The Doctor-Killer Reads His Bible

by Philip Appleman

Heretics may be justly slain.” –St. Thomas Aquinas

“The defendant’s attorney argued that the killing of those who performed abortions was ‘consistent with biblical truth.’ “
The New York Times, Nov. 1, 1994

It is written there:
“The Lord God is
a consuming fire,
eye for eye,
tooth for tooth,
burning for burning;
so cast out devils,
kill every woman
who has known a man,
stone her with stones
that she might die,
for it is written:
thou shalt not suffer
a witch to live,
beware of men
defiled of women,
destroy young and old
with the edge of the sword,
scorch them with fire
  (serpents among you,
  bad seed)
the sword to slay,
dogs to tear,
beasts of the field
to devour and destroy,
and let the dead
bury the dead,
for it is written:
there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth,
famine and plague,
generations of vipers,
locusts and scorpions,
fathers shall eat
their sons, sons
shall eat their fathers,
bad seed,
strike them,
destroy them utterly,
show no mercy,
carcasses falling
like dung on the field,
all these things
the Lord has spoken:
fear the Lord
and obey, for it
is written.”

Philip Appleman


This poem, by freethought poet laureate and Foundation member Philip Appleman, will be appearing in a volume of satirical poems, called A Lytle Boke of Satyres. It is published for the first time in Freethought Today.

Philip Appleman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. His seven published volumes of poetry include New and Selected Poems, 1956-1996. His nonfiction work includes the widely used Norton Critical Edition, Darwin, and the Norton Critical Edition of Malthus’ Essay on Population. His poetry and fiction have won many awards, including a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. His work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Paris Review and The Yale Review.

Freedom From Religion Foundation