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Essay:Christianity and the 6th Commandment
The Sixth Commandment
- Main Article: Ten Commandments#Sixth Commandment
for those of you who don't memorize the commandments by the numbers, the 6th commandment refers to the ban of kills or murders, depends on your translation of the Bible. Interpretation of what constitutes a kill varies (that's why they have a whole branch of philosophy dealing with problems like this) which ranges from not preventing preventable deaths to getting your hands dirty. In sections below we will explore examples which fits into these interpretations.
Andrew Schlafly opposes vaccination against the life threatening Papiloma Virus. If the Schlafly campaign prevents some girls getting vaccine there will quite likely be unnecessary deaths. A serial killer who kills, for example, ten people faces execution or life imprisonment without parole in any civilized country. Campaigns against life-saving vaccines can easily cause ten deaths or many more.
Parents have life and death control over their daughters
Opposition to all vaccination is obviously life threatening. Opposition to mandatory vaccination makes it easier for bad parents or misguided parents to put their daughters’ lives at risk. Young girls can be at risk if they do what most healthy teenagers do and experiment with sex. Married women can be at risk if their husbands do what many men are expected to do and have sex before marriage or have extramarital sex. Parents who read Conservapedia and encourage their families to read it may reach the misguided conclusion that it’s morally good to put their daughters’ lives at risk this way.
Woman and girls count for less than men
There appears to be a subtext here. Fundamentalist Christians seem to want women and girls to be at risk of death and frightened. That should help to maintain their purity before marriage and their fidelity afterwards. Unvaccinated wives are at risk of infection from their husbands. Some fundamentalists like Phyllis Schlafly mother of Andrew Schlafly believe that a woman cannot say no to her husband after marriage. This puts the wife of an irresponsible husband at risk of any Sexually Transmitted Disease he may have. Rape victims are also of course at risk of infection.
Fundamentalist Christians all too frequently see women and girls as daughters of Eve who should be subject to men because of Original sin. Their lives apparently count for less than sexual purity and fidelity.
Irresponsible campaigns against vaccination can’t easily be prevented. There are free speech issues. The supporters of vaccination can also exercise free speech and argue that those who run irresponsible campaigns are equivalent to murderers. Any sane person who is intelligent enough to get a PhD by his own efforts should understand the implications of opposing vaccination that doctors recommend. There is a case for arguing that such a person is morally equivalent to a cold blooded murderer. There is a second possibility. Somebody who is not sufficiently intelligent to get a PhD by his own efforts may get one through, for example, his mother’s influence. Such a person may not fully understand the implications of his actions and his campaign may be morally equivalent to manslaughter rather than murder.
There is a third option, which is perhaps the saddest option of all. When ideology or the love of money are more important than saving lives.
Universal health care
The death rate is marginally lower in many advanced European countries, notably Britain and France than in the United States despite lower living standards. In these countries universal health care prevents many deaths. Conservative Christian Republicans campaign against universal health care. This campaign can also be seen as morally equivalent to manslaughter or murder depending on how far the campaigners understand the effects of their campaign.
Life threatening pregnancy
Conservative Christians have also recently begun placing moral priority of an unborn fetus over the life of a woman. In the most extreme examples, such as Chile or El Salvador, even the impending death of the mother is not just cause for an abortion. In these areas, doctors have been excommunicated by a bishop for performing a life-saving abortion on a minor girl who had been impregnated by rape.
The death penalty
The question arises of whether or not the simple edict "Thou shalt not kill" extends to banning capital punishment. Of course, nothing in the bible, especially a literal reading of the bible, would indicate that god wanted anything but capital punishment for these crimes or he would not have listed the penalty in the very sets of laws he provides for his people, since God does not lie. Also, without capital punishment, Christianity as we know it would never have existed in the first place, creating a bit of a conundrum for some.
In the US, many of the people who favor availability of the death penalty are Christians. Most other civilized countries banned it long ago.
It certainly makes hockey a more interesting sport, if nothing else.