by Lisa Brewer
Many of my gay friends (who haven't commented on my experiment yet) probably shudder at the word Leviticus whenever they see it mentioned on Facebook. Why is that, do you suppose? Could it be those two damning verses?:
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." Lev 18:22 (NKJV)
"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." Lev 20:13 (NKJV)
We Christians and Jews share this book of Leviticus in our bibles. Now, someone correct me if I have a mistaken impressions, but I will tell you what I see. I see some Christians holding up these verses to judge and hate. I have not met any Jewish people in my walk who have this strong desire to judge and hate gay people. But maybe it's because I haven't met any conservative Jews who might do this. (Why is that??)
I asked two Jewish friends about this today. Jewish Friend #1 said that there are all different strains of Jews just as with Christians and the conservative Jews do read this very literally and take a strong position. However, he admitted upon my badgering questioning that there are likely a smaller proportion of Jews who are conservative than there are Christians who are conservative.
Jewish Friend #2 quoted Jim Wallis to me!! Tonight, I pulled out my study materials from the Crown Financial course (written by Howard Dayton and not Jim Wallis) and he reports that there are "2,350 verses on money and possessions" in the bible. My friend's point is - Why focus on the handful that have to do with homosexuality without giving equal consideration and weight to these thousands of verses about how we handle money and possessions and those who suffer without?
I decided to look a little more closely at this word translated "abomination." Turns out that according to Wikipedia there are a few references to abominations outside of male homosexual acts. Namely:
A shepard was an abomination.
Killing a cow was an abomination.
Cheating the market with dishonest scales was an abomination.
Eating seafood that does not have scales or fins is an abomination.
OK, what is going on here?? (BTW, all the verse references are on that Wikipedia page and I didn't even represent them all here.) Why is it that I see Christians holding signs with references to Leviticus as they protest gay marriage, but no one is doing the same with Deuteronomy outside the stock exchange??
Someone tell me if I am reading this all wrong. I know these verses are here, but we mortals have a responsibility to give weight and consideration to all the verses in scripture. Are we interpreting with the heart of the Lord when we choose some verses as more important than others?