Christian Hypocrisy and the Wacky Laws of Leviticus

Christian Brothers High School, an all-male Catholic high school in Memphis, Tennessee, stole the limelight from Kim Davis yesterday when news broke that it had denied a gay, male senior’s request to bring a male date from another school to the CBHS’s homecoming dance.  The male student accused the school of anti-gay discrimination, while the school claimed it’s simply following policy and that previous allowances for the student and his male date were in violation of the rules.

The rule is as follows: “CBHS students may attend the dance by themselves, with other CBHS students, or with a girl from another school. For logistical reasons, boys from other schools may not attend.”

Pretty cut and dry – no boys from other schools.  It’s hard to say what intentions were truly behind the phrasing and exclusions of that rule, but it’s a regulation that can be found in various forms at many school.

Further, unlike Kim Davis, Christian Brothers High School is a private entity and, as such, it can do as it pleases with its membership and the rules set forth for its membership.  When I say that the Catholic Church is private, we’ll ignore the fact that the church and its charities have received $1.6 billion from the U.S. government since 2012.  Yes, billion with a “b.”

The school is free to do as it pleases, even if it wishes to draw the ire of gay rights activists and those on the left.

Deeply troubling, however, is that many cries of support for the school are not based on the legal privacy of the school or the clear and long-standing rule the school is enforcing.  Rather, people are claiming that the school must disallow homosexual behavior to maintain its piousness and its adherence to the Bible.  This is where the hypocrisy comes in.

Leviticus 18:22 states “You shall not lie with a man, as with a woman. That is detestable.”

Leviticus 20:13 states “If a man lies with a male, as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

The biblical admonition against homosexuality is clear, and Christians who claim that homosexuality is strictly forbidden in the Bible are correct.  However, let’s take a look at some of the other laws that these two passages are found among.

Leviticus 19:33-34 says “If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.”  The good Christian xenophobes of the GOP must not have learned those verses in Bible study.

Leviticus 19:28 instructs us, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you. I am Yahweh.”  Millions of Christians are tattooed and most women have piercings.  It’s laughable (not to mention rare) when someone objects to tattoos or piercings from a biblical perspective.

Leviticus 19:27 warns, “You shall not cut the hair on the sides of your heads, neither shall you clip off the edge of your beard.”  Orthodox Jews follow this, but that’s about it.  Where are the hairy Christians rallying against the clean-shaven?

Leviticus 19:23 states “When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. Three years shall they be forbidden to you. It shall not be eaten.”  Don’t eat that young fruit!  (In the fourth year the fruit is holy and in the fifth year it’s permissible to consume the fruit, Lev 19:24-25)

But the rules get even stranger than this.

Leviticus 19:19 outlaws the wearing of clothing made from mixed fabrics, which in modern times is most of the clothing in the Western world.

Leviticus 9:10 outlaws the consumption of shellfish.

Leviticus 15:19-20 says that Christians need to exile women for the course of their menstrual discharge period.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12 says a man must cut off the hand of his wife if she grabs him by the genitals while he’s fighting another man.

Ephesians 6:5 instructs slaves to serve their masters “as [they] would serve Christ.”

Leviticus 25:44-46 explains how slaves must be men, women, and children of foreign descent and that they’re to be passed down as inheritance.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 instructs parents of a consistently unruly child to drag their child to the center of town and command the town to stone the child to death.

Leviticus 21:17-23 states that a man with unsightly physical characteristics, injuries, deformities, or illnesses cannot be recognized or loved by God, nor enter his kingdom, because “he hath blemish.”

Ephesians 5:4 outlaws joking, obscenity, and “coarse talking.”

Leviticus and other books of the First Testament are packed with hundreds of wacky, outlandish, and unabashedly savage laws which no one takes seriously today.  Except for the two verses that outlaw homosexuality.  Those two are touchstones for piousness in modern conservative Christianity.

Undoubtedly, Christian Brothers High School is full of students and teachers who wear clothing of mixed fabrics (their uniforms probably are most likely cotton/polyester mixes), who eat shellfish, who may have tattoos, who may have piercings, who have not killed their unruly children, who do shave and cut their hair, who do not own slaves, who do not exile women during their menstrual period, and who do eat fruit from young trees.  A few of them have probably cursed and engaged in “course talking.”

So how exactly is it that people believe that homosexual behavior needs to be squashed in adherence to the Bible when Christians have already trampled all over the Bible?  Simple: hypocrisy and ignorance.

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