My first reaction is 'they aren't heresies, they're crimes'. However, it would seem that heresy and crime is conflated in the 40k RPG fluff so far. :¬/
Atrocities against Mankind; based on Myrchella Sinderfell (DotdG; p233). Based on here, I assuem that any grand slaughter of humans that is not justified by a war against traitors or a just purging would count as heresy
This fits well with the eugenicist and racist concepts that put the sanctity of human life above all other xenos/mutants/etc.
However, the implication here is that there are methods and mechanisms for defining and sanctioning 'great slaughter'. I wonder what they are?
If torture would be heresy, the Imperium would just have turned into a place moraly a little above our actual western civilization. If murder would be heresy, the Arbites would need to sullen there hands witch common crimes. Which is said they do not.
Torture appears to be an accepted and prevalent part of the modus operandi of the Adepta, although we have no definition of what constitutes torture. Murder also, seems to be a common part of state sanctioned activity. Indeed the Administratum planetary governors seem free to institute whatever regime they choose provided the tithes flow and the psykers are purged.
A serious mess of 'grey area' ensues here i think.
Mental Violation: (p.234 DotdG).A nice point, me thinks. This would forbid a psyker to read another man´s mind if he isn´t justified to do so (working for a court, the inquisiton, the arbites, the governours seret police). But how is a pysker to proof his innocence?
This one is VERY interesting given the endless threads moaning about how 'unbalanced' psykers are. Sanctioned psykers should be roleplayed as humble serveants of the Imperium who live out their lives according to Adepta ascribed rules. This would seem to be one of them - psykers must not use their mind reading on unwilling subjects. Very useful.
As you say though, how is this monitored? Perhaps the Sanctionite must submit to regular peer review where his own thoughts are probed? Who knows.
Wanton Destruction: (p.234 DotdG). Again, a point that seems very mundane. Perhaps a question of scale?
So the Imperium places great value on material possessions so that its destruction without reason is considered heresy? I can see such a sanction being in place among the AdMech but really, would the Administratum be concerned with this?
Against starships? Sea vessels? Given the billions of vessels transporting essential tithe-supplies around the Imperium, it makes perfect sense that any threat to that is severely punished.
Murder of a Witchunter:(p.234 DotDG) which I deem to be only the case for "sanctioned witchhunters". Those announced by the Ministorum and recognized by the Ordo Hereticus (see BoM for Witchhunters).
Destruction/Killing of a Planet: (p.235) which is something... obvious.
Outside of Exterminatus presumably.
This raises some interesting questions - what could you do that would 'kill a planet' that would not in itself constitute heresy? I.e. isn't this one slightly redundant?
Corrupting of faith/a faithfull sect; Founding of a heretical sect: (p.234) which seems to refer to "classical heresy", spreading of a heretical teaching among the faithful
But YET AGAIN this brings us back to 'what is orthodoxy'? How can we know what is corruption of the faith if there us no clear idea of what constitutes the faith in the first place?
Inciting Rebellion: (p.235) again, an obivous one.
Really? Heresy? Isn't this firmly in the purvue of the Adeptus Arbites, who's primary responsibility is to suppress, prevent, and quell rebellion?
Betrayal of the Holy Ordos / Killing of his agents (p.236) which makes inter-Inquisitional warfare a really dirty deed
Absolutely, and it opens the massive can of worms around how the Inquisition actually works...again. The political machinations and 'inter-Inquisitorial' conflict seems to be an established part of the Inquisition - yet here its shown to be punishable heresy. Makes no sense....
Killing of members of the Adepta: This is an extrapolation of the mentioned killing of an Arbites Team (p.236). My reason behind this interpretion is that it was heresy because they were direct servants of one of the Adepta, which are in turn direct servants to Terra. Under this interpretion, every murder of a member of one of the Adepta would be reason for an investigation of the Arbitrators and/or the Inquisition.
The fact that the destruction of a Member of the Mechanicus is listed on p.237 DotdG supports me in my opinion
Ahh...now this one is very interesting to me. In my own interpretations of 40k, members of the Adepta are higher status than non Adepts. To join the Adepta is seen as entering Imperial Society. So to see that the Adepta are also protected by heretical law is most encouraging.
Desecration & Tomb robbery: (p.237 DotdG). Desecration is no surprise, but tomb robbery seems to be playing in the same league. Perhaps a proper grave is something sacral?
OK, so this tells us that a person's body after death, and final resting place, is considered sacred. How does this fit with 'whatever happens you will not be missed'? In a practical sense, what does a hive world do with the millions of dead bodies that will be generated each day?
However, we know from previous canon/novels that there are indeed 'graveyard' worlds (Shrine worlds also?) Which means that presumably there are millions of starships ferrying dead bodies around to take them to these burial worlds. Presumably these also transport grieving relatives? Their Gellar Fields will have to be pretty robust given the hieghtened emotional turmoil of the passengers.
Possesion of Forbidden Lore; Necromancy (p.237 DotdG) the first one is no surprise, the second is not either. But why is it listed seperately? Perhaps it is even more foul then witchcraft? Or perhaps the FFG authors only wanted to ensure to bring about the point what Magos Vathek (the accused Heretek) is about?
I presume this relates to the above tomb robbing. The whole undead thing seems something that isn't really part of 40k so perhaps you're right when you say that interfering with the dead is far worse than the usual witchcraft?
I wonder why?
Multiple Accounts of Murder; Cannibalism; (p.238 DotdG) Again, the mentioning of murder surprises me. This might be a misunderstanding on part of the author (to what is Heresy or what is mere crime). Otherwise, the Arbites will be really busy in the grim-dark world of 40K. Cannibalism is a nice point here. Especially if one takes "corpse starch rations" into account. My conclusion is that the imperial definition for cannibalism is the killing of a human with the intention of consumption. So recycling the dead is not sinful as long as they were not killed for just this reason (alone).
Except that recycling the dead seems to contravene the sanctity of the dead set out above. Doesn't it?
Also, cannibalism is a part of rituals such as those practiced by many Space Marine chapters. There was a lot of discussion a while back about what constituted corpse starch rations. Personally i think its just a rule of cool reference to 'meat' (the corpse doesn't neccessarily mean 'human'). However, if it does (Soylent Green style) it totally contradicts the sanctity of human remains implied by 'desecration/tomb robbing'.
Cannibalism seems a bit of an issue though...and given 'desecration', i'd suggest it reinforces the idea of the sanctity of the dead body in the Imperium. That however presents a who new set of problems to be resolved.
Slaving (p.238 DotdG) again, a little surprise. But on the other hand, perhaps that is the reason why you never here "slavery" in the DH-fluff but only "contract slavery" (holding a worker under a contract which rules ensure that he will never ever be able to repay his oder her depts).
This one really gets me. The Imperium is built on slavery; explicit and implicit. Sanctioned psykers are lifelong slaves of the Adepta. The Mechanicus is a pure slave-heirarchy often literally, with servitors 'slaved' into machinery for life.
Imperial Guards and typically indentured slaves.
Necromunda has slave pit-fighters.
Slavery is a core part of Imperial Society. I just don't see it being heresy. Yet here it is! So there needs to be some rationalisation done to determine what 'heretical slavery' actually is.
Gerrymandering: (p.238 DotdG): my english is not good enough for this. What is the meaning?
Wow! This one's really wierd.
Gerrymandering is the administrative division of a voting electorate to give your own party an unfair electoral advantage.
So this implies that within Imperial society; within the Adepta, there is fair and open democracy.
This is completely against everything seen so far in 30 years of 40k canon isn't it? With the exception of the High Lords? Are they elected? IF so, perhaps gerrymandering would be part of that?
Not sure at all.
Fraud, Blackmail (p.238 DotdG): this points are to me proof that even official DH sources are to be taken with a grain of salt. Either this, or the Arbitrator or busy with a lot of things.
I agree. I've no idea why this would be heresy, unless associated with the Imperial tithe returns?
Impersonation of an official of an Adepta: (p.238 DotdG) I tend to except this a heresy and not as an example of the above since it puts the Adepta into a special place withini the Imperium.
Aha! This supports what i was saying earlier about the high status afforded those belong to the adepta. Nice one.
Illegal Sale of Holy relics: (p.238 DotdG) This raises the question: under which circumstances is a sale of holy relics legal? What makes it illegal? Does the Ministorum have to be asked for permission? Is it illegal to buy from other sources but the clerics of the Ministorum?
Indeed. Many questions. I think it reinforced the parallels to the Catholic church selling relics and indulgences...
Some interesting issues arise to be resolved i think!!