Can Someone Clear This Up?

I don’t know that this is a recent source of confusion for me or not, or just maybe it is just coming back to the surface now that same-sex marriage is in the news so much.  Who knows, maybe the Supreme Court will do the right thing and strike down both California’s Prop 8 and the federal government’s DOMA, but that is not what has me confused.

What has me confused is the argument that opponents of same-sex marriage seem to use as a fallback, especially when it cannot be proven that such marriages would “erode the institution of marriage” as we now know it.  You know, the one that is so strong that about 50% already end in divorce.  Seems like a weak foundation is already in place.

Anyway, the general fallback argument is to reference Bible passages, as if we are some sort of theocracy.  In particular, those against same-sex marriage cite Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (source)  This is where my confusion starts to set in.  I am no Biblical Scholar, pastor, or priest, but I do know that Leviticus is in the Old Testament.  With that knowledge in hand, I then assume that people who use this passage as a reason believe that all Old Testament laws should be followed; often, I am corrected and told that the New Testament supercedes the Old Testament.  Talk about confusing.

To briefly recap, the Old Testament says that homosexuality as an “abomination,” thus same-sex marriage should be banned.  But, where the Old Testament says, for example that people should not eat shellfish (Leviticus 11:10 “And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you”), that was erased by the New Testament.  Strange.

Maybe it is my “if, then” kind of thinking, or maybe it is because I don’t necessarily see how people can just randomly pick and choose which Biblical laws are to be followed, but I see it as having to be one way or the other.  If you want to use the Old Testament for one thing (homosexualilty), then you must for everything else (including shellfish).  Likewise, if you want to use the New Testament when it comes to shellfish, then you cannot quote Old Testament in opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  That is just basic common sense to me.

As I often do, I read a lot of article online, especially when the subject is controversial.  Same-sex marriage is pretty controversial.  I like to read the comments on the articles because, while the tone of the article will vary based on what site I am on, the comments, when on an article hosted on a news site (NBC, CBS, CNN, etc.), tend to really give me insight as to what people really think about the subject at hand (although sometimes the comments become nothing more than playground name-calling).  I would like to share a comment I read on an article about same-sex marriage (I apologize for not having linked to the article as well) where the commenter responds to someone who used Leviticus 18:22 as their argument against same-sex marriage:

"Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. When someone tries to defend thehomosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advicefrom you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to followthem: When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates apleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claimthe odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them? I would like to sell mydaughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, whatdo you think would be a fair price for her? I know that I am allowed no contactwith a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women takeoffense. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male andfemale, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mineclaims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Whycan't I own Canadians? I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated tokill him myself? A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is anabomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. Idon't agree. Can you settle this? Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach thealtar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wearreading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle roomhere? Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair aroundtheir temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. Howshould they die?I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes meunclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? My uncle has a farm.He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, asdoes 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 itreally necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole towntogether to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death ata 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 amconfident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging."

I thought that this commenter, while obviously sarcastic in their tone, did a nice job in pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of the argument presented by another commenter.

 

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