A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
It’s all very complicated, but, at the far end of the rhetoric, what it boils down to is this: last week the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that California’s — and every other states’ — attempt to ban gay marriage is unconstitutional. For those of you (like me) who can’t keep track of the nuances of American law, SCOTUS didn’t rule that gay marriage is constitutional; it ruled that banning it isn’t. Splitting hairs, I’ll grant you, but that’s what lawyers do. Either way, this week, despite dire warnings, the sun still rose in the east, God’s in his heaven, George Takei hasn’t … well, you get the idea.
Since I’m not particularly gay, the whole on-again/off-again marriage debate leaves me cold. If anything, I think the gay end of the rainbow gets an awful lot of media ink considering they’re one of the minor minorities in our society. Frankly, we have more people with gingivitis. However, on a more personal note, if gay marriage does catch on, I’m totally watching Gay Divorce Court.
Anyway, since the US government has decided to stay the hell of the bedrooms of America, opponents of gay marriage have turned to the church to sanctify their opposition. This is an old ploy which hasn’t held much water since Clarence Darrow beat up William Jennings Bryan in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925.
However, in that vein, a couple of friends of mine sent me this email, which apparently has been kicking around the Internet for a few years now. I haven’t checked it for accuracy and take no responsibility for mistakes. It should be noted that my friends are Catholic and haven’t really cared what the Supreme Court had to say for itself for over thirty years. (BTW, I don’t plan to turn this blog into a repost emporium, but I just couldn’t resist.)
Here’s the email.
In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, [she believes] homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.
The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US resident, and posted on the Internet.
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman,
Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia
PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian)