Forget Commandments: Post Hammurabi’s Code



The following appeared in The Pitt News, 2000.

Photograph taken by my brother at the Capitol.

It is in the light of the new Juvenile Justice Bill that I commend the U.S. government. I can clearly see the need for schoolchildren to be exposed to unceasing religious scripture. Every day, when they walk down the halls of their schools, the Holy Word should direct them on their paths.

But the Ten Commandments aren’t going to cut it. Religious though they may be, they aren’t of my religion. As an active Mesopotamian Pagan, I fervently support posting the Code of Hammurabi in American high schools. While Moses’ 10 statutes are too vague and poetic, the Code includes 282 no-nonsense regulations for life and the afterlife.

Why should we accept the Code? Any good reactionary will tell you: First, it’s extremely old, and therefore wise. Second, it’s absolutely right. And why shouldn’t it be? It was, after all, written by Hammurabi, prince of Bel, the fearless conquerer of Isin, Kish, and Ur. Who better to transcribe the word of Marduk, overruling son of Ea, the One True God of Righteousness?

Moreover, the Code is perfect for cracking down on juvenile crime. It states very clearly in rule 22 that anyone caught stealing should be put to death. Forget this “three strikes and you’re out” nonsense. Why fill up prisons with freeloading adolescents when we could eliminate the dark followers of Shamash in public stoning sessions?

Youths who act out against authority won’t face mere detention. Indeed, rule 202 states that if some poor kid makes fun of a teacher, he earns 60 blows with an ox whip. Greasers who resort to fisticuffs in the schoolyard get their teeth knocked out, and teachers who grow especially fond of their students can keep them as personal servants (rules 200 and 188).

As to sexual promiscuity, rule 132 prescribes that any young woman accused of sleeping around should be drowned in the nearest river, with or without evidence. If the accuser is actually just joshing the faculty, he gets the skin of his brow cut off (per rule 127).

The Code even extends into the domestic circle, which is where virtues and vices are first engendered. According to rule 195, a son who disobeys a father loses his hand. Divorced mothers who take their children for a weekend drive are promptly executed, and according to rule 193, if you say out loud that you’re an adopted child, you get your tongue cut out (but only if you really are an adopted child). Now those are family values.

I even advocate reforms in the judicial branch that more closely correspond to the Code. After sacrificing a goat to the gods and swearing honesty, each witness will give a brief testimony, which will be recorded in English and Cuneiform. Having dispensed with the concept of lawyers, the anointed judge will rule on the evidence. But if the ruling is later found unjust, the judge will live in exile.

Critics have argued that this plan is unconstitutional. I reluctantly agree, and I have thus expanded the reformation to include overthrowing the legislative and executive branches as well, which will otherwise challenge the One True Faith of Babylon. The president will be renamed Prince of Heaven and Earth, and all Americans will accept the cultural norms of the Anunaki. Our first act of foreign policy should be to eradicate the Iraqis and reclaim the sacred Tigris and Euphrates rivers for our own purposes.

People have no reservations about labeling me an extremist, which always makes me laugh. I shake my head and wonder why they turn away from the Revelations of Hallab. But why do I feel justified forcing other people to accept my ways, even in the secular arena? I wouldn’t, but certain members of the government clearly think this is a good idea. And as long as one religion has to push its way to the top—dominating American institutions by erecting commandments in its own name—that religion might as well be mine, because my religion, unlike everyone else’s, is the True Way. Long live the glory of Ishtar!