Would Mary, the mother of Jesus, have been sentenced to death if her pregnancy was caused by rape or by other sex outside marriage?
Consider the case currently unfolding in Afghanistan, whose sharia law is based on the same male-dominated monotheist tribalism as religious Judaism: An Afghan woman, Gulnaz, complained of being raped by a relative. We have good news and bad news:
- Good news: she wasn’t sentenced to death for adultery
- Bad news: she was given three years in jail, and after she gave birth to a daughter in jail she was given a second trial, and the sentence was increased to twelve years.
We have more good news and bad news:
- Good news: in the second trial, the judge told the convict that she could be released…
- Bad news: … if she married the rapist (regardless of her feelings toward him – or of his toward her, which would likely result in further abuse and quite likely death).
Stay tuned for further developments in the exciting world of 21st century religious jurisprudence. In the meantime, consider what Mary would have faced if she had been raped by a Roman soldier, or had had an affair at 14 – and got pregnant – if she hadn’t married Joseph before he knew she was pregnant, back in the late 1st century BC… Best bet: death by stoning.