The Bible: Leviticus
Well, it’s time for some more Bible verses. This time around, my subject matter was the Book of Leviticus, the preferred quotemine of the Westboro Baptist and Mormon Churches, just to name a few. Based on what I’ve heard of Leviticus, I was expecting to get into abominations and stonings right off the bat, but surprisingly, in order to get to the really repulsive verses, you first have to wade through nine chapters of animal sacrifice instructions.
Leviticus basically just picks up where Exodus left off. Brothers Moses and Aaron, with lots of help from the LORD, have managed to lead the Israelites out of their Egyptian captivity and into the desert. As I mentioned in my previous post, God had a huge number of golden artifacts that he needed the Israelites to build. Chief among them was the tabernacle: a big, elaborate tent centered around a sacrificial altar. Now I suppose that if you managed to convince a tribe of people to build a big fancy golden tent for you out in the middle of the desert, you would be pretty protective of it. God is certainly no exception here, as we see in this next quote. Aaron’s two sons bust out some incense, but I guess the LORD wasn’t in the incense mood…
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Next up, the LORD spends an entire chapter pointing out which animals are to be considered ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’. Animals that he supposedly created, mind you. I guess he just felt like there needed to be some unclean animals roaming around.
How about some instructions for how Israelite women are supposed to behave post-childbirth? We’ll start off with some genital mutilation, and finish up by stating that a woman who gives birth to a girl is ‘unclean’ for twice as long as a woman who gives birth to a boy. Charming.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.
If it’s that time of the month, don’t even go near her, thus sayeth the LORD.
Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.
Here it is! The Bible verse that gets thrown around more than any other these days. There are actually two instances in Leviticus in which the LORD says that homosexuality is verboten. As it turns out, 18:22 is the tamer of the two verses…
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Here’s an odd one. “Thou shalt not allow interracial bovine dating, thou shalt not plant mixed seeds, and thou shalt not wear blended fabrics.”
Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
The penalty for mouthing off to your parents? DEATH.
For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
The penalty for committing adultery? DEATH.
And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Are you a homosexual? Well, that’s just too fucking bad, because it’s DEATH for you.
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.
In addition to the obvious repulsiveness of demanding the execution of two consenting adults who aren’t infringing on the rights of anyone, there’s another reason this verse pisses me off, and here it is. If you’re the kind of asshole who has nothing better to do than to go around stripping away the civil rights of a demonized minority just because a book of Bronze Age morality tells you to, then you should at least have the guts to be consistent about it. It’s the height of hypocrisy to go around forcing someone else to live under your repulsive moral code when you don’t even have the balls to do it yourself. I mean why is it that the more ‘convenient’ passages are seen as The Infallible Word of God, while the repulsive bits like this are just glossed over? Grrrrr…
Are you a sketchy pervball who likes to go around having sex with animals? DEATH. Are you a petting zoo attraction who happens to be a little too cute for your own good? DEATH.
And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast. And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Okay LORD, I understand that some guys get weirded out by periods, but I think you’re getting a little carried away here. I mean after all, you made ‘em that way…
And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
God loves all the little children. Except for the weird looking ones.
Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD do sanctify them.
I bet you thought I was done with the angry red font, didn’t you? Well you thought wrong! I sure hope you aren’t a filthy godless blasphemer, because if you are, I’ve got a beautiful, all-expenses-paid DEATH BY STONING sitting right here with your name on it!
And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.
Last but certainly not least, we have this delightful passage which simultaneously says 1) the value of human life can be measured in a fixed quantity of silver shekels, and 2) a woman is generally only worth about half as many silver shekels as a man.
And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.
Well, that’s the Book of Leviticus. It certainly managed to live up to its vile reputation. However, one thing that I should mention in closing is that all of these supernatural instructions and ‘thou shalts’ are being given from God to Moses and Aaron, who are then supposed to pass the word on to the Israelites. If you ask me, this makes those who would point to Leviticus as a source of modern-day morality look even more foolish. Not only are these barbaric edicts thoroughly irrelevant to modern culture, the book itself is a story about how these laws were given to a desert tribe that lived thousands of years ago. The reader isn’t even being addressed directly. Anyway, that’s it for now. Check back soon for my take on the Book of Numb3rs.