Thursday, June 27, 2013

What the Bible Says About Gay Marriage and Other Absurdities

Our dear friends on the far right, the ones making such a fuss about gay people being granted the (limited) right to be married often point to Leviticus as the basis for their prejudice. And yes, it’s in there (18:22) as one of the “abominations”. But those crimes against humanity also include some laughably outrageous instructions on how to live.

Here are a few that the early Israelites wanted their tribes to follow (the Liviticus verse in parenthesis; my comments bracketed):
  • Burning any yeast or honey in offerings to God (2:11) 
  • Eating fat and blood (3:17) [I can see the fat prohibition] 
  • Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been told about (5:1) [I can see this as license to pass along gossip) 
  • Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6) [This is the “bad hair day” rule] 
  • Tearing your clothes (10:6)  
  • Drinking alcohol in holy places (10:9) ["So much for communion] 
  • Touching the skin of an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (including pigs) (11:8) [This one outlaws football—the ball is made of pigskin] 
  • Eating or touching any seafood without fins or scales (11:10-12) [No more Bubba Gump shrimp] 
  • Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy, 66 days for a girl (12:4-5) 
  • Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19) [One of many instructions on who you can boink and when] 
  • Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21) [Thank god for that] 
  • Having sex with a man “as one does with a woman” (18:22) [Here’s the one that is the basis of all the trouble with gay marriage and gay love] 
  • Picking up grapes that have fallen in your vineyard (19:10)  
  • Lying and stealing (19:11) [Tell that to a politician] 
  • Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (19:13)  
  • Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19) [No more 60/40 shirts, dangit!)
  •  Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19) [I'm wondering if this metaphoric]
  • Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20) [This one assumes and condones slavery] 
  • Trimming your beard and cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)  
  • Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32) [Hey, I like this one] 
  • Mistreating foreigners (19:33-34) [Think “immigrant”] 
  • Selling land permanently (25:23) [Death knell to real estate business] 
  • Selling an Israelite as a slave (25:42) [But, hey, sell all the immigrants you want] 


  1. First of all, this is not a religious issue, but a constitutional one. All citizens are guaranteed the same rights. That's how my rights are protected. I am a religious person, and it's not hard for me to support the idea that in this country, which I think is truly a remarkable place, we are all treated the same. That means other people are free to see things differently than I do and live differently than I do. I celebrate that, especially when it forces me to go outside my comfort zone. I can't learn to be a more compassionate person unless I am challenged.

    As to your scriptural citations, those are Jewish laws, and are not binding on Christians anyway, in spite of the intentional misunderstanding by many who profess to be such. On the other hand, there is this from I Corinthians chapter 6: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

    I'm pretty sure there are more drunken swindlers than gay people in the world, but I don't hear the religious right crying about that. In the end, whether or not a self-professed Christian believes being gay is sinful, they are still called to be compassionate servants to humanity. To quote another Jewish scripture, Micah 6:8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

  2. Michael: I'm not here to argue any of your points, but I will mention that Christian doctrine came from Jewish law and that the Jewish laws probably made a good bit of sense when they were written (you could get trichnosis from pork, for example). However, times changes, mores change, attitudes change and all those are adjusted to fit the reality of our time. There is nothing any more wrong with being gay than there is in touching the skin of a dead pig, but why is one frowned upon by a certain narrow segment and the other cheered by millions of football fans?

    The essence of the Christianity I grew up with and the part of it my parents strongly stressed were love, forgiveness, tolerance, understanding and giving people a wide berth to be who they are--never allowing the minutae of doctrine get in the way of trying to understand and accept people's differences. The Christian right (I prefer "Christian wrong") believes none of that and as much as I want to accept and tolerate their views, it becomes difficult when those views hurt--even destroy (consider the suicide rate among gays)--other people. That's unacceptable.

  3. Dan, I think we are saying the same thing, right? Yeah, I get the Jewish roots, but my point was that the people who use Leviticus to justify their 'christian' actions, don't get it.

  4. Mike: I think what we do "get" about Leviticus is the absurdity of picking and choosing to make a point that is invalid. I mean, let's talk about the slavery it not only condones, but encourages. The entire passage is out of date and hardly something on which to build a religious belief.

  5. Something you may enjoy on the topic. I haven't read the book, but I've seen many interviews with the author.