery:

The following sections of the bible define the punishments for committing adultery:

Exodus 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery."
Deuteronomy 22:22 "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die."
Leviticus 20:10 "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death."
Proverbs 6:32 "But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself." He destroys himself by being put to death as shown above.
Leviticus 21:9 "And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the whore, she profanes her father: she shall be burnt with fire." Why should only a daughter of a priest get burnt to death if she profanes herself? Why can't this law apply to all daughters?
Deuteronomy 25:11-12 "If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity."

Adultery is considered a recreation in many western Christian societies. Is the Old Testament irrelevant? What would the prolife advocates, opposing killing of unborn children by abortion using the Old Testament to support their arguments, say about adultery?

Are you disgusted with Iranian legal system for following the dictates of the Old Testament for punishing the adulterers? Should the same punishment also apply for the male adulterers?

Edith Magdalene said...

Dear Mr. MyAmerica Journal,
I am not sure precisely what you mean by 'our position' on this issue - by 'ours' do you mean mine and yours, or by 'ours' you mean an American view point, or by 'ours' you mean a Catholic view point. Maybe you mean all of the above. I cannot answer for you entirely, but can tell you what I believe.

Death by stoning is a cruel and unusual punishment in which the victim suffers tremendously before death. I think I can with confidence speak for the Magdalene Sisters collectively in saying that we do not condone stoning under any circumstance. Nor do we condone adultery under any circumstance, as it is indeed, one of the Decalogue, as you have pointed out.

The Iranian legal system, supported by the thin veneer of Islamic piety, is flawed because it allows stoning. I will be so strong as to come out and say: stoning is objectively a moral evil.

Now, you bring up the OT passages. I might point you first to the New Testament, where Christ condemns stoning, and indeed saves a woman from being stoned: John 8: 1-11 and especially verse 7: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
And yet, Christ does not condemn her, but he tells her: Go and sin no more. Her encounter with Christ - who IS LOVE - demands that she change her life, that she ceases to commit the sin. Christ does not applaud her sin - he forgives it.

I might point you elsewhere in the New Testament, to Matthew 19, where Christ is discussing divorce with the Scribes and Pharisees. He says that God allowed it only "out of the hardness of your hearts." Perhaps we might say the same for the passages you have pointed out? Again, Christ was not exactly easy on his listeners either: Mt. 5:28 - "But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Christ does not condone adultery, not does he condemn anyone to death by stoning, for as we know from the Old Testament, Wisdom 1: 13: "God does not take pleasure in the death of the living." St. Paul re-iterates this truth in his 1 letter to Timothy, 2:4 "God wills all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth."

Let us remember that truth: God wants out hearts, our love. God IS love. It is not our burnt offerings he desires, but a humbled spirit and a contrite heart. (cf. Pslam 50). So the short answer? Christ comes to fulfill the law, and that law is Love. Following His example, we cannot condone death by stoning.

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