Friday, June 26, 2015

Leviticus Also Prohibits Bacon, Sooo...

In honor of today's SCOTUS decision and to satisfy my own curiosity, I spent my evening doing a thorough reading of Leviticus, a very small section of which is oft quoted in relation to the status of the souls of gay people. I have much to say on this, but these are my initial thoughts:

-In Leviticus 18:22, God does indeed decree "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman." In Leviticus, God also decrees many other things...

- The first 10 chapters are dedicated almost exclusively to how one properly goes about being pardoned of sins, which involves the sacrifice of various types of animals, their blood being sprinkled in various places, and their organs/fat being burned on the altar. Definitely not a practice in the modern church.

-You're also not supposed to eat pig, or anything from the sea/streams that doesn't have fins and scales (so no shrimp, prawns, shellfish). Definitely not a practice in many modern churches.

-In chapter 13, God decrees that if you have a rash or lesions, that you have to go to the priest and he'll decide if it is a "defiling skin disease" and whether or not you're clean or unclean. Definitely not a practice in the modern church. But the priest's duties don't stop there!

- Later in chapter 13, the priest is also tasked with evaluating the cleanliness or uncleanliness of any fabric that may be moldy. And in chapter 14, you're asked to call the priest in if you happen to find mold in your home. Definitely not a practice in the modern church.

-My personal favorite, though, is the assertion in chapter 15 that a woman is unclean during her monthly period, so much so that anything she touches, or anything that touches her becomes unclean as well. To atone for this, us ladies are called to sacrifice two doves or two young pigeons as sin and burnt offerings. Definitely not a practice in the modern church.

-Chapter 18 asks us not to wear clothing woven of two different types of material, eat any meat with the blood still in it, get tattoos, pervert justice, spread slander, do anything that would endanger your neighbor's life, steal, seek revenge or hold a grudge.

-Chapter 18 DOES ask us not to mistreat foreigners, but to treat them as native-born people and to love them as ourselves, something so many so called "Christians" have trouble wrapping their minds around when speaking about immigration.

-But then chapter 25 gives the go ahead to buy slaves so long as they're from neighboring nations, "or temporary residents living among you and members of their clan born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life." So that's weird.

While the Bible does have a few, possibly contextually misleading assertions that homosexual *sex* is wrong, what it never condemns is BEING gay, and it certainly never supports shaming or otherwise harming someone because of their sexuality. Leviticus is an absolutely bizarre list of rules, many of which read like the public health code of a people who had no understanding of science and medicine. Using this text to justify violence or discrimination against gay people is ignorant as hell, and is the real sin.

You know what Jesus never mentioned? Anything about homosexuality. In all His teachings it never came up. Not once. What He did command is that we LOVE our God with all our hearts and LOVE our neighbor as ourselves. He said that there is no commandment greater than these.

LOVE.
We're called to LOVE.

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