Part 2: In which the Elegant Bastard and “Bob” each drop their Bible Bombs
Please see Part 1 before continuing.
Bob has returned and the sin-as-choice argument has apparently not done all that well. Bob has therefore brought with him with him a variation. Simply put, if God says something is a Sin, it’s a Sin, whether or not it occurs by choice. And the Bible specifically condemns Gay sex in at least three different places. Bob waves this around like North Korea waves a nuke.
I am reasonably familiar with the Bible. I read it sporadically at Sunday school, cover to cover in university and parts of it as research in my thirties. I have great respect for it, even if I poke mild fun at some of its passages. I also have a lot of respect for those who, like Bob, make a sincere attempt to live their lives according to its teachings. However, I do not turn to it for spiritual or moral guidance. Nor would I ever insist that others do so. This is why I have difficulty accepting its contents as the sole basis for the making of laws.
Three of the bigger biblical same-sex prohibitions are those found in Genesis 19, Leviticus 19 and 1 Corinthians 6. In the first, two male angels visiting a guy called Lot are threatened with rape by a crowd of men at Lot’s door. Lot offers up his virgin daughters instead but the crowd persists in its demands. Eventually, the angels strike the potential rapists blind and the story ends. All this occurs in the city of Sodom. In this tale, Bob finds an argument against Gay sex and Marriage.
Really? The big no-no seems to be rape, or, if we examine Lot’s words, the sin of poor hospitality. Lot makes it pretty clear that he has a duty to care for guests. And besides, if this is intended as a moral lesson to us all, it does seem to be giving us permission to use our sisters and daughters – our virgin sisters and daughters – as gifts to visiting mobs! Wrap ‘em in some tissue, stick a bow on ‘em and write “For You All” on the tag. (We have no idea what the return policy would be in this case.)
Bob, we will have to assume that Dear Reader’s stunned silence at this point indicates a less than thrilled response to this variation on neighbourly sharing, so let’s turn to Leviticus, who writes, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination.” [i] That seems pretty clear. Two things, however, do give us pause. First, we have to wonder what kind of strange folk Leviticus is dealing with because in the nearby pages, he feels it’s necessary to tell them that they can’t “uncover the nakedness” of, among others, their fathers, their mothers, their aunts, their uncles, their nephews and their daughters. He goes on to ban both men and women from having sex with goats, cows, and camels. I mean, who are these people?
The second and far more important issue is the range of other restrictions Leviticus lays down. Among them is a prohibition against eating the flesh of the swine that “cheweth not its cud” even if it has a cloven hoof. Bob, think for a minute. He’s talking about pork! Bar B Que! Ribs! That pulled sandwich you so love. The roadside dinner destination of millions of ravenous middle-Americans.
And please, won’t someone think of the bacon!
So essentially, it comes down to this. If we enforce a Bible based ban on Gay Marriage, we are also going to have to give up eating any and all forms of pork, uncovering all that nakedness, and looking lasciviously at domestic animals. If, as you say, things banned in the Bible are Sins, Bob, then everything banned in the Bible is a Sin. If it makes you feel any better, Leviticus allows you to eat locusts (but not shrimp, scallops or lobsters, with or without garlic butter.) And by the way, he also bans gossip.
The bit in Corinthians is also going to force Bob to make an inconvenient choice. Here we find a list of those who will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s a pretty long list. Yes, it includes those who “abuse themselves with mankind”. This likely means those who have Gay sex. I suppose I could argue that it includes anyone who plays tackle football, hockey or rugby! I mean if those aren’t examples of “self abuse with mankind”, what is? However, I would be kidding.
My real issue is the rest of the “excluded” list. Right there in first place are the “fornicators”, followed by thieves, drunks, those who covet and a few more. Fornicators, Bob! This includes anyone who had sex before marriage as well as those who marry and then commit adultery. According to USA Today, almost all Americans have had premarital sex! [ii] And if our past or present sex crimes don’t get us, how about cheating on a tax return, drinking one too many beer one too many times, wanting anything that is our neighbour’s or even feeling lust in an improper fashion. (Apparently the kinky stuff is a sin even if it happens within a marriage!) I don’t even want to begin to think about Heaven’s opinion on internet porn.
So is self abuse with mankind the bad one because it’s the one you don’t do and the rest are just naughty examples of boys being boys? I don’t think that’s the way it works! The problem with using the Bible as a rule book, Bob (and as I said earlier I have no real issue with that idea) is this notion of consistency. You can’t just pick and choose what is and is not a Sin and for whom. And if you feel you can, then we really aren’t dealing with the Bible.
We are dealing with the Boble.
Let’s consider two further Bible related points here. We need to keep in mind that the Commandments begin with “Thou” either stated or implied. For example, “Thou shalt not kill.” or (Thou shalt) “Honour thy father and thy mother.” No Commandment begins “Other people shall not … .” Thus, while a concern for the holiness of neighbours may be touching, it isn’t what the Bible’s going on about. No one is going to be denied the Kingdom of Heaven because the neighbours sinned. If that were so, no one would live within 100 miles of a Kardashian. No, that Divine Finger is pointing at you, Bob, so do let’s be careful. We don’t want another Sodom here, now do we?
And if your primary motive is less the holiness of others and more their pain, God doesn’t really need help there either. I mean this is the deity who managed to come up with great floods, columns of fire and assorted plagues without our help.
Let’s end today’s letter with a new but key point. Assume you and Bobawa have invited the neighbours over for a dinner celebrating your anniversary. We all arrive bearing small wrapped gifts. Conversation begins. You mention your first apartment. We ask what the sex was like there and did you “do it” on the balcony. You go on to speak adoringly of the birth of your two children. We ask for details about their conception. You reminisce about family vacations over the years. We want to know if you had sex in all the hotel rooms or just in those with three stars. You then unwrap our presents and discover that everyone has brought you condoms, albeit in different colours and several flavours.
At that point, you would (I hope) – with righteous and justifiable anger – demand we all take our filthy and sex-obsessed imaginations out of your nice clean house.
My point, Bob, is simply this. The issue being discussed is Gay Marriage and every argument you have raised has to do with sex. And since you undoubtedly would agree that you are married to Bobawa even on those days when you do not have sex, we must assume that there is more to marriage than sex. That being so, perhaps in part three of this letter we could move on?
Cheers for now, Bob.
The last part will be posted on Friday.