The Bible God: Cruel, Savage, Deranged, Evil, Barbaric, Intolerant, Insanely Jealous, Vengeful and Bloodthirsty?

Part Five: God's Condemnation of the Mistreatment of Others

Unless this is the first part of this you've come across, skip the introduction.

Introduction to the Series

Is the God of the Bible an immoral egotistical arrogant tyrant in his prejudiced demands to be worshiped as the one true God and his condemnation of those who worship other gods? Is he an insanely angry bigot? Crueller than the cruellest earthly dictator in his bloodlust and hatred and barbaric desire for killing and violence? A ruthless baby and child killer? Bursting into enraged childish temper tantrums at the most minor provocation and inflicting deadly punishments on people for trivial offences? Is the Bible a malicious and intolerant book of hate literature which should be treated with contempt by anyone with an ounce of compassion because it incites irrational acts of barbarity? Did it directly incite the "burning times" when Christians in their supposed zeal for biblical commands tortured and killed anyone accused of being a witch? These are all charges commonly brought against the God of the Bible and the Bible itself by many sceptics, with similar vehemence as that just displayed. Are they true?

If you're feeling a bit depressed or anxious today, you may find some of the content on some of the pages here particularly upsetting. Section 1 of this website contains self-help articles that it might be best to visit first. Topics covered include depression, serious worry, panic attacks, phobias and OCD, marriage problems, raising difficult teenagers, self-harm, anorexia, grief, bullying and teasing, coping with a life-threatening illness, and recovery from rape. You can find them here: Free Self-Help to Recover From or Cope With Some Problems.

Note: This series is entirely unsuitable for children. Part of it contains passages of violence and sickening descriptions of cruelty from the news that many might find offensive and distressing. In fact, I recommend that this is only read by the most insistent Bible critics and the Christians most disturbed by the allegations!

Part of the series contains quotations from several news stories. When reading about the harsh way the Bible says God punished the people in his anger, it's easy to get a very one-sided impression of an enraged God pouring vengeance on a people who were actually living fairly decent lives. Although it's true that it indicates that the punishments were to a large extent non-discriminatory and so innocent people would undoubtedly have suffered, the impression the Bible gives is that the societies the punishments were inflicted on were corrupt to the core - societies where violence, murder, ruthless oppression of the vulnerable, sexual abuse and several other varieties of sin were rampant! And according to the Bible, these were societies that refused to police themselves! The quotations from the news stories, though discussing incidents that took place in a different era, that were of course committed by others, and perhaps often in different ways, are meant to bring home to people the kind of impact such crimes would have had on the many victims suffering such things in those societies, and the depths to which societies can stoop. The idea is that they can help people imagine the kind of thing the Bible says was going on in the biblical societies threatened with God's punishment. Thus, the punishments the Bible says were inflicted on the societies in Old Testament times that behaved in such a manner will seem less unjust to the open-minded.

It may be that some of the stories describe things which vary considerably from what was going on then and may be much worse, but apart from anything else, they will be a corrective to the assumption that certain practices must have been harmless, such as the worship of other gods and occult practices, and also a corrective to any glib refusal to take any provocation into account when declaring the God of the Bible truly unjust.

In fact, it seems it's people who persistently commit just such violent and unscrupulous acts that the Old Testament was written for. A New Testament passage claims that certain Old Testament punishments were meant as examples/warnings for future generations not to do evil things. It may be that many who won't be convinced to stop catastrophically harming others by declarations of the love of Jesus and beautiful passages meant to inspire people to do good, as can be found in the New Testament, can be scared into stopping by the descriptions of punishments being meted out to wrongdoers that fill the Old Testament.

The links to the news stories are not provided, because of the high possibility that many will soon be broken. To read the articles in full, you can put the names of the titles or a distinctive phrase from the story you'd like to read more of in quotes in Google, and if it's still somewhere on the Internet, you'll probably find it.

I found it very distasteful to put the quotations from the stories together, but felt compelled to do so because of the virulence of the accusations with which the God of the Bible is condemned by some, and the potential that this could cause Christians to lose their joy in Christianity, and to doubt or lose their faith, - although perhaps some belong to a toxic brand of Christianity that would make losing their faith a good thing. I know of people who say they were once Christians, but who lost their faith in disgust when they learned about the cruelty allegedly inflicted by God in Old Testament times. Some will go on to frequently express strong feelings of contemptuous anti-Christian hostility. A greater knowledge of the provocation that the Bible indicates led to the harsh Old Testament punishments may lead people to a greater understanding of why they were considered necessary, though they seem severe whatever the provocation!

Some food for thought can be had if one considers that every single one of the atrocities reported in the news articles quoted on these pages would not have been committed by anyone who was genuinely dedicated to following biblical Christianity. And every one of the people committing them would stop doing such things if they discovered a new beginning in becoming committed to biblical Christianity. Any atrocities committed in its name have been committed despite what the Bible says, not because of it. To prove it, here are some links to Bible quotations informing Christians on the way they should behave, which not only prohibit such atrocities as the ones described in the news articles quoted here, but indicate that Christians should abide by much higher standards of behaviour. Promoting Christianity, seen as dangerous by some, could actually be at least a partial solution to the world's problems. Whole communities have in the past turned from warlike activity when they have become Christians and started following ideals for the Christian lifestyle like the ones found in the quotations here:

Some people may have been exposed to a brand of Christianity that makes it difficult for them to believe Christianity could be a power for good. But a reading of those quotes will prove that it is benign. Any group that promotes an unhealthy doctrine may well be distorting what the Bible actually says. Here's an example of how it can be done:

Therefore, those who make it their mission to try determinedly to pull the Bible apart by rooting out as many alleged petty contradictions as they can, defaming the God of the Bible as immoral, doing their determined best to convince people that Jesus never existed, and denigrating Christians as delusional and unthinking, etc. are in effect, though probably mostly unwittingly, aiming to destroy something beautiful, something that can be a powerful force for good in the right hands. Christianity can give people a brand new vision of life, offer them a brand new start, feeling that their record of wrongdoing has been wiped clean in God's eyes so they can learn to love themselves, see themselves as worthwhile, and thus can see a point in starting again with renewed dedication to living a good life.

Naturally, other interventions can give people new hope and raise their self-esteem. But Christianity is one with widespread appeal that shouldn't be dismissed.

When people feel God has forgiven them, it doesn't mean, as some would slanderously claim, that they no longer have a responsibility to try to make amends as far as possible for what they did. On the contrary, the Christian faith can often inspire people to do just that, where they had no interest in doing so before.

It can inspire people to transform their behaviour, or stop their behaviour degenerating into behaviour that would hurt others in the first place, partly because they can feel responsible to God - a higher authority they respect enough to want to obey - for the way they live, and not just accountable to themselves. The Christian faith can give them hope for the future, and security and confidence that they are loved by someone greater than themselves, God. The increase in self-worth this can bring can give people the motivation to treat others better. People who believe they are valued can be more likely to be respectful of others and thus less likely to mistreat them.

Christianity can give people a sense of belonging and identity, as a wonderful alternative to the sense of belonging and identity they may have previously sought in gangs or warlike nationalism etc.

It can give them meaning and purpose in life, in that the Bible urges Christians to spend their lives doing good. A sense of meaning and purpose in life can bring a sense of satisfaction that can strengthen people's desire to carry on what they're doing, and if they're doing productive things instead of ones that make them angry and hateful, it can be especially so. Thus, meaning and purpose derived from doing good has its own rewards, and thus can strengthen the desire people may have to continue to do so, and can replace the meaning and purpose gained from belonging to destructive causes, as well as the opposite of meaning - the sense of disillusionment with life that can lead to living selfishly and callously.

Falling in love with the character of Jesus as portrayed by the gospels can bring a desire to please him; and a belief that he loves them so much he was even willing to die so their sin could be cleansed can bring a deep gratitude which will strengthen the desire to please him. Thus, it can bring a heartfelt commitment to obeying his commands. The commands in the New Testament, such as those to live peaceful lives of non-violence and to care for others, are said to be Christ's commands. Thus, falling in love with the character of Christ as portrayed in the gospels can transform a person's attitude and lead them to lives of goodness.

Reflection on the New Testament commands can also give people cause to stop and think, and a desire to inquire into the reasons for the commands; and their reflection on the reasons for them can lead to a deeper conviction of the wisdom of many commands, which can subsequently lead to a deeper commitment to following them.

The sense of being loved by God and the Bible's imploring of people to love one another in practical ways can soften a person's attitudes, making them contemplate the way they're living and changing their mind-set from one of hatred or cruel indifference to people around them and a consequent wish to harm or use them, to a desire to do things to benefit them.

Belief that one is accountable to God for the way one lives can be a check on people's natural desire to live for themselves when they want to put their own desires above the needs or welfare of others because their desires are strong.

Belief in God's punishment can sober a person and make their commitment to obey Christ's commands to live lives of non-violence and caring more serious, since they can bring realisation that Christianity is a serious commitment, not a fashion accessory, a tradition, or something merely to be played with while in reality behaving as one wishes.

Naturally, turning to Christianity won't always have such wholesome effects, by any means; but it's more likely to do so where there is a focus on the guidelines for Christian behaviour linked to above, and a focus on making positive improvements in life rather than getting bogged down in the idea of guilt for sin, or in some minor doctrine taken out of balance with the whole.

It's true that there are passages in the Bible where it says God orders incidents of what can appear barbaric merciless violence. Some are not so abhorrent as a superficial reading without knowledge of the cultural practices of the day might suggest, but some certainly are. Most, if not all, can be matched, however, by the cruelty of many of the people the violence was inflicted on. Thus, we have the reciprocity principle in action. The violence was mostly said to be punishment for such wrongdoing, deterrents to prevent such cruelty and crime in the future, and chastisement to spur people to change their ways. Therefore, harsh though the punishments were, and though it's easy and perhaps highly reasonable to argue that they were far worse than any society could possibly have deserved, it can be argued that they were by no means wholly unjustified, and they were far more than the simple actions of a vindictive petty God having brutal temper tantrums in an insane, violently angry rage, as is so often charged.

The other parts in this series:

If you would prefer a less squeamishness-making article, you could read: An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.

God's Condemnation of the Mistreatment of Others

When Old Testament prophets told the Israelites that God was going to bring the horrors of war, famine and disease upon them as a punishment for their disobedience, these were the sins they accused the society in which they lived of having committed:

Here are some clips from news articles that illustrate the depths to which people involved in some of these things can stoop, and the impact it has on the lives of others:

Aggression Against Other Nations, and Other Warlike Behaviour

From a news article called Congolese Rebels in Cannibal Atrocities by The Guardian, 16 January 2003:

"A United Nations investigation has confirmed systematic cannibalism, rape, torture and killing by rebels in a horrifying campaign of atrocities against civilians in the forests of north-east Congo, UN authorities said yesterday. ...

"The testimony by victims and witnesses was of cannibalism and forced cannibalism," including people made to eat members of their own family, Ms Tome said.

The atrocities included the removal and consumption of hearts of infants, small girls killed and mutilated, "people executed before members of their families and the rape of children", she said. ...

A belief in magic is thought to have played a role in the cannibalism. Fighters and others often believe that consuming parts of human bodies gives them special powers. ..."

From an article called Refugees Film Ethnic Cleansing from BBC News, 28 May 1999:

"... The video shows hundreds of refugees - from toddlers to elderly people, barely able to walk - slogging through the driving rain. ...

The sisters, Fatima and Larina, who told their story exclusively to the BBC, are young law students who a few weeks ago had everything going for them. They are now in a refugee camp in Montenegro. ...

Suddenly the grim scenes of refugees cut to happier times. The girls had forgotten that the tape they had used to film their journey had previous footage of a birthday celebration for their young niece.

Surprised, Larina gasps and smiles. 'That's my house!', she exclaims, before remembering her home is now a tent in a refugee camp. 'That was my house,' she corrects herself.

But as she watches her neice dance around what was her living room, the memories come flooding back and she breaks down and sobs."

From an article called About the Sudan Campaign by the Center for Religious Freedom:

"... In Sudan's 20 year-old civil conflict, two million people - mostly African Christians and traditional believers from south and central Sudan - have already perished. Sudanese constitute the world's largest displaced persons population, with 4.5 million people having been driven from their homes by ruthless government action. The government of Sudan is the only one in the world today engaged in chattel slavery, as documented by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Sudan and the U.S. State Department. It repeatedly bombs and burns hospitals, refugee camps, churches and other civilian targets. Through the manipulation of foreign food aid, or calculated starvation, the government brought 2.6 million south Sudanese to the brink of starvation in 1998 and some 100,000 people in fact did die of hunger, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Sudanese government and its agents are bombing, burning, and raiding southern villages, enslaving and raping thousands of women and children. ..."

From an article called Lord's Resistance Army by, 2004:

"... The LRA continued to kill, torture, maim, rape, and abduct large numbers of civilians, virtually enslaving numerous children. Although its levels of activity diminished somewhat compared with 1997, the area that the LRA targeted grew. ... The LRA seeks to overthrow the Uganda Government and has inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda, including rape, kidnapping, torture, and murder. ... The LRA also targets international humanitarian convoys and local nongovernmental organization workers. ... The LRA has abducted large numbers of civilians for training as guerrillas; most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted young girls as sex and labor slaves. Other children, mainly girls, were reported to have been sold, traded, or given as gifts by the LRA to arms dealers in Sudan. While some later escaped or were rescued, the whereabouts of many children remain unknown.

In particular, the LRA abducted numerous children and, at clandestine bases, terrorized them into virtual slavery as guards, concubines, and soldiers. In addition to being beaten, raped, and forced to march until exhausted, abducted children were forced to participate in the killing of other children who had attempted to escape. Amnesty International reported that without child abductions, the LRA would have few combatants. More than 6,000 children were abducted during 1998, although many of those abducted later escaped or were released. ..."


In an article called Pakistan: Honour Killings of Women and Girls by Amnesty International, 1 September 1999, it says:

"Women in Pakistan live in fear. They face death by shooting, burning or killing with axes if they are deemed to have brought shame on the family. They are killed for supposed 'illicit' relationships, for marrying men of their choice, for divorcing abusive husbands. They are even murdered by their kin if they are raped as they are thereby deemed to have brought shame on their family. The truth of the suspicion does not matter -- merely the allegation is enough to bring dishonour on the family and therefore justifies the slaying.

The lives of millions of women in Pakistan are circumscribed by traditions which enforce extreme seclusion and submission to men. Male relatives virtually own them and punish contraventions of their proprietary control with violence. For the most part, women bear traditional male control over every aspect of their bodies, speech and behaviour with stoicism, as part of their fate, but exposure to media, the work of women's groups and a greater degree of mobility have seen the beginnings of women's rights awareness seep into the secluded world of women. But if women begin to assert their rights, however tentatively, the response is harsh and immediate: the curve of honour killings has risen parallel to the rise in awareness of rights.

Every year hundreds of women are known to die as a result of honour killings. Many more cases go unreported and almost all go unpunished. The isolation and fear of women living under such threats are compounded by state indifference to and complicity in women's oppression. Police almost invariably take the man's side in honour killings or domestic murders, and rarely prosecute the killers. Even when the men are convicted, the judiciary ensures that they usually receive a light sentence, reinforcing the view that men can kill their female relatives with virtual impunity. Specific laws hamper redress as they discriminate against women. ..."

From an article called Grim Motives Behind Infant Killings by CNN, 7 July 2003:

"SALEM, India (CNN) -- Fifteen hours after a baby girl was buried alive by her father in central India, police managed to pull her out -- and she was still alive.

Police say the baby survived because she had been buried among stones and there was enough space for her to breathe.

Every year, thousands of baby girls in India are murdered by their own parents.

Sociologists blame such killings on a widely held Indian belief that girls are an economic drain because families still have to pay expensive dowries at the time of their marriage.

Authorities have said that over the past few years, more than 4,500 female babies in India's southern Salem district alone have been killed -- by their own parents. ...

Some were asphyxiated, others poisoned or starved and many just left to die in sewers and garbage dumps. ...

So harsh is the dowry system, it can bankrupt a poor family with more than one daughter.

One man told CNN that raising young girls was like "watering your neighbor's lawn." ..."

From an article called Peru's Truth Commission Confronts Political Violence by the Associated Press, 29 August 2003:

"... The violence erupted in May 1980 when the Shining Path, a Maoist-inspired rebel movement that tolerated no opposition, launched its insurgency and began using terror to force peasants to support its drive to overthrow Peru's elected governments.

The army was unfamiliar with the Shining Path's strategy and suspicious that many highland villages supported the guerrillas. It responded with a savage campaign against Indian peasants, most of whom spoke only Quechua, the ancient language of the Incas.

Cipriano Gamboa, 70, remembers how soldiers entered his village of Accomarca in the Ayacucho region in August 1985, singled out the women and raped them. They then herded the women into one hut with 23 children and the men into another hut. He watched from hiding as they torched the huts. In all, 69 died. ...

The Shining Path was just as brutal with villages that refused to submit to its rule. In March 1983, guerrillas retaliated against the community of Lucanamarca after villagers killed 10 rebels, burning one alive. The guerrillas shot or hacked to death 62 people, including 18 children. ..."

From an article called Citizens Initiative Trying to Curb Albania's Blood Feuds, With Limited Success by the Associated Press, 20 May 2002:

"SHKODRA, Albania - Isa Haruni wakes up each morning wondering if this day will be his last. He and his 75 male relatives are potential targets in a 7-year-old blood feud sparked by a killing committed by a cousin.

"Every day, I kiss my children before I leave home thinking I might not have another chance," says the merchant, his broad shoulders slumping and dark eyes twitching. ...

As it did in similar lands around the world, the blood feud became a popular form of justice in a highly armed, tribal society where government authority was weak and a man's honor was everything. Whole families were wiped out by feuds that sometimes went on for generations. ...

According to Kanun, women, children and livestock should not be targets in feuds, but few seem to respect it these days. Recently an 11-year-old boy was killed in Shkodra in revenge for a crime committed by his adult cousin. ..."

From an article called Public Action to Reduce Violence in Colombia by The World Bank Group, 16 December 1999:

"Colombia ranks among the countries of the world with the highest incidence of violence. Its history and society are marked by long lasting civil wars and cruel guerrilla movements. The present situation is equally discouraging: for the last decades, homicide has been the principal cause of death in Colombia. In small towns, such as El Dovio, El Aguila and Toro, or in the Cauca Valley, 300 out of every 100,000 inhabitants are killed per year -- predominantly young men between 15 and 34 years. In the City of Apartadó, in the southern part of the country, the murder rate is at its peak, with a shocking figure of 800 homicides annually per 100 000 inhabitants. ..."

From an article called Chicago Gang Violence Escalates from EmergencyNet NEWS Service, 7 April 1994:

"... While police admit that the increase in shootings occurs almost every Spring, they also say that the number of incidents this year is expanding, with a proportionate increase in murder rates. Gang members, using high-powered semi-automatic and automatic weapons, often "spray" a given street corner or playground in hopes of wounding or killing rival gang members. In certain neighborhoods on Chicago's South and West sides, gang motivated "Drive-By" shootings are a common occurrence. Unfortunately, all too often, bystanders and otherwise blameless kids are caught in the hail of gunfire.

More amazing than the number of people wounded or killed, is the age of the "shooters". ..."

More Examples of Murder, and Violence/Bloodshed:

In an article called The Links Between Domestic Violence and Homicide by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, 2001, it says:

"... In Fiji, the instances of domestic violence related homicides and suicides have reached disturbing new heights. Consider the following cases which were reported by Fiji's daily newspapers between 1998 and March 1999:
Abhi Manmu, a Labasa man, was charged with attempted murder for chopping off his aunt's arms (D/P 2/2/98) ...
Iliesa Duvuloco was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping and killing his first cousin (F/T 12/9/98).
A Fiji-born man, now living in Canada, was jailed for 20 years for murdering his estranged wife. The judge found that Mohendra Misir had abused his wife both mentally and physically during their marriage, which began in 1990 (F/T 17/11/98) ...
Mereleini Qadroka was in coma for three weeks after being bashed up by her policeman husband (D/P 28/3/98). Her husband has been charged and is still awaiting trial. Mereleini will be confined to a wheel chair for the rest of her life.
Dr Rajeshwar Sharma was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and child (F/T 5/6/98).
Vulikona Bukai was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for brutally assaulting and cutting off his de facto wife's ears. Yasmin Bi Ah (18) hanged herself after the assault.
Meena Kumari dies after being systematically starved by her husband - D/P 23/12/98. No charges laid. Meena's four young children are now living in a children's home. Their father has complete access to them. ...
Prabha Wati confesses to killing her husband to end years of domestic abuse (F/T 3/1/99). Case pending. ...
Makoi woman Sushila Devi dies after being set on fire by her husband, Prem Adiv (F/T 11/1/99). Case pending.
Raj Deo jailed for life for hacking his four month pregnant wife to death with a cane knife. ...
Ex- Fiji national hacks girl friend to death in San Francisco (F/T 23/3/99). ..."

From an article entitled Actress Death Exposes Rife Wife-Beating in France by Reuters, 13 August 2003:

"... Every five days a woman is beaten to death by her partner, and wife-battering in France is just as prevalent among the well-heeled as among the underprivileged, according to the government-commissioned study which was published originally in June 2002. ...

"There are 1.5 million women in France who are abused -- physically, sexually or psychologically -- by husbands or partners. That implies there are 1.5 million men out there behind this violence, and you wouldn't know to look at them." ...

According to the European Lobby for Women, France is sandwiched between the Netherlands, where 13 percent of women report violence at home, and Switzerland, where six percent do. In Spain, where violence against women is a big issue, 45 women have died so far this year at the hands of their partners. ...

"Some men have this archaic view that it is normal for women to be disadvantaged. If they see their wives becoming ambitious and independent, they feel inadequate, they resist and sometimes they refuse to accept it," said de Suremain.

"We hear terrible things. A lot of women are hit in the face or eye. Some have their backs broken and are left handicapped for life. Some are even dangled out of windows by their feet. The more this comes out into the open, the better." ..."

From an article called Facts About Domestic Violence by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 23 July 2003:

"10 percent to 15 percent of U.S. families experience domestic violence.

Two studies in the early '90s found that domestic violence occurred in up to 40 percent of police officers' families. ...

1,247 American women (one-third of all female homicide victims) and 440 men (4 percent of all male homicide victims) were murdered by intimate partners."

From an article entitled Women in Afghanistan: rhetoric vs reality by Green Left Weekly, 5 May 2004:

"... The risk of rape and sexual violence by members of armed factions and former combatants is still high. Forced marriage, particularly of under-aged girls, and violence against women in the family are widespread in many areas of the country.

These crimes of violence continue with the active support or passive complicity of state agents, armed groups, families and communities. ...

Many women have no access to education and are banned from working in foreign NGOs or UN offices, and there are hardly any women in government offices. Women cannot take a taxi or walk in public unless accompanied by a close male relative. If seen with men who are not close relatives, women can be arrested by the “special police” and forced to undergo a hospital examination to see if they have recently had sexual intercourse. Because of this continued oppression, every month a large number of girls commit suicide - many more than under Taliban rule.

Women's rights fare no better in northern and southern Afghanistan, which are under the control of the Northern Alliance. According to an international NGO worker: “During the Taliban era, if a woman went to market and showed an inch of flesh she would have been beaten; but now she's getting raped.”

In some areas where girls' education does exist, parents are afraid to allow their daughters to take advantage of it, following the burning down of several girls' schools. Girls have been abducted on the way to school and sexual assaults on children of both sexes are now very common. ...

Women cannot find jobs, and girls' schools often lack basic materials, such as books and chairs. There is no legal protection for women, and the legal systems prohibit them from getting help when they need it. ..."

From the web page No Bully - Guidelines for Teachers:

"... There are three main types of bullying:
physical; hitting, kicking, taking belongings
verbal; name-calling, insulting, racist remarks
indirect / emotional; spreading nasty stories, excluding from groups ..."
From the website Bully Online, parts of two stories:

"... I used to hate and dread Saturday swimming because every time he supervised this he used to grin and say to me "I am turning a blind eye" and a gang of other pupils would attack me and push me under the water and beat me. The occasion that sticks out most in my mind was back in early 1986 just before I turned 12. When at the swimming pool under his supervision he gave the go-ahead to a larger pupil to attack me beside the swimming pool. As I struggled and wrestled with this pupil he slipped on the wet floor and came crashing down and was clutching his back in extreme pain. The teacher was furious with me and shouted at me and I being furious shouted back that he should not have started this fight in the first place then all of a sudden two pupils rushed towards me and furiously attacked me randomly and rapidly throwing punches at my body.

I looked at the teacher to intervene but he just told them to carry on as I was defencelessly attacked and punched in the stomach and chest and collapsed to my knees screaming in pain and agony. The boy who had initially attacked me managed to get up and recover somewhat and in his anger began raining punches upon me. Then the teacher ordered them to stop, blew his whistle and told everyone to get back into the changing rooms. I was left in severe physical pain, emotional shock and covered in bruises all over my body. All this was for his amusement. ..."

"... On my second day in secondary school I was shoved into the road by a girl in my tutor group. I thought she was playing, and so shoved her back thinking it was all a bit of fun. From then on she continued to make the next four years of my life a living hell.

Rumours circulated around the school and I gained a reputation. The same girl accumulated a group of other girls who continued spreading rumours, and began stalking me in the playground. ..."

From the website Bully B'ware:

"... April 1999, Tabor, Alta, Canada

A 14 year-old boy, who was an "at home" student. (He did schoolwork at home because he feared school), walked into the main hallway of the high school, shot and killed a 17-year-old student and badly wounded another before surrendering his gun and meekly submitting to arrest.

Classmates said the 14-year-old was "everybody's best punching bag." One student said "He'd sometimes get body-checked into the lockers. They'd try to pick fights with him and he'd just take it. They knew he wouldn't fight back."

The summer before the shooting, while on a scout outing, this "new kid in town" was stuck on a rock outcropping, unable to climb up or down. His fellow scouts laughed about his predicament and taunted him instead of helping him out.

Nov. 1997, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Reena Virk, 14, died after being attacked and beaten unconscious by seven girls and one boy - all schoolmates. Reena's arm, neck, and back were deliberately broken before she was dumped in the Gorge Inlet.

Shy but earnest, she had tried to fit in and desperately wanted to belong to their group but was regularly and routinely mocked and taunted by her killers about her brown skin and her weight. Particularly startling was the fact that hundreds of students knew about the cruel and relentless taunting and even of her death before someone tipped off the police. ...

Aug. 1997, Invercargill, New Zealand

15-year-old Matt Ruddenklau committed suicide. The coroner's report stated, "Bullying and victimization were a significant factor in the boy's life in the months leading up to his suicide."

April 1997, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada

A grade four student pulled a knife on another student who was taunting him. According to his mother, the knife-wielding boy was tormented by his peers for over a year. After the knife incident, the boy and his family were required to take an anger management course. The school took no immediate action with the children who bullied him. ..."

From an article entitled South Africa's Struggle With Racism from BBC News, 27 August 2001:

"... Four weeks ago Wanda Stofburg was attacked outside her house.

"He put his hand down while he was hitting me in my face, in my eyes and my lip and my mouth and swearing at me and telling me there's no place for a kaffir lover like me in George," she said.

And then he used a sharp instrument to carve a "K" onto her chest. "K" denoting an abusive term for black people. Her body, marked with his hatred. ..."

Unscrupulously Selling People Into Slavery, and Slavery-Like Practices:

From a United Nations factsheet entitled Fact Sheet No.14, Contemporary Forms of Slavery:

"Slavery was the first human rights issue to arouse wide international concern. Yet, in the face of universal condemnation, slavery-like practices remain a grave and persistent problem in the closing years of the twentieth century.

The word "slavery" today covers a variety of human rights violations. In addition to traditional slavery and the slave trade, these abuses include the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography, the exploitation of child labour, the sexual mutilation of female children, the use of children in armed conflicts, debt bondage, the traffic in persons and in the sale of human organs, the exploitation of prostitution, and certain practices under apartheid and colonial régimes. ...

There is enough evidence, however, to show that slavery-like practices are vast and widespread. Just one figure tells a grim story: 100 million children are exploited for their labour, according to a recent estimate by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). ...

Child labour is in great demand because it is cheap, and because children are naturally more docile, easier to discipline than adults, and too frightened to complain. Their small physique and nimble fingers are seen as assets by unscrupulous employers for certain kinds of work. It often happens that children are given jobs when their parents are sitting at home, unemployed.

There are children between seven and ten years of age who work twelve to fourteen hours a day and are paid less than one-third of the adult wage.

Child domestic servants not only work long hours for a pittance but are particularly vulnerable to sexual as well as other physical abuse. ..."

From a factsheet called Questions Answered: Stop Human Traffic from anti-slavery international:

"... Trafficking is a modern-day slave trade. Traffickers use violence, coercion and deception to take people away from their homes and families, and force them to work against their will. People are trafficked both between countries and within their own country. Those trafficked may be forced to work as domestics, in prostitution, as farm labourers, factory workers, and in many other jobs.

People generally put themselves or their children in the hands of traffickers to escape poverty and/or discrimination or war. They are promised fantastic opportunities such as well-paid jobs, education, or marriage. Many imagine that they will be able to send money home to help their families.

Traffickers usually target people who are in desperate need of money. Families or individuals (usually in rural areas) are approached directly by the traffickers with promises of money, well-paid work, and sometimes schooling/an education. There are also cases where children are abducted. Sometimes people are recruited through agencies that offer "well-paid jobs", make the travel arrangements and help to obtain travel documents. The trafficker may initially cover these costs, and then a system of debt bondage emerges. Once the victim arrives at the final destination, they find that the promised job does not exist, but they still have to pay back the money, which could be anything up to US$40,000. This amount can then be inflated through interest on the money "borrowed" and charges for accommodation and food. When the victim is paid a fraction of what they were promised, or nothing at all, it becomes impossible for them to pay off the debt.

The trafficking of people is a rapidly growing global problem that affects countries and families around the world. Because of its hidden nature, statistics relating to trafficking are extremely difficult to measure accurately. A US Government report published in June 2003 estimates that approximately 800,000 - 900,000 people are trafficked across borders worldwide each year. This doesn't take into account those trafficked internally within countries. ...

It is slavery because traffickers use violence, threats and other forms of coercion to force their victims to work against their will. They may also restrict their victims' freedom of movement, force them to work long hours in dangerous conditions, and withhold payment. ..."

From an article called Sex Slave Trade by

"“I realized that slavery was still alive,” said John Miller, Director of the U.S. State Depart-ment’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. He was telling World magazine about the arrest of men who trafficked in sex slaves.

“I’m reading about how they lured these girls from Asian nations, promised them restaurant jobs, modeling jobs, … seized their passports, beat them, raped them, moved them from brothel to brothel,” he said.

This was not happening in some distant Third World nation, however. “There it was in civil Seattle,” Miller said. ...

The coercion process is often a brutal one. Bharti Tapas, a girl interviewed by ABC News Downtown in 2001 for a special on the sex trade in India, was 14 when she was sold into slavery by her own parents, and then forced into prostitution.

“When I arrived at the brothel, I refused to do what they told me to and they beat me and starved me for 10 days,” Tapas said. “I thought I would rather kill myself than be forced to work as a prostitute.”

She relented, according to the story, and joined “thousands of other girls who are beaten, locked in tiny cages or hidden in attics. Some are forced to have sex with as many as 20 men a day under the watchful eyes of madams and pimps.” ...

Certainly poverty plays a critical role in motivating poor girls and women to seek employment in far away places, as well as generating a market for the sale of women to brothels. But what is driving the increase in demand for illicit sex?

In an article in the Journal of Sexual Aggression, Hughes said, “In the last three decades, prostitution and pornography have become increasingly tolerated, normalized and legitimized, resulting in expansion of sex industries all over the world.”

This tolerance, she said, has “increased men’s demand for women and girls to be used as sexual entertainment or acts of violence. The demand is met by increased recruitment of women and girls into the sex industry, usually by violence, deception or exploitation of those made vulnerable by poverty, unemployment and prior victimization.” ..."

From an article called Violence Against "Untouchables" Growing, Says Report by Human Rights Watch, 14 April 1999:

"The Indian government has failed to prevent widespread violence and discrimination against more than 160 million people at the bottom of the Hindu caste system, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today. ...

"Untouchability" was abolished under India's constitution in 1950. Yet entire villages in many Indian states remain completely segregated by caste, in what has been called "hidden apartheid." Untouchables, or Dalits -- the name literally means "broken" people -- may not enter the higher-caste sections of villages, may not use the same wells, wear shoes in the presence of upper castes, visit the same temples, drink from the same cups in tea stalls, or lay claim to land that is legally theirs. Dalit children are frequently made to sit in the back of classrooms. Dalit villagers have been the victims of many brutal massacres in recent years. ...

An estimated forty million people in India, among them fifteen million children, are bonded laborers, working in slave-like conditions in order to pay off debts. The majority of them are Dalits. At least one million Dalits work as manual scavengers, clearing feces from latrines and disposing of dead animals with their bare hands. Dalits also comprise the majority of agricultural laborers who work for a few kilograms of rice, or 15-35 rupees (less than US$1) a day.

In India's southern states, thousands of Dalit girls are forced to become prostitutes for upper-caste patrons and village priests before reaching the age of puberty. Landlords and the police use sexual abuse and other forms of violence against women to inflict political "lessons" and crush dissent within the community. Dalit women have been arrested and tortured in custody to punish their male relatives who are hiding from the authorities.

The report documents violence in the eastern state of Bihar and the southern state of Tamil Nadu. In Bihar, high-caste landlords have organized private militias, or senas, which have killed Dalit villagers with impunity. Extremist guerrilla groups have retaliated by killing high-caste villagers, leading to an escalating cycle of violence. ...

The senas, which claim many politicians as members, operate with impunity. In some cases, police have accompanied them during their attacks and have stood by as they killed villagers in their homes. In other cases, police raids have followed attacks by the senas. The purpose of the raids is often to terrorize Dalits as a group, whether or not they are members of guerilla organizations. During the raids, the police have routinely beaten villagers, sexually assaulted women, and destroyed property. Sena leaders and police officials have never been prosecuted for such killings and abuses. ..."

In a report called Slavery and Slavery Redemption in the Sudan by Human Rights Watch, March 1999:

"... Human Rights Watch has long denounced the contemporary form of slavery practiced in Sudan in the context of the fifteen-year civil war. This practice is conducted almost entirely by government-backed and armed militia of the Baggara tribe in western Sudan, and it is directed mostly at the civilian Dinka population of the southern region of Bahr El Ghazal. ... Thus the tribal militia, often operating with government troops and usually transported into Bahr El Ghazal by military train, raids with impunity civilian Dinka villages, looting cattle and food as well as abducting women and children for use as domestic slaves and sometimes as "wives" or concubines. ...

Human Rights Watch describes the practice of slavery and provides testimonies of its victims. The abducted children and women often lead lives of extreme deprivation and cruelty at the hands of their masters. Many are physically and sexually abused, and forced to live at a standard well below that of their captors (sleeping on the floor, minimum food, no chance for education). Beatings for "disobedience" are common. They are denied their ethnic heritage, language, religion, and identity as they are cut off from their families and are held by Arabic-speaking captors, most of whom rename the abductees with Arabic names and some of whom coerce the children and women into adopting Islam. Those who force these changes on their captives often are convinced that they are doing a favor for the captives; they regard the Dinka culture as inferior and believe that the abductees are fortunate to have been incorporated into a superior culture. ..."

From an article called Sexual Exploitation in Cambodia

"Thousands of young girls from the rural areas of Cambodia are being sold into sexual slavery, reports Dr Wendy Freed, after a recent visit to that country.

AN extremely disturbing form of the commercial sex industry is on the rise in Cambodia, where thousands of uneducated young girls in rural areas are being sold into brothels, often because their families are deceived by false promises of job opportunities for their daughters. The girls and young women are virtually enslaved by the brothel owners, confined to tiny rooms, and forced to have sex with many customers to pay off their 'debt' - the cost of their acquisition.

This situation is cause for concern for many reasons, particularly because it involves slavery (the buying and selling of human beings) and because Cambodian sex workers suffer an alarmingly high rate of HIV infection. ...

Among the many girls with whom I spoke was 'K', a 17-year-old whose father had died several years earlier. Her stepmother had remarried and her stepfather drugged her and raped her when she was 16. K's stepmother blamed K for the rape and sold her into a brothel, where she had sex with up to five customers each day. She was rescued four months later. 'N' was 16 years old when a woman promised her a well-paying job but instead brought her to a brothel, where she was beaten into submission and worked for seven months.

'K', 'N', and the other young women I interviewed described symptoms of depression and suffered from guilt and shame, as well as a well-founded fear of contracting the HIV virus. One girl described how she 'goes away in her mind' when having sex with a client and said she feels that her soul has left her body. ..."

Incest and Rape:

From an article called Zimbabwe: 3 of 10 Children Sexually Abused from the Human Rights Information Network, 28 April, 1997:

"... In the case of the girls, 74 per cent of the perpetrators were male relatives, mostly someone in a parental role, and the rest were teachers. With the boys, 91 per cent of the abusers were relatives, teachers or family employees. ...

"Some of the questionaires were horrifying," Khan said.

The report cites other widespread evidence of abuse. A 1988 survey found that half of the pregnancies in females under the age of 24 were to girls younger than 14, and that in 11 per cent of marriages the brides were under 15 years. In 1990, Harare's Genito-Urinary Centre treated 907 children under 12 years.

And the signs are that abuse is rising sharply. ...

Their report also cites the widely quoted 1994 study by Rebecca Hallahan which says sexual violence of girls at schools all over sub-Saharan Africa is endemic. ..."

From an article called More and More Girls Are Being Raped by Men Who Believe This Will 'Cleanse' Them of AIDS from the Sunday Times, South Africa, 4 April 1999:

"... As the deadly virus tightens its stranglehold on South Africa, justice officials and AIDS workers say that in KwaZuluNatal alone at least five rape cases involving girls under eight are being dealt with daily in every magistrate's court in the province.

An in-depth investigation by Leclerc-Madlala, who is completing a doctoral thesis on AIDS and related gender issues, suggests that a popular myth that sex with a virgin is the cure for AIDS could be the root cause of this shocking upsurge in child rapes. ...

Leclerc-Madlala, who has also carried out a study on the responses of the Zulu youth to the AIDS epidemic, found that child rape is also committed as a preventive measure to avoid contracting the HIV/AIDS virus from older women.

A 23-year-old male respondent told her: "The thing is everybody over 12 years old in the township might already have the virus. So your chances of not getting it are better if you go for the six- or eight-year-olds. Not 10-year-olds - some are already pretty experienced by that time."

A 20-year-old told her: "If I have HIV I can just go out and spread it to 100 people so we all go together. Why should they be left behind having fun if I must die?" ...

Ubashany Naidoo, the deputy director of Childline, says the myth is causing huge problems.

"We are seeing more and more cases of young rape victims as a result. Some of these children have been raped quite violently.

For children like Sibongile, still traumatised by the rape itself, the wait has just begun.

Her mother spends her days praying against hefty odds that her daughter is not about to become just another AIDS statistic."

From an article called Children at Risk of Rape from the Helen Suzman Foundation:

"... According to figures provided by minister of safety and security Steve Tshwete on March 13 8,683 children under 18 were raped in the first six months of 1999. The number of rape cases dealt with by child protection units more than doubled from 7,559 in 1994 to 15,732 in 1998. ...

Stephanie Shutte, a counsellor for Childline in the Western Cape, thinks that the increase in child-rape is directly related to the way HIV and Aids is understood in the community. "The belief is that the cleanliness and pureness of the child will strip the virus away. Women in the community are telling us that both girls and boys are being raped because of this belief," she says.

According to Deborah Valeka, who works with Life Line in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats, the idea predates Aids. It has often been believed that if you sleep with a virgin or someone younger than yourself this will cure sexually transmitted diseases, she says. "Now it is just being applied to Aids too. I don't know how much this myth is contributing to the rape of more children, because obviously we don't often get to speak to the perpetrators, but many more people seem to have Aids now than had other sexually transmitted diseases in the past."

Valeka thinks unemployment and opportunity are just as likely a cause. "Children are alone at home while the mothers work and the men have nothing to do," she explains. "Squatter camps are a particularly dangerous environment for children.

Gaby Cloete of Childline in Wynberg agrees. "We certainly hear of the myth all the time," she says. "But the increasing rate of rape of children and the decreasing age of victims, is also related to other factors. Young children are easier targets and far more vulnerable. Increasingly, older children are better educated and dare to run away or fight back. The very young are sitting targets." ..."

From an article called Pakistan Tribe Orders Teen Raped by CBS News, 5 July 2002:

"... A Pakistani tribal council ordered an 18-year-old girl to be gang-raped in order to punish her family after her brother was seen walking with a girl from a higher-class tribe, police said Tuesday. ...

According to the victim, the Mastoi tribe demanded punishment after her 11-year-old brother was seen walking unchaperoned with a Mastoi girl in a deserted part of the village. The boy and his sister are from the lower class Gujar tribe.

The Mastoi tribe called a meeting of the tribal council, which ordered the girl to be raped to avenge their tribal honor. The teen-ager said she was taken to a hut and assaulted as hundreds of Mastois stood outside laughing and cheering.

Pakistan has a tradition of tribal justice in which crimes or affronts to dignity are punished outside the framework of Pakistani law. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has demanded an end to punishments by tribal councils. ...

"The increasing incidents of terrible atrocities against women are a terrible reflection on the state of society and the status of women within it," commission chairman Afrasiab Khattak said in a statement. ..."

Mistreatment of the Vulnerable, such as Widows, Orphans and Foreigners:

From an article called How Crooked Lawyers Dodge Justice in The Ottawa Citizen, 7 November 1998:

"... - A Burlington lawyer took a widow's house out from under her after a promised low-cost lawsuit turned into a $94,000 legal bill that included phantom hours never worked by a lawyer assisting him. The lawyer took the widow's property as payment, then continued to take advantage of other clients for years before the Law Society acted. ...

- Several lawyers, including one in Ottawa, have been caught stealing the trust account funds of elderly clients with Alzheimer's in nursing homes, or raiding funds from the estates of deceased clients.

- Lawyers in Toronto and Barrie stole the settlement funds of young children hit by automobiles. ..."

From an article called Fraud and the Elderly:

"Con-artists come in all shapes, sizes and professions. They can be fiduciaries - such as lawyers, accountants, financial advisors. ... Con artists can be caregivers and sadly, they can be family members, which is quite unsettling, because they often have access to important documents and financial statements. ..."

Unreasonable Refusal to Pay Employees or Treat Them Fairly, and Making them Work Seven Days a Week:

From an article called Seven Children Freed from Slavery in India by ICFTU Online, 26 March 1999:

"Tuesday, 16 March 1999 marked the end of a long nightmare for seven children from the state of Bihar in India. The NGO "South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude/Bachpan Bachao Andolan" (SACCS/BBA), based in New Delhi, succeeded in freeing the children from the textile workshop where they had been locked up for several months. They worked between 12 and 14 hours a day, seven days a week, weaving carpets or saris (Indian dresses), their only payment being two meager meals a day. The youngest child was just seven years old. The liberated children are now in a center run by the NGO near Delhi. They will soon rejoin their respective families, whom some of the children have not seen for three years.

Their personal hell began in a similar way to that experienced by several million Indian children. One day a man arrived in their village. He said he was looking for workers for his workshop and made an offer to the parents to employ their children, whom he promised to pay a decent wage and give them training that would turn them into qualified workers. As proof of his "good" intentions he offered the parents the sum of 200 rupees (roughly $5). In the context of the abject poverty that is rife in the State of Bihar (in northeastern India), this proposition came as something of a godsend to illiterate villagers who had never heard of the inhuman working conditions in some sweatshops. ...

However, the dream of a better life rapidly turned into a nightmare. The wages were never paid and in quite a few cases the parents have no idea where their children have been taken. It is then that a life of slavery begins for the children, who are at the mercy of bosses to whom they have been sold by a middleman, at a price of approximately 1,000 rupees ($25). ...

Over the last 18 years, "SACCS/BBA" has freed 50,000 children from slavery. However, these children are merely the tip of the iceberg, and it is estimated that several million children in India are still suffering the same fate. ..."

From an article called Campaigning Against Bonded Labour by the IFWEA Journal, December 2000:

"We all thought slavery had been abolished, but at least 20 million people are still enslaved in the world today through bonded labour.

Although this is the most widespread form of slavery today, it is also the least known. Most people become bonded when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan, or for money given in advance. Usually they are forced by necessity or are tricked into taking a loan in order to pay for such basic needs as food, medicine and for social obligations -- the costs of a wedding or a funeral. A loan for as little as 30 Pounds in some countries can take a lifetime to repay. Bonded labourers are typically forced to work long hours regardless of their age or health, sometimes for seven days a week, 365 days a year. They receive food and shelter as “payment”, but might never be able to pay off the loan.

Entire families in Nepal, India and Pakistan can be affected by this brutal system, with the debt being handed down through generations. ...

Individuals in bonded labour are routinely threatened with and subjected to physical and sexual violence. They are kept under various forms of surveillance, sometimes by using armed guards. ..."

From an article called Forced Labour in Burma by the Victorian Trades Hall Council:

"In Burma, on any given day, several hundred thousand men, women, children and elderly people are forced to work against their will by the country's military rulers. Forced labour can include building army camps, roads, bridges, railroads, etc. Refusal to work may lead to being detained, tortured, raped, or killed. ..."

From an article called Disney Discards Women Workers published by News and Letters Committees, November 2002:

"... Mahamuda: In Bangladesh, where I work at MNC producing garments for Wal-Mart, there is no sick leave, holidays, or benefits. We work seven days a week and never get a day off. Maybe we will get one day off a month.

They keep two sets of time cards, one that is real and one that they show to the buyers. The phony one shows less hours and shows days off.

We sometimes have to work all night. I make around 17 cents an hour. ...

Two months ago, one woman got sick but she wasn't allowed to leave work. She died. We were afraid to protest because if we raise our voices we might lose our jobs and not be able to feed ourselves or our families.

The Wal-Mart buyers only visit the factory from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. They don't see us working overnight or overtime. We are made by our bosses to lie to the buyers about this.

We are insulted if they don't think we are working fast enough. They call you "whore" and "prostitute," they say "Your parents are prostitutes!" ...

Lisa: I am 19 years old. I had to start working when I was ten. I come from a poor family. After working in factories for five years, I have worked in the Shah Makhdum Disney factory for the last three years.

They set a heavy pace. We have to turn out 20 garments per hour. If we don't, they slap us and curse us. The supervisors use the buyers' name to force us to hurry up. They say, "This is a rush order for Disney!" ...

Disney was here for years, but when the workers finally raised their voices, Disney pulled out. Disney never listened. All we wanted was one day off per week and national holidays off, not to be cheated of wages, and voluntary rather than forced overtime. ..."

From an article called Bullying & Intimidation by Profit Through Prevention:

"... Bullying constitutes offensive behaviour through vindictive, cruel malicious or humiliating attempts to undermine an individual or groups of employees. These persistently negative attacks are typically unpredictable, irrational and unfair. Although commonly thought of as a school yard behaviour, it happens with great regularity within the workplace. ...

Demoralized over time, co-workers or subordinates of the bully, lose productivity, become depressed and feel the only option left is that of retaliation or simply resigning. Sadly, few of us will know the economic costs associated with bullying and just how many promising employees have left their position prematurely. ..."

From an article called Mandatory Overtime by Consumer Health Interactive:

"... Nurses have been particularly hard hit by mandatory overtime policies in hospitals and other health care settings. After cutbacks and restructuring in response to managed care, nurses are routinely asked to work 12 to 16 hours a day, often with no advance warning, says Patricia Franklin, head of the workplace advocacy program for the American Nurses Association.

"It's one of the most central issues facing nurses," Franklin says, adding that 16 states are considering bills to ensure adequate nurse staffing levels. "If we can't provide a safe and healthy work environment, we are not only jeopardizing the future of nursing but the safety and well-being of all patients." Injuries and accidents are more likely to occur if nurses are stressed, overworked, and fatigued, she says. ...

Recent research confirms that job stress related to overwork can translate into health problems and injuries, says Rosa. A 1999 Canadian study of long work hours found increased depression in workers, including unhealthy weight gain in men and drinking in women. ... And a 1998 German study found that workers experienced a significant rise in accidents and traumatic incidents after nine to 10 hours on a shift.

Here in the United States, one such accident recently struck a Maine lineman who worked back-to-back shifts all weekend with only a few hours sleep. Exhausted, the veteran worker was killed when he forgot to put on his insulating gloves before reaching for a 7,200-volt cable. ..."

Winning court cases by trickery and lies, and taking bribes to let the guilty go free and to deny justice to the innocent:

In an article called "And It Was Hell All Over Again..." by Human Rights Watch, 2000, it says:

"... Although defendants and their families are extremely reluctant to discuss it, some do resort to paying significant bribes to secure the freedom, or at least a reduction in sentence, of their relatives.

The mere mention of corruption with respect to the criminal justice process is enough to elicit harsh retribution. Defendants' family members in attendance at the August 1999 trial of persons accused of illegal religious activity in the Andijan Provincial Court recounted how one of the defendants, Nematullo Bobohonov, made general remarks critical of the corruption widespread in society. "The judge asked him for proof of such things. During the recess, the police beat Bobohonov to the point where his pulse stopped, very brutally. We saw with our own eyes that Bobohonov was bent over. The judge laughed at him and said, `Oh, you must have eaten something [bad]!'"

One senior Tashkent attorney stated bluntly, "Judges earn extremely tiny salaries, and so justice costs money. If defendants can pay, they can get fewer years than the prosecutor asks for, and so there is an incentive to give the most severe sentences." ...

If the profit motive underlies the harsh sentences handed down by Uzbek courts, it also promotes the use of torture. Since police are nearly assured of obtaining self-incriminating testimony, or testimony from other witnesses, detainees and their families have little choice but to find the means to pay. Another lawyer described the case of her client, an underage, mentally handicapped boy held on suspicion of selling narcotics, and noted that police held the boy and intimidated him without registering his arrest because, "They were waiting for his parents to come and pay..." ...

Another witness who requested anonymity, the mother of a young man accused, but later acquitted, of murder, described how a police interrogator came to her home in the days after her son was arrested to demand money in exchange for his release:

"He came to my home and asked me if my parents were still living, and I said yes, my parents are alive, and I have a daughter as well. [He said] "You've got to marry your daughter off soon, and so you need money for that, but you also have to get your son out [of police custody], and it's very expensive. If you had five thousand dollars, then your son would be home tomorrow, but if you don't, then you better get used to the fact that we're going to put him in prison no matter what. If you tell anyone what I've said, then he'll get `the max' [vyshka, capital punishment]" and he made a gesture with his hands to illustrate this."

After this conversation, police allegedly tortured the young man until he confessed to the murder; he later recanted his confession in court. Another young man, whose relatives were interviewed by Human Rights Watch, was not so fortunate: after being tortured for several days in police custody, he confessed to a murder for which he was convicted and sentenced to death. During his trial, according to his mother, the state-appointed lawyer instructed the family to prepare a bribe in order to avoid the death penalty: ..."

From an article entitled Corruption Undermines India from the Japan Times, 1 July 2000:

"... I remember also my father saying shortly before his death how in our home state of Bihar - the most violent and lawless in India - police officers disliked being posted to districts with little crime. Their earning power being directly related to crime levels, they set about deliberately fomenting lawlessness. They could then extract bribes from victims before registering crimes, and from criminals on pain of arrest.

It used to be said when I was growing up in Bihar (in a lawyer's family) that the British judges took bribes from both sides and then gave judgments on the merits of the case. Indian judges took bribes only from one side and then felt honor-bound to find in that side's favor. As corruption became pervasive, the joke ceased being funny. ...

The biggest cost is political. Petty corruption is especially endemic at the lower, clerical levels of administration -- precisely the point at which the ordinary citizen comes into daily contact with officialdom. People are forced to pay bribes for securing virtually any service connected with the government, even that which is theirs by right and law. ...

In Japan and South Korea, former prime ministers and children of presidents have been jailed for corruption. In India, not one senior politician of the many who have been implicated in scandals - and they are numerous - has so far been convicted. The labyrinthine legal system is used to frustrate the course of justice. ..."

From an article called Barristers Admit Blackening Rape Victims in Court from The Independent, 28 February 2000:

"... Ten experienced rape trial barristers revealed their courtroom strategies in the study, Prosecuting and Defending Rape - Perspectives from the Bar. Its author, Professor Jennifer Temkin, of Sussex University's school of legal studies, said: "The defence counsel seem to have a set of strategies. The principal strategy is to undermine the woman's personality. For example, they try to make out that the woman has acted foolishly - they try to show if she didn't consent she has brought this all on herself and she is to blame. ...

"A leading QC said that without fail he would apply to the judge to bring up the woman's sexual history. As he put it, if the complainant could be portrayed as a 'slut' this was highly likely to secure an acquittal." ...

Professor Temkin said there was "a kind of lack of ethical awareness" in the barristers' methods. She said that defence solicitors frequently used women barristers as part of their strategy to defend alleged sex offenders. Eight of the lawyers interviewed were women. "This is seen as giving a message to the jury that as a woman she believes the man." ..."

Causing people hardship by profiteering, taking bribes, and charging extortionate interest rates:

From an article called Kenya: 'Country of Bribes' by World Press Review, 15 February 2002:

"... Any Kenyan could rattle off a list of corrupt dealings in government offices daily. The complaints, as continually reported in the Kenyan press, are manifold:
Precious few parents can have their children admitted to public schools without greasing palms, freedom is on sale in the courts, people have died in hospitals because they didn't know the right people, for a few hundred Kenyan shillings, drivers go scot-free after committing the worst traffic offences, underpaid civil servants remain aloof until they hear the crinkling of a 1,000 Kenyan shilling (US$12) note, elected officials skim from the treasury, tons of food imported from relief organizations disappear from government offices without any explanation. ..."

In an "FTC Consumer Alert" called Just When You Thought It Was Safe...Advance-Fee Loan "Sharks":

"A different breed of "loan shark" is preying on unwary consumers by taking their money for the promise of a loan, credit card or other extension of credit.

Advertisements and promotions for advance-fee loans "guarantee" or suggest that there's a high likelihood of success that the loan will be awarded, regardless of the applicant's credit history. But, to take advantage of the offer, the consumer first has to pay a fee. And that's the catch: The consumer pays the fee, the scam artist takes off with the money, and the loan never materializes. ..."

In an article called Fair Trade Chocolate and Cocoa: The Sweet Solution to Abusive Child Labor and Poverty by Global Exchange, it says:

While chocolate is sweet for us, it is heartbreaking for cocoa producers and their families. In 2001, The US State Department and the ILO reported child slavery on Ivory Coast cocoa farms, the origin of 43 percent of the world's cocoa. Subsequent research by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture indicated that though child slavery is thankfully very limited, other egregious forms of child labor are unfortunately widespread. Hundreds of thousands of children work in dangerous tasks on cocoa farms. At least 12,000 child cocoa workers have come to their present situation through trafficking. Most child cocoa workers in the Ivory Coast do not have the opportunity to attend school. The same investigation identified poverty as the cause - West African cocoa revenues average $30-$108 per year per household member. These impoverished producers have no choice but to keep their kids out of school to work in dangerous tasks on cocoa farms, or even use child slaves. ..."

The Equivalent of Feasting and Drinking while Ignoring the Suffering of the Poor, or while Directly Causing it:

From an article called Documentary Focuses on Struggle to Control Angola’s Oil found on the World Socialist Web Site, dated 3 November 2004:

"Britain’s Channel 4 recently broadcast a programme entitled “America’s New Frontier” as part of its Unreported World series. The documentary focused on the social and political situation in Angola. ...

He met with children living on the streets in the centre of Luanda, Angola’s capital. One group of around 50 was living in an abandoned building in absolute squalor. Most looked about 13-years-old and were orphans or runaways. They sniffed petrol to blunt the reality of their existence.

Eduardo, an 11-year-old, asked the reporting team for help to escape his situation explaining that he was surviving by eating rubbish. Others explained how they were at the mercy of the police, who round them up, beat them and-they alleged-sometimes kill street children. Whilst Killey was filming, the police turned up to find out what was happening.

After the police had gone some of the children took the reporter to a channel with an open sewer running through it. They explained how they would harvest the tomatoes that grow from the human excrement. Where the channel passes under buildings, the children sling hammocks from the roof where they sleep at night. In the rainy season the water flowing beneath them is three feet deep and they are unable to leave their hammocks for days until the level subsides.

One in four children in Angola die before their fifth birthday. Luanda alone had 5,000 street children and an unknown number in the rest of the country.

In contrast to the obscene poverty in which the children lived, Killey filmed an exclusive supermarket where to shop you have to produce a membership card. ...

The Angolan elite takes a cut in the wealth that comes from the exploitation of the country’s oil reserves. Dos Santos has been in power for 25 years and the programme showed one of two of his recently built palaces.

The flagrant flaunting of wealth amidst the dire poverty of the mass of the population is helping fuel social and political opposition. The regime responds with savage brutality. Killey met with a group of young men who recounted how one of their friends was pulled up by the police after they heard him singing the lyrics of one of Angola’s popular rap artists MCK. The song is critical of the government, contrasting the lavish lifestyle of the elite with the stark deprivation of the majority.

The police beat the young man, tied his elbows behind his back and forced him at gun point to walk out into the sea. Unable to swim, he drowned and his body was washed up the next day. Killey met with his young widow and her two sons who explained that the police had threatened her after opposition politicians had offered her help. ..."

Taunting Enemies, Encouraging Others to Destroy them, and Making it Possible for them to Do it more Thoroughly by Betraying them:

From an article called Rwanda: Crimes Against Humanity by Womenaid International:

"... The massacres which occurred were systematic and particularly horrific. Tutsis were attacked and killed with machetes, axes, cudgels and iron bars. The victims were hunted down even in their final refuge - orphanages, hospitals, churches. No one was spared. Not even babies. The exact number of killings in 1994 may never be known, but hundreds of thousands died. ...

The systematic and calculated nature of these mass executions becomes evident from the planned and methodical way in which people were incited to murder, and the way in which large groups of the same ethnicity were brutally hunted down and slaughtered. In addition to race hate propaganda disseminated by the Radio des Milles Collines, posters and leaflets were distributed which dehumanised Tutsis as 'snakes', 'cockroaches' and 'animals'. ...

Interestingly enough, a report published by African Rights indicates that women played a surprisingly active role in some of these executions. 'Women of every social category took part in the killings' inflicting cruelty and death on men, other women and children. They also report that the extent to which women were involved in the murders is unprecedented anywhere in the world. Some women killed with their hands, while others, such as female councillors in Kigali, led the militia to refugees in their hiding places, who then abducted them. Many nurses in the Butare's University Hospital gave the militia and soldiers lists of patients, colleagues and refugees to be killed. ...

The motivation behind the ferocity of the killings may be attributed to the long history of violence between Hutu and Tutsi, and the events of 1994 were just another example of ethnic killing, albeit extreme. However, the evidence is overwhelming in support of the fact that it was incited far beyond its historical context, by propaganda. Public authorities have been reported to openly involve themselves in the perpetration of massacres of Tutsi through explicit orders. An example of this is when the President of the interim government, Mr. Sindikubwabo, urged the population to 'get to work' in a speech at Butare, in the Rwandese sense of the term by using their machetes and axes. "

From a report called Anti-Semitic Images in the Egyptian Media: January 2000 - February 2001 by the Anti-Defamation League:

"Anti-Semitic stereotypes continue to be prevalent in cartoons published in the Egyptian Media. They appear in the government-backed press and opposition newspapers too. The result is to dehumanize and therefore delegitimize the presence of Jews as a national entity in the Middle East. These anti-Semitic stereotypes constitute a major setback to the normalization of ties with Israel.

Anti-Semitism continues to thrive in the Egyptian media. Derogatory images and harsh accusations against Jews in the Egyptian media have persevered through bad and good times - periods of tension and periods of calm in the more than 20 years since the 1979 declaration of peace between Israel and Egypt.

Anti-Semitic stereotypes continue to be prevalent in cartoons, with Jews often depicted as dirty, hook-nosed, money-hungry world dominators. Comparisons of Israel with the Nazis, denial of the Holocaust and traditional libels are also common. It is ironic that while the Egyptian media frequently engages in denial of the Holocaust, it continues to demonstrate the "evil" of the Israeli government through the use of Nazi symbols. ...

Egypt, of course, is not the only Arab country where anti-Semitism is found in the press. Similar images appear throughout the Arab world, including in the press of Israel's other negotiating partners such as the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. ...

The result of these unrelenting attacks is that an entire generation has come of age since the 1979 peace treaty being exposed to the same negative presentation of Jews and Israelis as its parents' generation. Jews portrayed as demons and murderers are people to be feared and avoided, and certainly not to be allowed to enter into normal discourse and relations. ...

In virtually all the cartoons, Israelis are depicted with classic anti-Semitic features and are portrayed as being militant and brutal.

Such anti-Semitic caricatures invoke stereotypes of the Jew as wicked, dangerous and cunning. They not only reflect some Arab attitudes toward Jews, but they also have the capacity to incite hatred against their Jewish neighbors.

The purpose is not only to vilify the Jew, it is also to remove any credibility to Israel's intention to live in peace with its neighbors. In fact, the message in many of the cartoons is that Israel is opposed to peace and that Israelis enjoy killing Arabs."

From an article called Anti-Christian Propaganda & Violence by The American Coptic Association:

"... The commencement of Sadat's policy of promoting Islam coincided with an intensification of unofficial and semi-official anti-Christian agitation and violence that has gathered force during the past two decades.

The government-controlled press, universities, mosques and Islamic associations engage in anti-Christian propaganda calculated to cast Christians in the light of dangerous alien elements within society. The opposition Socialist Labour Party accused members of the ruling National Democratic Party of distributing provocative leaflets in the Al-Zawya Al-Hamra district of Cairo in June 1981 just days before the outbreak of anti-Christian rioting resulting in many deaths, injuries and the massive destruction of property. Egyptian Christians regard the television preaching of the officially sponsored and nationally famous Sheikh Muhammad Mitwalli Al-Sharawi as one of the principal catalysts of prejudice and aggression amongst the Muslim masses against them. When, in the summer of 1981, the Coptic Orthodox priest Fr. Basili produced and circulated cassettes, in which he rebutted one of Sheikh Al-Sharawi's televised diatribes against Christianity, he was jailed. But there are many other Muslim preachers and organizations outside the control of the government that engage in blatant hatemongering and incite violence against Christians. ...

Such militants regard Christians as subversive elements in Islamic society. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has recently singled out Gamma Islamiyya for "spreading provocative rumours in which an unsubstantiated charge against certain persons is extended as an indictment against all citizens belonging to the Christian faith". "This", EOHR continues, "is accompanied by strong incitement to various forms of vengeance, killing and destruction directed against the lives and property of citizens of the Christian faith." (A Statement on Recent Incidences of Communal/Religious Violence, EOHR, Cairo, April 1990.)

Egyptian Christians claim that the police do not provide them with adequate protection from violent attacks. The police have a reputation for ignoring credible warnings of impending attacks against Christians and arriving at the scene of anti-Christian violence long after the damage has been done. ..."

Spreading Vicious Rumours and Slander:

From an article called Criticism Discredits The Critic by Denny Duron:

" “Son, if somebody criticizes somebody to you when your back is turned, they’re going to criticize you too.” My mother gave that word of wisdom to me many times during my youth. ...

A man came to me when I needed a friend, and we entered into a special friendship. He told me all his hurts. He told me of his disillusionments with preachers, churches and religion. I listened because at the end of every tale of woe, I became the hero. I was always the one person who had not let him down; the one he could trust. I knew better. The law of the critic ran over and over through my mind. If he criticizes them, he will criticize you. But I ignored the voice. After all, this man was my true friend, and I knew he would never speak an unkind word about me. Sure enough, the Holy Spirit reminded me I had ignored His voice as person after person came to me and confessed that they had participated with this man in criticizing me.

I had heard this man criticize his wife. I had heard him criticize brothers and sisters, his former pastors, his best friends and ministers he had known. As I experienced the hurt and grief of rejection and betrayal, God began to open my eyes to my own sin. I had listened to every bit of the garbage, collaborating willingly in this grievous sin. I’d never once warned him about the dangers of criticism. I was as guilty as he. By listening, I had discredited myself in his eyes. Criticism, whether one speaks it or listens to it, always discredits the critic. ..."

From an article called Thou Shalt Not Slander: Rumors Damage Lives:

"... Unfortunately, besides just being juicy topics of conversation, rumors can hurt and even ruin the reputations of many people - famous singers and typical teenagers alike. ...

I can remember that in sixth grade, there was a rumor going around about one of my friends at the time, saying that she was a slut because she had kissed a boy in the girls' bathroom the year before. I knew that it wasn't true, and I felt horrible for my friend, who, at the start of our middle school career, was established as "slutty." That, to me, is the essence of gossip. A kind, sweet, innocent friend of mine was labeled and judged for something that wasn't even accurate. ..."

From an article called Friendly Gossip, No Such Thing by Lisa Pereira:

""Can you keep a secret?" Becky asked me in a hushed tone. We were in my living room. Last I checked, my walls don't have ears. I had no idea why she was speaking so quietly. ...

Before I could respond negatively, she burst out, "Jennifer is pregnant!. She just found out and told me, but asked me not to tell anyone. You won't tell, will you?" She continued, "Just act surprised when she tells you."

"Okay," I managed halfheartedly. How unfair. Now I knew something I shouldn't; even worse, I had to "pretend" to be clueless. Becky hadn't even given me a chance to say, "No, I don't want to know." I honestly didn't want to know. I had been in similar situations before and gotten burned. I lost a dear friend because of revealed secrets and gossip. Curiosity doesn't even get the best of me anymore. ...

At that moment, I knew that I couldn't trust Becky. Had she been revealing all the confidences that I shared with her in the past? She had always been a close friend. She was also that friend from whom I always learned the latest scoop on everyone. I started thinking of the countless secrets that I told her over the four years we knew each other. Many of those conversations became public. I hadn't thought she was the person who told. I hadn't considered that someone who claimed to be a dear friend would divulge my feelings. ...

Unfortunately, my experience with Becky was not my first experience with friendly gossip, nor was this experience my last. I must admit that I had even fallen prey to Becky's role. I have been the one who betrayed a confidence. Fortunately for me, I was caught. Being found out cost me a dear friend and taught me a hard lesson. I felt true remorse. I no longer have a desire to be a slanderer. I don't even like to participate.

Gossiping, backbiting, and betrayal are sure ways to lose friends. Becky and I have not been the same friends since that momentous day in my living room. I decided to be true to Jennifer who had never betrayed my trust. I didn't pretend to be clueless when Jennifer made public her great news.

"I'm pregnant," she said excitedly.

"I know. I heard. Congratulations!" Jennifer's face fell and we silently shared a moment of truth. Becky and Jennifer don't seem to be close anymore, either. As a matter of fact, I don't think Becky is close to anyone except that new girl who moved next door."

Theft, Burglary and Robbery:

From an article called The War Against Muggers from BBC News, 2 January 2002:

"After the shocking case of a woman shot in the head by a man just for her mobile phone, BBC News Online's Tom Geoghegan looks at how police are trying to tackle the problem of mugging. ...

Det Supt Petrykowski said: "A lot of street robberies are by schoolchildren on schoolchildren.

"It can be almost aggravated bullying as opposed to the stereotypical image of someone running up and grabbing an old lady's handbag.

"So we've tried to do a lot of preventive work with schoolchildren." ..."

From an article called Police Notice - Victim Support by North West Surrey Police:

"... For others the effects of burglary are immediate. Victims describe feeling shocked, angry, tearful and fearful. They are so badly affected that they don't know where to begin to deal with the aftermath. This is especially so for people living alone with limited family or social contact. ..."

From an article called Classic Cons… and How to Counter Them from FDIC Consumer News, Spring 1998 :

"... How it works: Automated teller machine (ATM) crimes can take several forms. Thugs may simply approach someone using an ATM and demand money. Or, more sophisticated thieves will watch the victim use the card (perhaps even with high-powered binoculars) and learn his or her card number and personal identification number (PIN). Later they’ll steal the card or make their own and go back to ATMs for cash. ..."

From an article called Bogus Callers from the BBC:

"... Unfortunately, you can't always be sure that people turning up on your doorstep are who they say they are.

Bogus callers, as they are sometimes called, can be very convincing and very persuasive.

They may say that their car has broken down and they need to phone someone for help. They may pretend to be a workman, saying that they need to check your electricity or water. They might even claim to be from the council and that they are carrying out a local survey. Whatever reason a caller gives, you need to be sure that they aren't just trying to get into your home to steal something.

There are around 12,000 incidents of "distraction burglary" each year, where callers get into homes and then steal cash or valuables while the occupier is distracted in some way. Sometimes they work in pairs, with one doing the talking while the other is stealing and they often target the elderly. ...

Make sure your back door is locked if someone knocks at your front door. Sometimes thieves work together with one coming in the back way, while the other keeps you talking at the front. ..."

Dishonesty and Deceit:

From an article called Our Cheatin' Hearts by Rusty Wright (Probe Ministries):

"... A Las Vegas restaurant lost $10,000 in pilfered ashtrays during its first two weeks of operation. ... Convenience stores report massive losses from "pump-and-flee" customers who fill their gas tanks and take off without paying.

A Knoxville-based theater chain watches for discount cheaters who purchase pay-by-phone automated tickets at undeserved senior discounts and hope ticket takers won't notice. Shoppers buy party dresses and power tools, use them and return them for refunds. A California bookseller laments the customers who try for full-price refunds on books they've purchased from discount outlets. "You want to send them to Miss Manners," she says. ...

On most university campuses more than 75 percent of students admit to some cheating. About one-third of 2,100 participating students in a 1999 survey on 21 university campuses nationwide admitted to "serious test cheating." Half of the students in that survey admitted to "one or more instances of serious cheating on written assignments." ...

Stacey Moscowitz, a New York City teacher, gave her students answers to tests, raising their scores and the school's academic ranking. She says the school principal encouraged the practice. Later, Moscowitz felt she had betrayed her kids. Students needing remedial help did not qualify for it due to their artificially high test scores. ...

Corporate cheating has had devastating effects. U.S. corporate scandals have seen thousands of employees lose their jobs while stocks plummet and corporate executives are led off in handcuffs. ...

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan summarized for Congress corruptions' impact on the nation: "Fraud is theft... It is indistinguishable from going into a bank and stealing something. Our free market capitalist system cannot function in an environment in which fraud and misrepresentation are critical elements, because trust is so essential to making that system work." ...

Cheating that may begin in school can have disastrous results in society. Duke's president Keohane aptly summarizes: "...An education that involves cheating instead of learning... is no education at all.... In the real world, when you set out to build a bridge or craft a legal document or begin brain surgery, just knowing what the result is supposed to be is of mighty little use in making it happen; pity the poor patients and clients!" ..."

Being sexually unfaithful with other men's wives and prostitutes:

From an article called Healing from Infidelity by Michele Weiner-Davis:

"Life certainly has its challenges, but little compares to the monumental task of healing from infidelity. As a marriage therapist for two decades, I’ve heard countless clients confess that the discovery of an affair was the lowest, darkest moment of their entire lives. And because affairs shatter trust, many seriously contemplate ending their marriages. ...

If you recently discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful, you will undoubtedly feel a whole range of emotions- shock, rage, hurt, devastation, disillusionment, and intense sadness. You may have difficulty sleeping or eating, or feel completely obsessed with the affair. If you are an emotional person, you may cry a lot. You may want to be alone, or conversely, feel at your worst when you are. While unpleasant, these reactions are perfectly normal. ..."

According to the Bible, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, speaking to the Israelite society he was living in about the state of it and predicting its destruction, said:

Isaiah Chapter 59 (NLT)

1 Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. 2 But there is a problem - your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. 3 Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your mouth is full of lies, and your lips are tainted with corruption. 4 No one cares about being fair and honest. Their lawsuits are based on lies. They spend their time plotting evil deeds and then doing them. 5 They spend their time and energy spinning evil plans that end up in deadly actions. 6 They cheat and shortchange everyone. Nothing they do is productive; all their activity is filled with sin. Violence is their trademark. 7 Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Wherever they go, misery and destruction follow them. 8 They do not know what true peace is or what it means to be just and good. They continually do wrong, and those who follow them cannot experience a moment's peace.

9 It is because of all this evil that deliverance is far from us. That is why God doesn't punish those who injure us. No wonder we are in darkness when we expected light. No wonder we are walking in the gloom. ... We look for justice, but it is nowhere to be found. We look to be rescued, but it is far away from us. 12 For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are. 13 We know that we have rebelled against the LORD. We have turned our backs on God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. 14 Our courts oppose people who are righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth falls dead in the streets, and fairness has been outlawed. 15 Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who tries to live a godly life is soon attacked.

The LORD looked and was displeased to find that there was no justice. 16 He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his mighty power and justice. 17 He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with the robes of vengeance and godly fury. 18 He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes in distant lands. 19 Then at last they will respect and glorify the name of the LORD throughout the world. For he will come like a flood tide driven by the breath of the LORD.

20 "The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem," says the LORD,
"to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins.
21 And this is my covenant with them," says the LORD.
"My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you.
They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children's children forever.
I, the LORD, have spoken!

The other parts in this series:

The main pages on this site:

Bible Bible Part 1: The Bible, The Holy Spirit Today, People And Their Stories
(Bible topics include the end of the world, sex and marriage, violence, anger and jealousy, whether Christians should gossip and tell dirty jokes, and some of the reasons why Christians suffer. There are also articles to help with various problem behaviours like alcoholism and anger management.)
Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites, The Book of Revelation, And People's Religious Experiences Today
Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians
(Bible topics include love and caring, the appropriate Christian attitude to personal wealth, prejudice, and false Christian teaching.)

For anyone interested in articles countering arguments put forward by Bible critics on a range of different topics, visit: Links to Answers to Atheists, Theological Liberals and Other Bible Critics.

The Beauty of the Bible's Moral Teaching and Other Important Pages on this Website

Are you up to trying the challenges of the Bible's moral guidelines?

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If you have a problem affecting your mental health or well-being, like depression, a difficulty with life-damaging worry, panic attacks, phobias or OCD, marriage problems, recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse, coping with bullies in the workplace, losing weight, or grieving for someone you were close to, and you'd like some ideas on getting past it, visit our Self-help series.

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