Friday, April 06, 2012

Oh, Biblical Literalism...

Evangelicals often cite Leviticus 18:23 as the basis for their homophobia, reasoning that if God demands the death penalty for 'a man lying with a man,' it must be pretty bad stuff, and thus they too are justified in their homo-hating (as an out and proud lesbian, I'm allowed to use that word...I have a license in my wallet if you want to see it). Women apparently get a free pass, as they're not mentioned--possibly because even the authors of Leviticus thought lesbian stuff was kind of hot. 
What a lot of conservatives overlook in their parade-protesting, rainbow-flag burning fervor is that there are numerous other ‘crimes’ mentioned in the Bible that demand at least as stern a punishment--and which we would all probably agree are laughable in the twenty-first century. Behold, the consequences of 'reductio ad absurdum': 

Being a 'stubborn and rebellious son,' back in the day, was a capital offense. Mouthing off or slacking on  chores? On the Playstation when there's homework to be done? Forget the comparatively light penalties of a week without car keys or a few whacks with Dad's belt--Leviticus says the offender should be dragged to the outskirts of the city and stoned. Not the fun kind of stoned, either; this is the kind where you get crushed with rocks. In case you were wondering, cursing one's parents is also deserving of an old-fashioned stone-session. Remember, kids: the wages of back-sass are death.

Adultery is also on the list; both participants are put to death. Imagine a world in which this injunction was assiduously followed. No more JFK, no more fact, it seems fair to say that male politicians as a species would be wiped out entirely, leaving us with a President Hillary Clinton or a President Nancy Pelosi. And now that I think about it, men's professional sports would probably disappear as well. I hope you really like the WNBA (I do, but that's not the point). 

Using 'magic,' including astrology, spiritualists or mediums: Imagine a world with no more Wiccans; the hit to the Renaissance Faire economy alone would be catastrophic, to say nothing of the pentagram-jewelry market. And you Methodists and Presbyterians who check your horoscopes every morning? Sorry, it's stoning for you too. On the other hand, this would mean the end of John Edwards, which is something I can get behind. 

There are numerous other infractions that, according to the Bible, mean it's time to get your stone on: breaking the Sabbath and lying about your virginity among them. Perhaps the right answer, rather than getting all kill-happy, is to acknowledge that we're living in a society that is dramatically different from that of a semi-nomadic Semitic people thousands of years ago.

No comments: