"26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God..."
Wow, if that doesn't sound like the Godfather giving you an offer you can't refuse, I don't know what does. But that really is how following the Law is sold here. Do it or else I'll mess you up real bad. Lofty motivations, indeed.
"6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again."
Oh boy. Free speech? Nah, of course not. And here you can't even trust your closest family and friends to talk to. This reminds me of those child informers of Nazi times. If sure gives me Orwellian shivers, how about you?
"12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in 13 that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock."
And there goes freedom of religion and the freedom of assembly too. If the media was around in those times, I'm the sure the Bible would have said similar things about it too. See, what religious fundamentalists must be saying when they wish for a Jewish theocracy (even if they don't realize it) is for all these laws to take effect. What a scary place to live. It's rather shocking at first when you read these texts and put them in modern contexts. But there it is.