learning from the Bible

Think you're having a bad day? What if you were a leper? What if the mere mention of your health issues inspired horror, fear and disgust?

Leprosy is as old as history, and so is leprostigma. Lepers were ritually buried by their community in an open grave. After throwing three shovels of earth on your head, they gave you a sackcloth robe with a big UNCLEAN logo on it, a cross and an alms box, then lead you to the edge of town and expected you to stay there.

They also gave you a bell, which you had to ring it while shouting "unclean, unclean" and remaining optimistic about them still giving you an alm or two. Things got better in the Middle Ages, when a pope decided Lepers were going through Purgatory on Earth, so their suffering was first rate ergo holier than thine...

Treatments included the blood of virgins, kids, corpses, dogs and lambs (as either beverage or bath), cobra venom, thousands of bee stings, the excreta of climbing fish and castration.

More than two million people have leprosy right now, in 122 countries including India, China, Brazil, Romania, Egypt, Somalia, Vietnam and Japan. Happily, many more millions have been

A story about a man who stopped to talk to lepers is a good story. A story about being cured through faith is good marketing.

All I'm saying is that if you wake up without Hansen's disease tomorrow, you have one more reason to be cheerful.


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