Take a second out of your day to spare a thought for those who live according to the dictates of the book of Leviticus. Life is tough for those righteous few, who have decided that Leviticus is a book for all times, rather than a mythical tribe of Moses centuries back. We may only ever notice them for their incessant use of chapter 18 Verse 22 of Leviticus, to justify oppressing the fundamental rights of same-sex couples. But we must assume from this passionate plea, that their demands for strict adherence to Leviticus 18:22 is just one part of their complete adherence to the entire book of Leviticus, otherwise they’d simply be inconsistent, and surely that can’t be the case.
A typical day for a follower of Leviticus starts with breakfast. The same as all of us, except he must provide a salt offering to God, as demanded in Leviticus 2:13:
“Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.”
– We can be sure that all those who use Leviticus 18:22 to oppose gay rights, without fail provide a grain offering to God, laden with salt. If not, we must reasonably conclude that they should be banned from marriage, to protect our children from their immorality.
There is another clause; breakfast laden with salt cannot include fatty foods. No bacon. No sausage (pork is strictly forbidden anyway). Leviticus strictly forbids the eating of fatty foods, as noted in Leviticus 3:17:
“This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.”
– In fact, this is one of the only quotes from Leviticus that tells us it is a rule that is for generations to come. Which in turn suggests the other rules – such as Leviticus 18:22 – were not meant for those other than the generation of Israelites with Moses, at that moment in time. But 3:17 is absolutely meant for future generations. No fat foods. We can therefore assume that all those who use Leviticus 18:22 in opposition to gay rights, do not frequent fast food restaurants, and stay away from all meat. In fact, anyone who does eat fatty foods, should not be allowed to marry, for they are an abomination, lacking the correct morals as set out by the Lord.
After breakfast, the follower of Leviticus may then go to Church. He goes alone this time. Usually he would be accompanied by his wife, but yesterday she gave birth to a baby girl, and so she must not under any circumstances go to Church for 66 days:
“….she shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean for two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall remain in the blood of her purification for sixty-six days. When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.”
– The Churches of America must be full of new mothers on the Christian-right bringing a lamb and a pigeon to the Priest to be set on fire.
During her 66 days of being unclean, she notices that she has a bit of a swollen area on her body that she’s not too sure about. It’s brighter than the surrounding skin, and very worrying. Naturally, a doctor might be a good option right now, but not for this lady. For she is a follower of Leviticus! And only one man is qualified to deal with someone with a light swollen patch on skin:
“3 The priest is to examine the sore on the skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling skin disease. When the priest examines that person, he shall pronounce them ceremonially unclean. 4 If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days.”
– That’s right. Any unnaturally bright swelling on the body, can only be sorted by a Priest locking her away for a week. Being locked away gives her time to go through her wardrobe, to ensure there are no garments of mixed materials:
“Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.”
– We must assume that all of those opposed to gay marriage due to Leviticus 18:22, strictly adhere to the command banning them from wearing garments with mixed materials, and wish to ensure that the state bans the sale of garments of mixed materials, for the sake of preserving the moral fabric of the nation. Consistency.
Whilst the new mum is preparing a lamb to be burnt by the priest at the end of her 66 days of being unclean, and her further week locked away for being ill, her husband is now back at home making sure his beard and hair are growing out nicely, as stated in Leviticus 19:27:
“Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.”
– This seems a pretty straight forward commandment. Do not cut your hair at the sides of your head, or clip the edges of your beard. There’s no ambiguity there. God does not like clipped beards, or cut hair. Naturally this further means that those with unclipped beards and uncut hair have the privileged right to decide whether or not to grant those without beards and with cut hair, equal rights. Such is the nature of presumed biblically ordained supremacy and privilege, even within secular systems. So imagine my surprise when anti-gay columnist for The Blaze, Matt Barber – as well as all the people tweeting in the tweets at the top of this article – appears to be remarkably well groomed for someone who puts so much emphasis on the commands of Leviticus:
– I’m sure I must have just misunderstood the situation. Perhaps Matt Barber’s hair and beard are naturally that way, and he has in fact not in any way cut the hair at the sides of his head or clipped off the edges of his beard. Because that would be inconsistent. And we’d have to ban him from marriage, for upsetting the Lord and being a moral deviant. Matt Barber wouldn’t do that. Matt Barber is a follower of Leviticus.
Life gets even more complicated if the follower of Leviticus happens to be sat down on a chair at the same time as an elderly person walks by. According to rules, the follower of Leviticus must always stand up whenever an elderly person is near by:
“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.”
– After standing up anytime an elderly person is close by, the follower of Leviticus spends time writing to their Representative in Congress in the hope of persuading them to oppose gay marriage. An elderly person walks by. The follower of Leviticus stops his writing, and stands up… the elderly person has gone, so the follower of Leviticus can now sit down and carr… another elderly person walks by. After several times sitting and standing, the follower of Leviticus manages to get a second or two before the next elderly person appears, to pen his letter to his Representative. Alongside banning gay marriage, the letter also demands the Representative push to overturn the entire judicial system, and replace it with punishment-in-kind justice, as sanctioned in Leviticus 24:17-21:
“17 Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death. 18 Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution—life for life. 19 Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.”
– From this command, we can reasonably assume that all of those members of Congress, or members of state legislatures, that have ever cited Leviticus 18:22 for their opposition to homosexuality in general, and their desire to enforce that Biblical prejudice into secular law, also wish to overturn the entire justice system and replace it with a form of justice demanded by God in Leviticus 24:17-21. This brand of Biblical justice includes the death penalty for adultery, as commanded in Leviticus 20:10. If those Representatives do not push for this complete overhaul of the justice system, including the death penalty for adultery, we may be forced to conclude that their inconsistent use of Leviticus when it pertains to homosexuality, would seem to suggest nothing more than anti-gay bigotry.
A few years ago, the follower of Leviticus was on a bad path in life. He was a thief, and ended up in prison several times. He served his time under the secular law, and is now out of prison, and a reformed man. He’s a born again Christian, and follows Leviticus often citing 18:22 as reason enough for the secular state to ban gay marriage. And so for the sake of consistency, he now realises he has to pay the Biblical price for theft, according to Leviticus 6:5-10:
“5. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering. 6 And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7 In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.
8 The LORD said to Moses: 9 “Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. 10 The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar.”
– It’s around 3pm in the afternoon when the reformed criminal leaves a ram with the local Priest to sacrifice upon an altar the next morning with a raging fire, whilst wearing linen clothes. The follower of Leviticus and the Priest are sat down. An elderly man walks past. Both the follower and the Priest stand up abruptly, so to please the Lord. The Priest spends much of his day dealing with animals on fire from new mothers, and ex-convicts. But that’s the price for following Leviticus word for word, as they absolutely all do!
It is now time for dinner. The follower of Leviticus is a farmer, and their food is all from their own farm. Dinner time is a stressful time in the Leviticus household. After the animal has been slaughtered, any trace of fat must be extracted immediately. Though the follower of Leviticus have already left two dead animals for the priest at the church that day, the book of Leviticus demands that once an animal has been slaughtered, the one who slaughtered it must take it to the church as an offering to the Lord:
“Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people, 5 to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to the Lord.”
– American Christian-right farmers must be queuing up every night outside of the church to offer their slaughtered livestock to the Lord as a peace offering. But this is how life is if you follow Leviticus word for word.
So you see, living strictly according to the dictates of Leviticus – as those who continually make use of 18:22 to pronounce their opposition to homosexuality, must do – is a very difficult life of moral piety. Perhaps we should cut them some slack. They’re far too busy taking dead animals to be set on fire at church every day, standing up every time an elderly person walks past, offering salt to God with every meal, and trying to reinvent the entire justice system, to spend time educating themselves on the perfectly natural spectrum of sexuality.