Butzbaugh confused biblical prophecy with threats
People all over the country are alarmed that the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor has been jailed for quoting Deuteronomy 28 in a newspaper article.
On Dec. 20 Judge Alfred Butzbaugh ruled that the quotation from Moses was inflammatory and threatening and therefore a violation of Rev. Pinkney's probation. Rev. Pinkney is a longtime community leader in the Benton Harbor area and an outspoken opponent of corporate oppression of the poor. He was convicted earlier this year of voter fraud in a hotly contested trial that many viewed as racially motivated and riddled with constitutional irregularities.
Judge Butzbaugh has made the profound error of confusing Biblical law and prophecy with human threats. Without exception, the role of biblical law and prophecy is to point out the very serious divine consequences for sinful and disobedient behavior. In his newspaper article, Rev. Pinkney stated that he believes the judge's actions are contrary to God's commandments. He then quotes from Deuteronomy 28: 15-16, 18, 22, and 45 to warn him of the consequences of his actions according to the Word of God.
At no time did Rev. Pinkney state, suggest or imply that he would commit any of these actions.
Indeed, the idea that a human being can cause another to be cursed by God or to be smitten with con sumption, fever and inflammation is a far-fetched and bizarre interpretation. The Mosaic law and virtually every prophet in the Bible – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Jonah to name a few – repeatedly predict dire consequences for those who disobey God. Even Jesus often uses highly inflammatory language and warns us starkly to "repent or perish." The Apostle Paul teaches that we will reap what we sow.
These are profound biblical truths.
To throw someone in jail for simply pointing them out is a fearful assault on the religious rights of every American.
Sandy Perry San Jose, Calif.
Copyright (c)2008 The Herald-Palladium 01/20/2008