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
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.