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View Diary: It Doesn't Matter What the Bible says About Homosexuality (287 comments)

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  •  The only way to deal with it is (12+ / 0-)

    to remember history.

    The Bible said women couldn't vote, or own property, or work outside the home.

    The Bible said slavery was acceptable.

    The Bible said black people were inferior

    The Bible said to burn witches.

    Ignorant hateful people have used the book to buttress their hate, fear, and bigotry since it was first written.  Bible, Koran, Torah - whatever the book is called, it can be used to justify whatever you choose.

    That's not going to change, being angry about it won't stop it.

    What stops it is people of good conscience doing what's right, without violence, without rage, without stooping to their level.

    I just enjoy pointing out that pagan me knows more about their book than they do.  It's petty, maybe, but it also may send one person back to that book to see what's really there.

    What impact does "abomination" have, after all, when it's applied to mixing linen and wool AND to men lying with men as with a woman?

    If you're serious about your book, that might make you wonder.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sun May 13, 2012 at 08:53:00 PM PDT

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    •  No (6+ / 0-)

      The way to deal with it is to keep the wall between church and state... period.

      As to ignorant and hateful people doing cruel and inhuman things to others... do keep in mind history... and remember that evil has been done in the name of religion... politics... and simply greed.

      Whether it is a Pope doing a crusade or a pogrom because he thinks God wills it... or Mao shaking his little red book... or Stalin killing for the good of the proletariat... it makes little difference and that might make you wonder...

      I always remember three quotes from Mahatma Gandhi:

      "What does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
      "When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always."
      “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
      If hatred is what you carry in your heart and in your mind... it is a poison that will corrupt everything you touch in this life.
    •  what what WHAAAAT? (4+ / 0-)
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      sandbox, Tuscarora, Flint, davis90

      1. No it doesn't.  In fact the woman who owns property and her own business is praised in Psalms.

      2. Not slavery in perpetuity it doesn't.  More like indentured servitude for 7 years or the Jubilee year, which ever comes first.  There is an option for choosing permanent slavery - but that's another matter.  Oh and bonus membership in the tribe for life if you weren't before.  No takebacks either.

      3. It definitely doesn't say that.  It describes the people of Kush as beautiful and Shlomo HaMelech married an Ethiopian queen.  Perhaps you missed the fact that most of us have Middle Eastern heritage and as such are not white?  How about the airlifting of the Ethiopian Jewish population back to Israel when they were in danger from the war with Eritrea?  They aren't white either - they're black.

      4.  Jews who are publicly and flagrantly going to the temples of Roman and mystery cult idols and worshiping them is a far cry from you being a Pagan - Jewish or not.  Unless you are raping children, burning children or otherwise doing things the Religious Wrong only accuses you of, you are not worshiping in the capacity of the context - and it only applies if you're Jewish.  And then there are the warnings and the witnesses and all that.  So no.  Not even close.

      5. Modern rant.  Not really relevant to Judaism since you don't practice it - not your yak.

      6.  You should probably stop that, as you're full of shit - see above.

      7. Toevah - that would be the abomination you are looking for -  means you are not permitted inside the Temple areas and in some cases not permitted in the city limits at all.  Depends entirely on why and how you became toevah.  

      Wool and linen were the two offerings of Cain and Abel.  To mix the good offering with the bad is not cool for Jews. So we don't.  Except when ordered to - as the High Priest's garments have both.  

      It says don't have sex with a man in the bed of your wife.  Quite different actually.  It doesn't address lesbianism at all.  Sexual orientation is completely beside the point in Jewish culture.  

      I'm quite serious about my book.  Stop abusing it for your own issues.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Mon May 14, 2012 at 12:07:00 AM PDT

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      •  I have to be honest. I read your comment and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atana, Tennessee Dave

        thought I woke up in the wrong century. I mean really wrong century.

        Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

        by Pescadero Bill on Mon May 14, 2012 at 07:09:59 AM PDT

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      •  Not quite (6+ / 0-)

        1.  The woman of valor in Proverbs was managing her husband's wealth, not her own.  There are examples of independent businesswomen in the Bible (most notably Lydia, patron of St. Paul, who was filthy rich from the purple trade), but this is not one of them.

        2.  Again, the slaves you mention in the old priestly codes could be indentured servants for a certain period of time, but the slaves in the New Testament were enslaved under the Roman system, which was usually for life.  Regardless, the slavery passages in the pastoral letters of Paul were used to justify chattel slavery in the American South up until emancipation.

        3.  Oh yes it does, unless you have a Bible that somehow omits the "curse of Ham."  

        4.  "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" does not specify the tribal membership or ethnicity of the witch.  It was used to justify the witch craze of the Middle Ages and Counter Reformation, which killed tens of thousands of innocent Christians.

        5.  Sorry, but these codes that are being cited against same-sex marriage do come from the Hebrew Scriptures.  Whether they are being used by Christians is not relevant.

        6.  Calling someone "full of shit" furthers the cause of justice how?

        7.  Again, you are missing the point.  These passages in the Bible are being used by Christians to justify their bigotry.  Whether or not Jews interpret them the same way (which, by and large, they don't) is not relevant since most Christians (especially conservative evangelicals, who are spearheading anti-LGBT initiatives) do interpret them in the most literal sense...and you quoting the Talmud, rabbinic authorities, or Jewish scholarship will not alter their beliefs in any way, shape or form.

        OTOH, I find your comment about "sexual orientation being beside the point in Judaism" disingenuous, to say the least, given Orthodox attitudes towards same-sex relations...but that's another matter  entirely.

        •  Torah is Torah. NT is something else. (0+ / 0-)

          1, Yes, it's her wealth and her land and her businesses.  Read it in Hebrew.  She buys fields with the profits of her hands...  yeah that would be her owning it.  And owning the money of her work.  So no.  Not what you think it says.  In addition - there is a whole section of the Torah where two daughters go and demand their inheritance from Moshe as the mans daughters - and gets it.  So just no.  NT people do not have any bearing my world.  Try Rachel, Devorah, Leah, Tzipporah - actual Jewish women with power and respect then and now.

          2. "Old priestly code"?  That's the Torah.  What NT people did to their slaves is not the issue here.  Jews freed theirs after 7 years or the Jubilee year - unless they specifically requested slavery for life.  NT not relevant.

          3. The curse of Ham wasn't blackness and Christians really should stop spreading that shit.  It was a big fat mark on their heads.  A birth mark.  It was not their colour.

          4. Since it's in the Torah with only applies to Jews - yeah it does.  Jewish.  Again, the Christians a thousand years later are not the issue of the text or culture at hand.

          5. What Christians do with things they can't actually read and understand is NOT the fault of the Jewish people, culture or "religion" as you call it.  Your stealing and misusing is not our fault - it's your own.  I just happen to be really sick of it.

          6. Well, you certainly had a lot of bullshit in there, I got a little testy by that point.

          7.  YOU are missing the point.  That Christians misuse it has nothing to do with the people they stole it from.  That's on Christians - who should be called out for distorting Torah for their own ends when it has literally NOTHING to do with them.  

          It's very relevant that Jews don't read it that way - it's our freaking book.   Just because there are more of you and you like your twisted version better doesn't make us wrong to call people out on the twisted bullshit.

          As an actual orthodox Jew who is bisexual myself - I think I am in a much better position to discuss our cultural feelings on sexual orientation than you are.  Sexual orientation is irrelevant in Jewish life.  Doesn't matter.  I married a woman.  She knows I'm bi.  She also knows Torah and her matter more than getting off with a dude to me.  My actual orientation is irrelevant in my culture - my behavior is relevant.

          Just because you saw Trembling - doesn't mean you understand the complexity of our culture and people who chose to leave it or live in it differently than their parents.

          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

          by Mortifyd on Mon May 14, 2012 at 12:47:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, you are missing the point (1+ / 0-)
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            I love OCD

            The point is not what Torah scholars and the Talmud say.  The point is that Christians, who also hold these verses as sacred, interpret them in a certain way that has caused and continues to cause great harm.  You may not like it, you may not agree with it, and it may give anyone who's taken a seminary degree from a mainline institution bloody fluxes, but unfortunately that's not going to change the proof texting by bigoted Christian inerrantists.


            •  You are missing the point (1+ / 0-)
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              We don't care about what Christians think or say about books they can't read and stole.  Their view is completely irrelevant as NONE of it applies to them in the first place.

              They may think it does.  They may try and force it on all of us.  But that in no way makes a difference that they stole it or can't read it.

              I find it fascinating that Christians have no self awareness when it comes to the fact they need to misinterpret Torah intentionally to prop up their beliefs.  I find it equally fascinating that you will make excuses for it and continue to promote understanding of their twisted position rather than admit they are fucked up and just plain wrong.

              Christians and their apologists have this blindness about how their interpretations MUST be the correct ones and people politely ignore facts - and I just refuse to let that slide.  

              Torah is right for Jews.  That you accept parts of it as truth is nice - but irrelevant.  Torah is for Jews, by Jews, to Jews, about Jews and being Jewy Jewy Jews.  That is the purpose of Torah.  Not a Jew?  Not yours.

              And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

              by Mortifyd on Mon May 14, 2012 at 02:54:22 PM PDT

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              •  So... you're a religious person who is firmly (0+ / 0-)

                convinced that yours is the true religion and all others are false?

                You are aware that this very attitude has caused a few minor problems throughout history, are you not?

                'Betting against Facebook since 2012'

                by VictorLaszlo on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:19:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  not at all actually (1+ / 0-)
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                  I'm a thoroughly modern man who believes in evolution, G-d as at best an abstract concept and firmly support gay marriage.

                  I just happen to be very proud of my heritage and choose to keep the mitvos because I can - being Jewish and all.  It is my inheritance and I cherish it deeply.  But I didn't throw out my brain because I put on a pair of tefillin and a black hat.

                  True or false doesn't matter to me in the slightest in terms of theology.  Using my Torah to prop up abuse, lies and distortions does very much.  Christians lie about Torah text, cultural context and insist it is literally true - but not right since they weren't included.  That's a theology problem not of my making, not of my concern and as I can read Hebrew - makes no sense.

                  Most of us don't consider it to be literally true - but it's ours, that much we all agree on.  It is the myths and longings and stories of our ancestors.  It is our heritage and the key to our identity as Jews, whether we are orthodox or completely secular atheists or somewhere inbetween.

                  Christian abuse and projection is something I have no stomach for anymore.  Someone has to point out they are standing on sand because they can't read.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:32:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well said... (1+ / 0-)
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                    A powerful statement... and true.

                    Most Christians are too lazy to even go back to the original Greek to study their own texts or study the culture from which it came.

                    That is a pity as there are no some really great on-line  concordances now available that can take them into the Greek translations as well as cultural anthropologist commentaries to help discern the context.

                    In stead they rely on "New Translations" which usually are dumbed down versions written by the hands of lesser men with little spiritual insight and frequently one hell of a social agenda.

                    And truth be known... few ever read those beyond pulling a few choice lines out of context to hurl at someone.

              •  First, I'm not a Christian (0+ / 0-)

                I'm a Unitarian Universalist, and I agree that the fundamentalists are distorting the Hebrew Scriptures in their campaign again LGBT Americans.

                HOWEVER - Jews objecting to this is not going to stop one single fundamentalist from cherry picking Leviticus and using it as a club against others.  THAT is what I was saying.  I certainly don't agree with this, so please don't act as if I do, but acting proprietary about the Torah is not going to make any difference when fundamentalist Christians are so prominent in the discourse on this subject.

                •  whatever you are (0+ / 0-)

                  if you know they are doing it and give lip service to their delusions as normal and "proper" translation and understanding - then YOU are part of the problem whether you think you are or not.

                  You demand I yell louder they stop while insisting it won't make a difference - pick a position please?  I think you are just comfortable with the mythos and don't want to examine it in the context of where it came from or deal with the discomfort yourself, much less society wide.

                  Christian or not.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Tue May 15, 2012 at 05:09:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  For what it is worth (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xanthippe2, createpeace
          These passages in the Bible are being used by Christians to justify their bigotry.  Whether or not Jews interpret them the same way (which, by and large, they don't) is not relevant since most Christians (especially conservative evangelicals, who are spearheading anti-LGBT initiatives) do interpret them in the most literal sense...
          You need to distinguish between types of Christians... the literalist are FUNDAMENTALIST... and not all Christians are of that persuasion.  

          The other distinction that is needed in this discussion is between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The really ugly stuff is found in the Old, but the New Testament supersedes it for many Christians. The Old Testament for them is kept for historical context only.

          As for myself... I am of the Gnostic persuasion and by the standards of the mainstream and fundamentalist Christians... I am a heretic. I rely on books like the Gospel of Thomas, which is the only gospel that doesn't tell a narrative but is a collection of the saying of Jesus.

          For reference... In the Gospel of Thomas Simon Peter is rebuked by Christ who tells him that women are the equals of men.

          In point of view I am closer to Thomas Merton's "Desert Fathers" of the 4th century. They didn't like the organizational movement that Christianity had become and sought their own path through contemplative meditation and prayer in isolation.  

          In Short... I believe in the Teacher... not the organization or what I consider to be a  materialistic interpretation of scripture. For me the Old Testament is of historical interest but little else and some of the New Testament is suspect in nature too!

          •  I agree that I should have specified fundamentalis (1+ / 0-)
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            Unfortunately, they're the ones who are yelling the loudest and misusing Scripture the most.  

            •  Sadly it is the MSM... (0+ / 0-)

              I worked in Broadcasting and what they do is sell controversy... and the fundies are the most bat shit crazy ranting assholes and are always guaranteed to start a firestorm over everything!

              So who gets the most air time on the tube? Of course the fundies and they have become the face of Christianity here in America... to the detriment of the faith.

              •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
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                Most Christians don't believe their nonsense, but does, say, a UCC minister ever get airtime?  Or a Unitarian?  Or an Episcopalian?  Or even a liberal Catholic?

                One of my pet peeves:  Hartford Seminary down in Connecticut is one of the oldest seminaries in the country.  It's nondemoninational, has an excellent sociology of religion program, and boasts a long and distinguished history of interfaith relations, particularly Islam and Christianity.  They even have a training program for imams who wish to train as military chaplains.  

                If any religious institution in this country is ready, willing, and able to provide factual information about Islam, American religious thought, and megachurches, it's this one...but do Jane Smith or Efrain Agosto or Scott Thumma ever get on TV?  


                •  I know... (0+ / 0-)

                  Every time I see that jackass Tony Perkins on the tube... supposedly representing "Christian Values" I want to puke.

                  I do work with interfaith groups too and have studied with both Zen and Tibetan meditation masters. I know so many good and spiritual people in all religious traditions, but they never get seen or heard.

                  Its always what I have come to call the "Talibaptist", the extremists from every religion. Ironic isn't it... their forceful attempts to cram their faith down the throats of others is only pushing people away from their cause.

                  There is an old saying in the Soto Zen tradition:

                  "Try to create good... create evil. Try to create evil... create good."

                  Another paradox I'm still struggling to learn to live with.

      •  Lewis Black on the Old Testament! (1+ / 0-)
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      •  I think we're not on the same page. (0+ / 0-)

        It's a fact that people have used the Bible, usually vague references, to buttress their arguments.  I didn't say or intend to say that the Bible or the Torah or the Koran actually says any of those things, and I thought my point was quite clear.  I'm not arguing Torah with you, the Talmud covers that quite well enough, and makes my point - what seems to some to be very clear is argued by others over generations.

        Depending on a "Holy" Book to justify your bigotry is a fact, and an indication of how weak the fundamental argument really is.

        You seem to want to fight more than you want to accept that, historically, people tend to cull what they like out of their holy books, and use it as an excuse to do truly abominable things.

        I have no skin in the fight about whether or not the books are true.  I like what Madelaine L'Engle said about the "every word is spoken by God" people.  "When you insist it's factual, you miss the truths."  

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Tue May 15, 2012 at 09:32:46 AM PDT

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    •  I would just correct your tense. (0+ / 0-)

      The Bible still says all those things.

    •  I find it amazing (0+ / 0-)

      as a Christian that all these Christian types go into the Old Testaament for their justification  for passing law against this "abomination" or that "abomination"  
      and completely ignore Jesus who commanded us to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. The rest is gravy.
      In Acts, the non believers pointed to the Christians and are reputed to have said "See how they love one another."
      Don't think anyone is going to say this about  this  bunch.

      What do we want? Universal health care! When do we want it? Now!

      by cagernant on Sun May 20, 2012 at 04:09:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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