(Deuteronomy 22:28-29). While these Biblical endorsements of unequal treatment may seem historical and antiquated to a modern, Western audience, the fact is that many parts of the world still treat women in a similar fashion, so that the Bible would be useless in helping to determine a standard of human rights for women.
In addition, many human rights activists believe that the death penalty is a de facto violation of human rights, regardless of the guilt or innocence of the person to be executed and the nature of the crime committed by that person. However, the Bible clearly endorses the application of the death penalty. Moreover, the Bible endorses the use of the death penalty in areas where most of the modern world has determined its use to be inappropriate. Amaziah executed his father's assassins, and the Bible described him as doing "what was right in the eyes of the LORD." (2 Kings 14:3-5). Solomon had his brother Adonijah executed because of the wife that Adonijah requested. (1 Kings 2:23-25). Furthermore, in Exodus, the death penalty is the given penalty for murder (Exodus 21:12,14); for attacking one's parents (Exodus 21:15); for kidnapping (Exodus 21:16); for cursing one's parents (Exodus 21:17); and for causing the death of an unborn child (Exodus 21:22-25). In contrast to the Bible, major human rights organizations, like the Carter Center, oppose the death penalty in part because it is applied in a disparate and discriminatory manner. (the Carter Center).
Finally, the Bible has been interpreted as prohibiting the practice of certain rights that many human rights organizations believe are essential to human freedom. Many of these rights are concerned with reproductive freedom. For example, the Bible punishes one who causes a miscarriage, which has led many to say that the Bible prohibits abortion. (Exodus 21:22-23). Furthermore, God punished the Ammonites for performing abortions as an act of war. (Amos 1:13). The Bible also speaks against birth control, by punishing one who deliberately renders sexual acts infertile. (Genesis 38:8-10). In addition, it admonishes its followers to multiply. (Genesis 1:27-28). Furthermore, the New Testament places this burden unequally upon females, by stating that women will be saved by childbirth and motherhood. (1 Timothy 2:15).
In addition, the Bible condemns the practice of homosexuality. (Leviticus 18:22). However, this condemnation may be out-of-touch with modern Christians. For example:
pending law in Nigeria that would impose brutal penalties on all relationships, activism, advocacy, and shows of affection among lesbian and gay people violates basic religious principles of respect for human dignity and life, a group of more than 250 Christian leaders said in a letter to the Nigerian government today. The draconian bill - poised to pass possibly as early as this week - would introduce criminal penalties for any public advocacy or associations supporting the rights of lesbian and gay people, as well as for same-sex relationships and marriage ceremonies. (Human Rights Watch).
However, not all modern Christians are so tolerant. On the contrary, the Southern Baptist Commission believes that employers should have the right to discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. (Carlson).
Finally, the Bible condones the lesser treatment of people because of religious beliefs. The Old Testament continuously reaffirms the religious and racial superiority of the Israelites, and permits them to take others as their slaves and to wage wars upon people of other nations. However, modern Christians work to end religious persecution, both of Christians and members of other religions. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide).
Adherents.com. "Major Religions Ranked by Size." Adherents.com. 2007. Adherents.com 28