The Dirtiest Article Ever: Bring Your Own Shovel!

Our text for today is from Deuteronomy 23:13-14:
“A peg [“shovel” Darby] should be part of your equipment. When you squat outside, you should dig a hole with it and then cover your excrement. For Jehovah your God is walking about within your camp to deliver you and to hand over your enemies to you, and your camp must be holy, so that he does not see anything indecent in you and turn away from accompanying you.”

I can just picture the “OOPS!” face of poor Gomer–who did his dooty, but forgot his shovel at home–as Jehovah strides off into the distance declaiming: “Hey! I almost stepped in that! I’m outta here!” And then how all the other Israelite soldiers yell at Gomer as–now unprotected by their war god, “Jehovah of Armies” — their enemies swoop down on them with a vengeance and they lose the battle Jehovah had promised to win for them.

I think Jehovah is right: no one wants to step in poop. I, for one, am so glad that the Almighty included this very important rule in his “perfect and holy” Law. Because, even though my cat knows enough to do this, some people just need to be told everything.

But worse than stepping in it is to be full of it, which brings me quite naturally to the Watchtower.

Watchtower shoveling it
The Watchtower, hard at work.

The Watchtower has dug up other equally irrelevant (and stinky) old laws from the Hebrew Scriptures and enforced them on their dupes: the Jehovah’s Witnesses — despite their own theology which holds that “Christians are no longer under the Law covenant. (Galatians 3:24, 25; Hebrews 8:8)” Watchtower, Sept. 1, 2005 p. 29.

But they’ve been selective. Very few Witness book-bags that I’ve seen have had a shovel strapped to them for use in case someone has to take a dump while engaged in field service. Yet, strictly following the above law, they all should.

But let’s return to that ever-persistent “call of nature.” I knew a Witness who would always correct any worldly person who used the phrase “Mother nature.” She would say: “Not ‘mother nature’: God!” So, I guess instead of using the phrase “the call of nature” we should refer to it as “the call of God.” Or, better yet, as good Witnesses always seeking to honor God’s name, and never miss an opportunity for letting it be known, we shall say: “the call of Jehovah.”

Comedian Steve Allen once wrote about that other, minor call of Jehovah. He said that “pissing against a wall” had to have been one of the worst offenses to the Old Testament God because we read over and over again of how he wants the Israelites to kill everyone engaged in that activity. (See, for example, 1Sam 25:22 KJV.)
I saw a homeless man doing exactly that the other day. He was just lucky the old law has passed away, otherwise if a passing Jehovah’s Witness had seen him he would no doubt have been beaten to death with their poop shovel.

But here’s another old “passed-away” law that those “faithful and discreet boys” have seen fit to enforce now and again:

 According to the Bible at Deuteronomy 22:23-27, an Israelite engaged girl threatened with rape was required to scream. What is the position of a Christian woman today if faced with a similar situation? Is she to scream even if an attacker threatens her life with a weapon?

According to God’s law an Israelite girl was under obligation to scream: “In case there happened to be a virgin girl engaged to a man, and a man actually found her in the city and lay down with her, you must also bring them both out to the gate of that city and pelt them with stones, and they must die, the girl for the reason that she did not scream in the city, and the man for the reason that he humiliated the wife of his fellow man.” If, however, the attack took place in a field and the woman screamed and thus tried to get away from the attacker, she was not to be stoned, since she was overpowered and there was no one to rescue her.—Deut. 22:23-27.

Such Scriptural precedents are applicable to Christians, who are under command, “Flee from fornication.” (1 Cor. 6:18) Thus if a Christian woman does not cry out and does not put forth every effort to flee, she would be viewed as consenting to the violation. The Christian woman who wants to keep clean and obey God’s commandments, then, if faced with this situation today, needs to be courageous and to act on the suggestion made by the Scriptures and scream. Actually this counsel is for her welfare; for, if she should submit to the man’s passionate wishes, she would not only be consenting to fornication or adultery, but be plagued by the shame. There would be shame, not only from the repulsiveness of the experience, but of having been coerced into breaking God’s law by having sex connections with one other than a legal marriage mate.
Watchtower 1964, Jan 15 p. 63

I think what the Watchtower has tried to come up with is the notion that you can derive principles about what God does and doesn’t like based on his “perfect law” in the Hebrew Scriptures. So they pick and choose what seems appropriate from this ancient barbaric law and try to apply it to life in the modern world. But this ends up making them the arbiters of law. That’s a heavy (not to mention presumptuous) responsibility. They’d better be extra discreet and sure about what they’re claiming is God’s law before uttering any pronouncement or enforcing any punishments, don’t you think? Evidently not, though, because they’ve changed their minds about the blameworthiness of silent rape victims several times! (See, for instance, Awake! 1993, March 1 p. 4 Myths and Realities of Rape)

Blaming the victims of rape reminds me of how the Watchtower religion treats other innocent victims. Some Jehovah’s Witness women have been counseled not to file a complaint against their abusive husbands because they would be guilty of bringing shame on Jehovah’s name, as well as failing to be “submissive” to their brutes husbands. But this attitude should surprise no one who is familiar with the children who are given the same treatment when they are basically told to forgive and forget their abuse at the hands of the pedophile elders lurking in their congregations.

These are all instances of passing the blame onto the victim, and then laying a guilt trip on them. Now, admit it: isn’t that the dirtiest trick you ever heard of?

One thought on “The Dirtiest Article Ever: Bring Your Own Shovel!

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    Rob Crompton • 4 years ago
    Paul’s “You are not under law” doesn’t indicate any confusion on his part. The Jewish belief was that Jews alone were subject to the law. Gentiles were bound only by the very minimal law given to Noah and re-affirmed in Acts 15:29.
    Gentiles who wished to do so could become proselytes and accept circumcision. They were then under the law in the same way as Jews by birth.
    That is, the NT changes nothing: the law remains in force for Jews but is not binding upon Gentiles.

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    Steve McRoberts Rob Crompton • 3 years ago
    Ah, yes! Thanks for elaborating. So, since Timothy was half-Greek and half-Jewish, Paul must’ve cut exactly half of his foreskin off, and instructed him to obey five of the ten commandments.

    But I find it difficult to reconcile what you’re saying with what Paul supposedly wrote in the Bible:

    “…we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Rom. 7:6)

    Only those who were under the law could be “released” from it.

    “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus… since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” (Rom. 3:22-24,30 NIV)

    That sure doesn’t sound like he thought there was one salvation deal for Jews and a different one for Gentiles. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews even came out and said that the Law was totally ineffectual:

    “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship… It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Heb. 10:1-4 NIV)

    But since the Bible writers were just making this stuff up as they went along, and Paul was a self-admitted liar, offering his uninspired opinions, it’s not surprising that we would disagree over what they meant by it all. (Rom. 3:7; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; 7:25) I am being generous by attributing confusion to his actions, when — based on the evidence of his own writings — it seems more likely that he was being deliberately deceptive.

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