Should the Qur'an be read "in context"?

If you are a liberal it must be hard being a Muslim. How, for example, do you square your desire for humane and  just treatment of criminals with the shariah requirement of chopping the hands off thieves, or the whipping of adulterers, or the crucifiction of those whose spread sedition. How do you look your gay friends in the eye, knowing that your god has decreed that the punishment meted out to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, is a valid response to those who indulge their natural sexual desires?
One way of dealing with this apparent insurmountable clash of ideologies is to read the Qur'an "contextually".
I have been having an interesting debate with a Muslim convert over at New Muslim(ah) Walking Around - a thoughtful Islamic blog by an American female convert to Islam. This blogger, and I'm sure she is not alone, believes the message contained in the Qur'an can be "re-interpreted" and that it "isn't static".
This is, of course, what Christian liberals have been doing for hundreds of years.
"Oh, we don't take the Old Testament literally anymore! No-one is suggesting that we should stone people to death for working on the Sabbath or that you should kill your children if they cheek you...for goodness sake!"
So the Christians (and Jews) pick and choose which rules to follow and which to quietly ignore and brush under the carpet. Indeed, so successful has the Church been in re-interpreting the Bible, that the vast majority of Christians now have no idea that their holy book contains such blood-curdling exhortations to infanticide and murder.

The trouble with the Qur'an is that no Muslim can (or would want to?) deny one iota of its content and this is for two important reasons:
i. it is a fundamental tenet of Islam that the Qur'an is the uncreated word of God. That is to say that every word, every letter has come direct from God (via the Angel Gabriel and Muhammad of course).
and
ii. not a word or letter has been changed in the 1,400 odd years since the Prophet received the revelation.
Thus, for most Muslims, to say (as Christians do) that no-one believes such-and-such a part of the revelation nowadays is tantamount to apostasy (and we all know what dire retribution God has ordained for Muslims who apostise...)

Hence my difficulty with the Muslim blogger mentioned earlier. I have a sneaking admiration for anyone who has the balls to stand up in the 21st century and tell me they believe that evolution is a lie, that it's right and proper to give a hundred lashes to adulterers and that Heaven is an endless, drunken orgy. At least they stand by their peculiar convictions. I think I have less time for the apparent liberal Muslim who tries to accommodate a plainly medieval belief system by cherry-picking the Meccan verses (those "revealed" when Muhammad was in Mecca and conscious of the need not to upset putative followers) whilst ignoring the Medinan verses (those from the time when Muhammad had moved to Medina and had established a power base and was less interested in sounding understanding of non-believers)

Why follow a religion if you feel the need to reinterpret what your god has told you is the law? Why not try a dangerous but thrilling thought experiment ... and imagine, for a moment, if you feel such laws and views are plainly anachronistic and inhumane that perhaps then so is your god...and if your god is such then perhaps, just perhaps, he doesn't exist.

Now go and marvel at what science has achieved in the last few days and take a look at the pictures being beamed back from Mars (and wait for the first Muslim miracle seeker to claim he can see the word Allah written in the Martian dust...)