This is just for fun. Sort of.
I was sent this information by a friend of mine recently. It is laugh out loud funny – at least it was for me. Yet, the underlying issue (of how we interpret the Bible) is serious indeed. But read other entries on this blog for more cerebral engagements with the issue.
A few years ago, an American radio host ranted about homosexuality (and then later retracted her comments and took out full page newspaper adverts to apologise). Dr Laura Schlessinger (“Dr Laura”) broadcasts a 3 hour long, radio program each weekday on a network of over 500 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada and has an estimated audience of 20 million people. She holds a Ph.D. in physiology (not psychology).
In her radio show, Dr Laura had said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance (she said more too about her feelings about homosexuals). The following response was posted on the internet. Its source has been credited to many different people, and is best regarded as an essay clearly meant for a wider audience than just Dr Laura. It is a reminder that many belief systems pick and choose their way through Biblical teachings in determining what is “right” and “wrong”. Authorship remains unconfirmed.
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 neighbouring 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 – Leviticus 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 – Leviticus 1:9. The problem is, my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbour 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 – Leviticus 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
7. Leviticus 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 Leviticus 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Leviticus 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 Leviticus 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? Leviticus 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? (Leviticus 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
I am not trying to mock the Bible with this piece. Instead, I am trying to call attention to the very selective way in which many people use the Bible. In most of the cases above, there are no legitimate or consistent interpretative tools that allow you to objectively say that one rule is for now, and another is not for our times. If you take one rule as being legitimate for today, but not another, you are almost definitely doing this on no other basis than cultural bias and personal taste. That’s not the Bible’s fault. Rather it is the fault of the interpreter.
Anyway – more of that some other time. Now I have to go and find a tissue to wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes…