Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Fun With Bible Quotes, Part 67

The other day I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine about politics. And of course, what mixes better with politics than religion? There was a mention of the stances of various presidential candidates with regards to homosexuality, and I said that in Leviticus it states that if a man lies with another man as he lies with a woman, it is an abomination and he should be stoned to death.

It turns out that I was wrong…


Being the naturally curious (if not compulsive) character that I am, I went and looked it up. Here is the actual quote from LEV 20:13 (King James Version):

“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.”

While it is true that stoning was a popular means of execution in those days, the Bible does not require this. Apparently it would be just as good if you were to shoot them, stab them, impale them on spears, throw them to the lions, poison them, drown them, suffocate them, feed them to sharks, toss them from a cliff, electrocute them, drop them from an airplane, soak them with gasoline and set them on fire, or lock them in a room filled with very hungry, rabid rats. The important thing is that you kill them. It’s good to know that the Bible is so open-minded about these sorts of things.

In any case, while looking up the passage I was reminded of some other great tidbits in Leviticus and elsewhere. For example:

You can’t sleep with a woman and her mother. The punishment is death by fire for all three. (LEV 20:14) It doesn’t explicitly require a three-way so perhaps you get a bonus stoning for that. The ancients weren’t kidding when they spoke of “hot sex”.

You can’t eat calamari, clams, oysters, shrimp, etc. It’s an abomination, although no punishment is specified. (LEV 11:10) Therefore, God hates raw bars and half the people in Red Lobster.

You can’t wear clothing made out of multiple materials, such as a jacket made of wool and linen. It’s an abomination (Deuteronomy 22:11). Apparently God has a very strict fashion sense.

I did find something that requires stoning. DEUT 22:23-24 states that if a man has consensual sex in the city with a woman who is engaged (not married) to another, they must be stoned to death. Apparently, if you meet her at a seaside resort or while on a ski vacation, that would be OK. I assume this is an early version of “What happens in Vegas stays in
Vegas”.

If the woman is not engaged, then you have to marry her and give her father 50 Shekels of silver, but only if you’re caught. (DEUT 22:28-29) Therefore, being sneaky is a virtue.

DEUT 22:10 warns that you shouldn’t plow with an ox and a mule together. This is a little vague. I’m not sure if they mean simultaneously or sequentially. Maybe you can plow one part with the ox and another with the mule, or the mule one season and the ox the next, and you just can’t place them on the same yoke at the same time. In modern times this would be kind of like putting studded snow tires on the passenger’s side of your car and slick racing tires on the driver side. It’s pretty obvious that during the winter you’re going to be turning left a lot, unintentionally. This would be a pretty stupid thing to do and a tad obvious perhaps, so maybe they were dealing with a relatively dim crowd.

Oh well.

Comments

  1. #1 mgordon
    January 30, 2008

    And of course, what mixes better with politics than religion?

    I’ve found that booze works well.

  2. #2 Gwenny
    January 30, 2008

    Yes. The shedding of the blood seems to very symbolic. Blood was, according to the Bible, the Life.

    Lev 17:14 For [it is] the life of all flesh; the blood of it [is] for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh [is] the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

    Some modern religions still believe this. The Mormons still consider some sins so heinous that only the shedding of the sinner’s blood can atone, since the sin is not covered by Jesus’s atonement.

    Brigham Young said, There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants.

    Death by firing squad was one form in which the death penalty was executed until 1996 when, with the permission of the LDS Church, the state of Utah banned the firing squad.

    Just some trivia.

  3. #3 John McKay
    January 30, 2008

    Sex mixes well (or at least entertainingly) with politics and religion.

  4. #4 Norm
    January 30, 2008

    With regards to the clothing of mixed material. I’m pretty sure they were referring to tweed jackets with leather elbow pads. Still an abomination after all these centuries, and more worthy of a stoning than any of those other activities.

  5. #5 Erp
    January 30, 2008

    I think a lot of the Bible was against mixing things hence no linen/wool cloth, no plowing with ox/mule combos, no planting fields with two different grains, women wearing men’s clothing and vice versa, etc.

    I wonder whether the sex in the city versus sex in the countryside had to do with cases where they weren’t sure whether it was forced or consensual. In the city unless otherwise proven it was assumed consensual. In the countryside it was assumed to be forced. Note the woman being considered guiltless in some cases might have been an improvement on some cultures (including some modern ones) where the woman was put to death (or expected to kill herself) no matter whether it was consensual or not. Admittedly having to marry your rapist as would happen wasn’t good (this btw still happens (or did within the last 10 years) in Peru and some other South and Central American countries where a rapist can get off if he marries the victim [who often face family pressure to marry because she is no longer a virgin]). Note that within my lifetime ‘marital rape’ was an oxymoron in the USA (it was not a crime in any state until 1975).

  6. #6 JimFiore
    January 30, 2008

    Erp,
    I’m sure the city bit has to do with it being consensual because the next verse talks about being in the country and in spite of the woman shouting, no one’s there to help her (she doesn’t get executed in this case). But really, the issue here is that there is a death penalty for a *consensual act* that doesn’t directly impact others. Some might argue that it does impact others indirectly, but if a woman decides to have sex with someone else and break off her engagement, does she deserve death?

  7. #7 natural cynic
    January 31, 2008

    But really, the issue here is that there is a death penalty for a *consensual act* that doesn’t directly impact others. Some might argue that it does impact others indirectly, but if a woman decides to have sex with someone else and break off her engagement, does she deserve death?

    Ah, but in those times it was a crime against her father and her brothers – a property crime.

  8. #8 Mark P
    January 31, 2008

    “… maybe they were dealing with a relatively dim crowd.”

    I think the readers of the time were fairly up on stuff like that, but the writers knew today’s readers would be total, complete, absolute, 100 percent idiots. Plus, it was a big joke. They were trying to see just how gullible today’s readers would be. It looks like it was no joking matter.

  9. #9 Erp
    February 1, 2008

    Oh I quite agree that someone should not be put to death for a mutually consensual act. However some of the cultures then and now didn’t even considered being a victim of non-consensual act as exempting you from the penalty of death for no longer being a virgin. In that sense the Biblical laws were a bit better though it probably depended on who did the interpretation.

  10. #10 Wes
    February 4, 2008

    I did find something that requires stoning. DEUT 22:23-24 states that if a man has consensual sex in the city with a woman who is engaged (not married) to another, they must be stoned to death. Apparently, if you meet her at a seaside resort or while on a ski vacation, that would be OK. I assume this is an early version of “What happens in Vegas stays in
    Vegas”.

    Actually, that’s not exactly what Deuteronomy 22:23-24 says…

    Deuteronomy 22:23-24 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death–the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

    Deuteronomy 22:23-24 says that a victim of rape should be put to death for not crying out. It’s “consensual” as long as she doesn’t scream, apparently.

  11. #11 JimFiore
    February 4, 2008

    Wes, I think that’s a tad too literal. The following verse mentions being in the country and crying out but having no one there to hear and lend aid. Perhaps I am being generous, but it seems to me that “not crying out” in this case is taken to mean that it is consensual. I’m not going to get into an argument about what happens if she’s raped in town with a rag stuffed into her mouth because even being generous with the interpretation, the result is still hideous.

  12. #12 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 8, 2008

    You can’t eat calamari, clams, oysters, shrimp, etc. It’s an abomination, although no punishment is specified. (LEV 11:10) Therefore, God hates raw bars and half the people in Red Lobster.

    God Hates Shrimp

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