My name is Javier Plumey. I am a podcaster for the Hands and Feet Show, a Catholic podcast on SQPN.COM and an amateur blogger. I recently posted some comments on my blog about the desecration of the Eucharist by a University of Minnesota Morris professor. In response to that post I have received several interesting questions. The topic of the comments on the blog changed to a general topic of whether or not Christians are called to desecrate other religions. Rather than continuing that debate in the comments of my blog, I thought I would move it over here to get more expert opinions.
I have included below the last comment that I received from the blog and I have invited the person making the comments to this thread. Hopefully the person will show up so that we can continue the dialog here. Thanks! Here it the latest post (sent via email) since I closed comments on the post on my blog.
Dear Mr. Plumey,
My argument is relevant because you have argued that desecration is wrong. I am arguing that even your own scripture says that it is not always wrong. In fact, it is commanded sometimes.
You state: **"The Bible does not endorse this and your references are simply taken out of context."** I am afraid that your statement involves a basic logical fallacy. I simply quoted the Bible, and it does include this command: "**you shall break down their altars..."
By definition, any divine command of the form “Do X” must be endorsing the action described as “X.” Is this not the way you would interpret “Honor your father and your mother…” in Exodus 20:12? Is this text not “endorsing” the act of honoring of your father and your mother?
Since the command to break down altars is in the Bible, then, by definition, it is accurate to say "The Bible" endorses it just as you would say the Bible endorses the command to "Honor your father and your mother." You also don't explain how "context" changes anything? Does context tell you the opposite-i.e., **"Don't break down their altars"**? How? Why? Moreover, you are actually out of touch with even Catholic biblical scholars. For example, Dr. John J. Collins, a respected Catholic biblical scholar and Yale professor, does not deny that desecration of other religions is endorsed in some parts of the Bible. Read his book, *Does the Bible Justify Violence?* (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004). Likewise, the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on "anathema," the name for the practice involved in Deuteronomy 7, admits such that such destruction is commanded: [newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm](http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm)
“This is the sense of anathema in the following passage from Deuteronomy 7:26: “Neither shalt thou bring anything of the idol into thy house, lest thou become an anathema like it. Thou shalt detest it as dung, and shalt utterly abhor it as uncleanness and filth, because it is an anathema.” Nations, individuals, animals, and inanimate objects may become anathema, i.e. ****cursed and devoted to destruction. It was thus that the people inhabiting the Promised Land were anathematized as Moses says (Deuteronomy 7:1, 2): “When . . . the Lord thy God shall have delivered them to thee, thou shalt utterly destroy them.” When a people was anathematized by the Lord,** they were to be entirely exterminated**. Saul was rejected by God for having spared Agag, King of the Amalecites, amid the greater part of the booty (1 Samuel 15:9-23). Anyone who spared anything belonging to a man who had been declared anathema, became himself anathema.”
So, please be so kind as to answer this question:** Is desecrating the objects of another religion always wrong?**
It is important to have a clear answer from you because I don’t think the matter is as closed as you suggest. The deletion of the post from the UMN website does not mean host desecrations or
desecrations will disappear. This is a very hollow victory.
**And so the issue of why you seem to allow some desecrations (the ones endorsed by your religious scriptures), and not others, will remain alive.