Sunday, July 14, 2013

Leviticus and Gay Marriage

Gay marriage.  For the past decade, it's been a hot topic in the news, and it seems everyone has an opinion.  Even children as young as 9 and 10 are speaking out on the issue.  People have discussed and debated, and it seems a new state legalizes it every year.  I am not the first to speak of it and I surely won't be the last.  Despite there being many reasons for people to oppose same sex marriage, today I will be addressing the one that most of my family tends to stick to: religion.

If you know anything about me, you know I grew up in a Christian household, and am a Christian myself.  I never went to church much, as my parents never thought they fit in anywhere (though I think they're just picky - traditional music?  Good luck).  Despite that however, my family has visited numerous churches, and I have to say that a majority of the people there oppose gay marriage, including my parents and brother.

Why?

Well, the argument I hear the most comes straight from the Bible, and the most popular verse on the issue is located in Leviticus 20:13

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.  They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

There are other verses that supposedly address homosexuality, but for the sake of argument, I will reference this one.  As you can see above, the verse is very clear in what it says and leaves little room for false interpretation.  People have used it to defend bigotry for years, and despite the rise in LGBT supporters, they still cling to these feeble defenses.

Let's start with the location of this verse: The Old Testament, Book of Leviticus.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Bible, The Old Testament was written before Jesus was born and sacrificed himself for our sins, which many Christians use to justify some of the laws that they do not follow today.  Leviticus is mainly about the Levites - a group of Priests - and the laws they needed to learn in order to do their jobs correctly.  Leviticus reads like a rule book, of sorts.  Among these laws is a verse about homosexuality, written above.

If you ask a Christian about Leviticus, they will probably avoid your questioning.  My mother told me to read the New Testament, as it is more relevant to our lives today.  She told me Leviticus was "a little extreme".  Actually reading most of Leviticus, I can see that this is an understatement.  Among the endless rules:

"Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed." (Leviticus 20:9)

"If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be 'cut off from their people'"(Leviticus 20:18)

"No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed" (Leviticus 21:18)

Not to mention the verses about mixing fabrics and eating bacon.  Understand that I am in no way bashing the Bible, as I am a Christian, but clearly,  Leviticus is not followed in today's society even by the most religious of people.  How many church goers do you know that are divorced?  The Bible speaks out just as - if not more - strongly against divorce, and yet people think nothing of it.

So why decide to follow one verse, but not the rest of Leviticus?  I have no idea.  Do people just think it's fun to pick on Gays?  This will always be a mystery to me.  Religion gets more confusing every day, and I will never truly understand it all.  I admit, I don't follow most of the Bible and I don't go around praying for everything I do "wrong".

What I want to get across in this post is that if you are religious, and if you oppose gay marriage for the reasons listed above, you are a bigoted hypocrite.  It may sound harsh, but that is my opinion and always will be.

You CANNOT use Leviticus to justify homophobia.  You CANNOT pick and choose from the Bible just because you fear what you may find in the rest.  To those of you who stand by me in wanting same sex marriage legalized, bless you.  It's people like you that force me to cling to faith in humanity.