Entering Marriage Because of a Rape

Wiki footnote on Deut  22:28-29

Among ancient cultures virginity was highly prized, and a woman who had been raped had little chance of marrying. These laws forced the rapist to provide for their victim ((https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marry-your-rapist_law)). One finds a case of this in Deut  22:28-29:

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver [as her dowry]. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Here again, this is decreed as revealed Divine Law in Deuteronomy.  Notice that the injured party is not the virgin but her father who cannot expect a decent dowry because his daughter is damaged goods.  Rape is thus a form of theft for which the rapist is forced to pay the consequences: He must pay a hefty dowry and permanently marry the girl he raped.

Many countries still have such provisions.  Article 544 of the Italian Criminal Code, for example, considered rape an offence against ‘public morality’, not against an individual person. If the perpetrator married his victim, even if she was a minor, any sexual offence would lapse. Neither the law nor society made a distinction between such premarital rape on the one hand, and consensual elopement (in Sicily commonly called fuitina) on the other. Socially, the victim was put under heavy pressure to agree to marrying her rapist; the alternative was being shunned for the rest of her life as una donna svergognata: a “woman without honour” (literally: a shameless woman). The victim was held responsible for the humilation of losing her virginity out of wedlock, bringing shame upon herself and her family. If she agreed to marry her attacker, it was thus considered a “reparational marriage” (matrimonio riparatore), that restored her family’s honour.

In 1966, Franca Viola was one of the first women to refuse a “reparational marriage” publicly. Franca Viola was only 17 years old when she was raped with the intention of marriage in 1965. The aftermath of her trial ruled that rapists were no longer able to avoid punishment through the marriage of their victims.[43] In 1981, Italy eventually repealed Article 544 ((https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marry-your-rapist_law)).

In modern society, rape is a crime against the personal integrity of the victim. It is impossible for modern readers to permit themselves to think that God would be so calloused as to bind a woman to her rapist and to thereby give him permission (as husband) to rape her again whenever he pleases. These violations would not be immoral.  A man has the perfect right to devalue his own property. Only a barbaric god could invent (or even sanction) such a practice.  But there it is in Deut  22:28-29—a reminder that the gods of yesterday were often as cruel and barbaric as the people who served them.


When it comes to marriage practices, the bible cannot be trusted to tell us what God expects of us today.  Only the most uninformed can imagine that there is a consistent ethics of love and marriage stretching all the way from Genesis to the Book of Revelations. What Dr. Andreas J. Kostenberger presents us with is a pious delusion.  He has taken a description of marriage that pleases him and his congregation and has read it back into a select segment of texts that appear to support his assumptions.  At no time does he read the sacred texts within the mindset of the sacred authors.  He has become adept at reading into the text rather that reading out of the text.

In sum, Dr. Andreas J. Kostenberger is not to be trusted.  He would persuade us that God offers no patience with or sanction for same-sex marriages.  He does this because he projects upon God the same abhorrence he feels in his gut whenever he imagines two men sexually arousing each other.  This ruse must be exposed and dismissed.  Why so?  Because a fine man like Matthew Vines calls upon the living God to hear the depths of his loneliness and to speedily come to his aid. Saint Peter describes his own conversion saying, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you [Gentiles]. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean” (Act 10:28).

Today we are at a momentous crossroads. Pope Francis has issued the warning to the assembled American bishops very precisely: If the Catholic hierarchy “continues to carry the loaves that Jesus gave them but fail to nourish the people of God with them, then they will persist in experiencing these loaves as a burden and they will throw them at sinners as a sign of God’s wrath” ((    )).


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