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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Prawn cocktail, anyone?

Something called the Leviticus Challenge is being recirculated on the Internet, apparently. I’ve seen it before, but I still find it amusing and an obvious challenge to Bible literalists (read idiots).

We’ve all wondered why, if homosexuality is such an abomination and must not be tolerated, it’s OK to eat shellfish and wear clothes made of two different fibres. The laws in Leviticus forbid all of this, but people who condemn gays will continue to eat prawn cocktail while wearing cotton/polyester shirts.

The Challenge comes in a letter, written in 1999, to Dr Laura Schlessinger, described as a psychologist and outspoken New York talk-radio talk-show host (a rent-a-gob, it seems, who fails as a psychologist if she puts her religious prejudices before her patients, as we can only assume she does when she claims that homosexuality is an abomination).

She claimed that Leviticus 18:22 cannot be condoned under any circumstances, so the letter to her containing the Challenge – a letter that has so far, we believe, not been answered – reads thus (enjoy!):

Dear Dr Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

However, I do need some advice from you regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them.

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour unto the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. Lev 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are bought from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

4. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev 11:10 – it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

6. Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

8. I know from Lev 11:6–8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev 24:10–16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Over to you, Laura!

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