Sunday, December 12, 2004

Marriage, war, the Bible and gays.


Well, yesterday was certainly a little more entertaining than usual as Kos over at DailyKos was generous enough to link over here to my snarky little piece on the recently-married getting a one-year military furlough. I recommend popping over there and reading all the comments he got. (It's a sobering sign of blogosphere infamy when his link to my article got 150 comments, and mine got five.)

Now, my original post was certainly a little tongue-in-cheek -- I didn't seriously expect the vast majority of whacked-out, speaking-in-tongues Biblical literalists to suddenly have an epiphany and cry, "Lord, O Lord! How wrong we have been to send the newly-married to have their brains and other vital organs dashed upon the sands of the evil foreign power!" Or something to that effect.

In fact, if you read the comments at Kos, you'll notice the occasional reference to a classic standby fundamentalist defensive position: that it's really kind of unfair to refer to anything in the Old Testament, given that a good chunk of that (Leviticus and Deuteronomy in particular) is -- how shall I put this diplomatically? -- mostly inane, mind-numbingly stupid, indefensible twaddle about how thou shalt not wear clothing of mixed fabrics and similar silliness. So it's not surprising to find the Bible thumpers blowing off the Old Testament with, "Well, yes, we know what it says, but that's before Jesus Christ and a new Covenant with his followers that supersedes that complete rubbish. Anyway, it's not like anyone takes it seriously anymore."

Generally, an effective strategy ... except for one itsy, bitsy problem: the Old Testament is the only place anywhere in the Bible that explicitly condemns homosexuality.

Oops.

If you pop over to BibleGateway and do a keyword search for "abomination" in the King James version of the Bible, you learn a couple of things. First, you learn that the Christian God, despite being the creator of all things, finds quite a lot of it abominable. Go figure.

More importantly, though, you learn that the only explicit condemnation of homosexuality occurs (as near as I can tell) exclusively in the Old Testament:

Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 20:13 (KJV): If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Which, of course, puts the sputtering, homophobic fundies in a bit of a bind as they struggle to categorize those parts of the Old Testament that they like and those parts they don't in some weird relativistic fashion. Like here.

In any case, while it's normally tempting for the annoyingly Godly to abandon any defense of the collective idiocy that is the Old Testament, you have to realize that down that road lies some serious rhetorical difficulty. I mean, if you can't use the Bible to prop up your closed-minded intolerance and homophobic bigotry, it seems all you'd have left is Jesus' numerous admonitions to love thy neighbour and treat him or her as you'd like to be treated. And what the hell fun is that?

Random additional ponderings: I realize I may be belaboring the obvious, but if you read the above two passages from Leviticus -- I mean really read them carefully and literally -- they do seem to be giving lesbians a pass, don't they? So, apparently, there's no problem, Biblically speaking, with a little hot girl-on-girl action. Just saying.

6 comments:

CC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jay Gatsby said...

Well, once again, you have not throughly researched the bible. In the new testament it DOES mention homosexuality. 1Corithians 6:9-10: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor EFFEMINATE, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Now the word I boulded,EFFEMINATE, means homosexual. Well, it looks as if you were wrong, yet again. Perhaps you should actually make sure your information is correct next time.

oops....

CC said...

From CC:

Oh, dear. Here we go again. Apparently, Mr. Meyers' self-embarrassment knows no bounds. As most of you (unlike Mr. Meyers, apparently) can read, my primary point in this original post was that all of the Scriptural condemnation of homosexuality occurs exclusively in the Old Testament.

Now, by way of admission, I'll admit that the above is not entirely true. It IS true that Jesus does not condemn homosexuality. That's left to Paul who, among other things, takes the concept of misogyny to a whole new level. But there's no doubt that Jesus himself is mum on the entire topic, which I think is a pretty significant observation.

Having made that self-correction, I'm actually a bit baffled as to why Meyers chose to bolster his point with this particular translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor EFFEMINATE, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

(I will refrain here from suggesting that, if you disqualify adulterers, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers and extortioners, that pretty much wipes out the vast majority of the Republican party. But that's kind of belaboring the obvious.)

But why would Meyers use a translation that contains the word "effeminate", which requires him to twist and contort the interpretation to make his point? I suspect it's because he got that translation from the King James Version, well recognized among serious Biblical scholars as a piece of total dreck.

If Meyers had simply picked on, say, the New King James Version, or the New International Version, those editions actually condemn homosexuality specifically using that word, and his job would have been done. See? That's just the kind of guy I am, always willing to help out.

Of course, none of the above makes a whit of difference to the contention that Jesus had nothing whatever to say about homosexuality. But, at least, if Meyers is going to use his argument on some other ignorant sap, he might as well use a version of the Bible that makes his point for him more directly without needing to butcher the translation.

No, no, don't thank me, I'm just doing my job. Even for the clueless.

Jay Gatsby said...

I like to use the bible that hasn't been modified by a king because it suited his needs(no offese to those that follow the King James version) even if the King James version helped my point. Actually, Christ spoke against homosexuality when He made reference to the abomination of Sodom and Gomorrah...and he did speak of this himself, not through Paul or anyone else. But, my personal view on that is that it is not a sin to be homosexual....if you are homosexual, you really can't help those feelings. No one "chooses" to be homosexual, it's just the way they are. However, I believe that Jesus Condemned acting on those feelings "sex, marraige, etc.) as a sin. But hey, the man never said anything about civil unions being wrong...

Jay Gatsby said...

Oh, and there isn't any need to thank me. I'm just doing MY part to expose those ignoramuses that present lies as fact. You probably didn't know you were lying though...although, if your going to be "informing" people online,it really doesn't matter. Once again, no need to thank me. Oh, wait I take that back By saying something like that,well, it seems like I'm full of myself.
P.S. I really don't need to present my argument to "some other ignorant sap", your ignorant enough for my tastes.

headless lucy said...

Dan needs to find a girlfriend or go out for some sport. One thing I've noticed is that Dan hates to be told that he's "obtuse", which is why I frequently remind him that he is