Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"If somebody's on his way to hell, you've got to love him to rescue him"

Really, where do they get this stuff? We've all read Leviticus (inspired by my constant bitching, my dad read it cover to cover the other day. He was unimpressed), so we've all heard that homosexuality - much like shellfish, pork, and everything else that's delicious - is an "abomination before God." Except, of course, that the Bible doesn't say that. In Leviticus, what's condemned is behavior, not sexual orientation. There is a difference.

Leviticus 18:22 says:

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
Leviticus 20:13 says:
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
Those verses are, as always on WTFWJD?, from the NIV. What I find interesting is that they chose not to use the word 'abomination,' unlike so many other versions of the Bible. I find this interesting, of course, because I once heard that the ancient Hebrew had no word for 'abomination.' So, one hopes that 'detestable' is more accurate to the original meaning of the text, though I think it mostly irrelevant, because I think Leviticus mostly irrelevant to modern-day life. In fact, I find it 'detestable.'

Matthew 15:1-11 says:
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"

Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' "

What does this story say to you? Because to me, it is not only a complete nullification of Leviticus (which is primarily concerned with what makes a person 'unclean'), but it also says that church leaders get too caught up on the specifics, and forget that Jesus didn't give a shit who was gay (St. Paul may have, but he clearly had some issues about sex). He only cared about how people treated each other. And furthermore, who could ever make the claim that one is bound to an illogically serious sin (in relation to other sins, particularly considering the small amount of condemnation actually devoted to it in the Bible) because of the experience of child abuse?

Pat Roberts to gay teenager: "I love you. God loves you. But, because you were abused as a child, you will have to continually fight who you actually are for the rest of your life until you either find away to live dead or just kill yourself, otherwise your totally going to hell."

Gay teenager to Pat Roberts: "..."

Doesn't make any fucking sense, Pat. WTFWJD?


Anonymous said...

I'm sure the finer points of interpretation on what the Bible says is of importance to those who subscribe to a religion that pays heed to that text.

Regardless of 'the final answer' (if one ever is come to), why should it have any bearing on civil law for citizens who are not members of such religions?

I love my Christian friends and support them to peruse their faith. I however am not a Christian and find it despicable that religious strictures are being enforced as civil law. That's a hallmark of the Taliban if you think about it.

Jocelyn said...

Luckily, we as a society seem to be moving away from that. Even if we have to drag the fundies along kicking and screaming.

Andrew said...

"Love your neighbour as you love yourself" considered by Jesus to be one of the two greatest commandments of all (the other being the Shema) is from Leviticus.

I'm not sure you find Leviticus as detestable as you claim....

Jocelyn said...

"Love your neighbor" is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. Its presence in Leviticus doesn't negate the overwhelmingly offensive content of the rest of that book.

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