Well, I had planned on taking on the Jewish Tribal War in Judges 19, but I got into a discussion with a rather conservative Catholic fellow over at drunkexpastors.com, and decided this story (or rather the interpretation of it by the Catholic Church) is decidedly weird enough to put off the war for next week.
In Genesis 38, we have the story of Judah and Tamar. Itself a wonderfully weird story that is also my favorite tale of lurid forbidden sex in the bible, mostly because it ridiculously illustrates the attitudes of men in those times:
Judah: My sleeping with strange prostitutes is awesome and okay! It’s good to be Judah!
Judah’s servant: Uh… sir, you’re daughter-in-law Tamar the widow is pregnant.
Judah: That whore! Bring her out and burn her in front of me!
Tamar: Yeah, I was the prostitute you slept with. I really wanted a baby and you wouldn’t give me your last son as a husband.
Judah: Oh… uh… whoops. We’re all good then. Yeah… let’s not mention this again at family gatherings.
Tamar: Don’t worry. I’m sure no one will write this story down in a thousand years in a book that billions of people will read or anything.
But tucked into that weird and rather screwed up tale, we find this nugget:
6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.
Pretty standard for Jehovah then. He was always a bit smite-y about a lot of stuff.
8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.
And there you have the verse upon which the Catholic Church bases its ‘no slut pills, rhythm method, or jacking off” rule.
All of it.
Clear as day, right?
Onan’s ‘sin’ couldn’t possibly be the cultural sin of refusing to do his ‘duty’ and keep his brother’s name alive, which was something big enough to be coded into Levitical Law, which required a public shaming of a brother or next of kin that refused to marry his brother’s widow and raise children for him which carried on to future generations.
5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. 6 The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.
7 However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” 8 Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” 9 his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” 10 That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.
Nope. Onan’s sin was only about pulling out and spilling seed on the ground.
Which therefore proves that God doesn’t want you ladies to have those birth control pills.
My final word… if God gets pissed off that much about spilling semen into the ground or a tissue or a tube sock that He gets all murder-y, then there wouldn’t be a single man left alive on the Earth.