This greatly disturbs me as it has taken me a great number of years to understand the bible, the teachings of God, and the origins of its meaning(s). My nephew is more or less new to the religious practices taught in society today. He will frequently ask me questions about religion, why there are so many different religions, what God said about certain topics, etcetera. As a gay 22 year old, uncle to 4 nephews and 3 nieces and an extended family with mixed religious views and opinions, I sometimes find myself in a difficult position as to what I should openly speak about, and what I should refrain from speaking as to not confuse anyone, especially the kids.
Roger, the nephew which I am speaking about in this particular post, is the oldest of all of the kids and he is quite a learner. Biblical topics and religion as a whole seems to fascinate him. I truly believe that he can hold a good religious argument in support of what he believes, but I am afraid that the religious institution to which he belongs to may be teaching him the very hate and discriminatory “values” which so many citizens such as myself must face every single day. The unfortunate reality of the religious society which we must face today, is teaching what is good, what is right, what is pure and the true word of God himself and not the word of those who teach hate and discrimination in the bible. What many do not realize is that God himself never spoke of homosexual relationships in a discriminatory or derogatory way. The particular books of the bible which reference God speaking of such relationships are ones in which these homosexual acts were unholy (married men having sexual relationships with other men, married women with other women, etcetera).
Roger is an open minded kid, but he is simply that: a kid. I do not want to see him inherit this form of hatred for those of us who are different. I by no means wish to detour others from their beliefs and values, what I ask is to re-examine the bible. Read what God said, and what man said. Take Gods word and apply it to the situation at hand, did he speak of the future in these passages? No, he did not.
I wish that someday, we will live in a world free of prejudice and hatred, a world where religious backgrounds are open and freely expressed without the back-stabbing and lying. I can only hope that I do my part in educating Roger of what God said, in what context he meant it, and how I see things today. Do I expect him to agree with me on every level? No. But I believe that all I can do is try my best to teach him and let him make up his own mind. No matter which path he will choose to follow, I want him to know I will be here to talk and answer any questions he may have, religious and otherwise.
Today was the first day for Dr. Laura Schlessinger and her “no-nonsense” advice on satellite radio. In her radio show, Dr. Laura has said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. An inquiry into other Biblical admonitions raises some key questions. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura from James M. Kauffman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.
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 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)