Sunday, September 8, 2013

Christian Radio Host Says Gays Who Marry Should Die

The so-called "Christian" radio host has a name. It's a rather common name. Kevin Swanson. Mr. Swanson "believes" the Bible and if the Bible says something is a sin, and the person who commits that sin should be killed, well, that's God's word and Mr. Swanson wants to get God's word out to all people.

 In the Hebrew Bible, book of Leviticus, there are at least a couple of passages which indicate God would be displeased if a man lay with a man as with a woman. Oh, and a woman should not lay with a beast. That would make God very angry.

Mr. Swanson, having read at least one verse in the book of Leviticus (20:13), is insistent that gay people should be put to death for that is God's command. He doesn't seem to want to kill them himself but he is willing to tell them that God wants them to die so he's trying to be invited to as many gay weddings as possible so he can lay before those involved God's holy word and tell them they "have done an abhorrent thing; [that] they shall be put to death." [Mr. Swanson's version of Leviticus is a bit different than mine because he's not been reading the Jewish Bible but a Christian version of the Hebrew Bible]. In Mr. Swanson's version, gays have "committed an abomination." It's still deserving of death, though, any way you look at it.

Part of the problem comes in pronoun form. The Bible refers specifically to males. So far, at least, lesbians are off the hook.

But one must wonder why that particular verse sticks in Mr. Swanson's craw. Really. God has much more to say in that very chapter. Let's list them:

1. If you offer your child to the god, Molech, you should be stoned to death.
2. If you turn "to ghosts and familiar spirits and ... [go] ... astray after them" God will cut you off from his people.
3. If you insult your father and mother you shall be put to death.
4. If you commit adultery with a married woman both you and the woman shall be put to death.
5. If you commit incest, both involved shall be put to death.
6. If you marry a woman and her mother, the whole bunch of you will be put to death.
7. If either a man or woman has intercourse with a beast, the people and the beasts shall be put to death.

Let's go back to chapter 19 of the book of Leviticus and see what God says there.

1. You shall keep God's sabbaths. Now Sabbath refers to the 7th day which we call Saturday. I wonder if Mr. Swanson keeps God's sabbaths?
2. There are a series of commands which follow similar to the so-called 10 Commands, such as prohibitions against stealing and lying and defrauding others.
3. "You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind."
4. You shall not favor the rich and you should judge your kinsmen fairly.
5. Don't hate. "Love your fellow as yourself." (Wait, didn't Jesus say that?) Don't seek revenge.
6. Don't wear clothing which mixes two different kinds of materials. Oops!
7. Do not eat any animal with its blood. No more rare filet mignon, Mr. Swanson!
8. Do not engage in divination or soothsaying. That means most media folks are in a heap of trouble!
9. Do not, Mr. Swanson, "round off the side-growth on your head, or destroy the side-growth of your beard."
10. Do not "incise any marks on yourselves."  No tattoos!
11. You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old. I don't think you do that very well, Mr. Swanson!
12. And speaking of immigration: "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself..."

Now we're almost done, for this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of God's laws, but simply some representative samples. There are a few yet to be added. In Leviticus, Chapter 23, we read:

1. You may not do any work at all on the Sabbath! None. Nada. Saturday is a holy day to the Lord!
2. This is followed by a long list of necessary observances of "sacred occasions," and the rules are quite strict. For example, "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the Lord, and on the fifteenth day of that month the Lord's Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day you shall celebrate a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations. Seven days you shall make offerings by fire to the Lord..."

Chapter 24 says something about blasphemy.

1. "Anyone who blasphemes his God shall bear his guilt; if he also pronounces the name Lord, he shall be put to death." Uh oh! I know lots of people in serious trouble. Anyone cursing his God and pronouncing the name of YHVH is doomed!
2. If you kill a human being you shall be put to death.
3. If you maim someone, you shall be so maimed, "fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth."

Okay, that's enough. The point should be obvious but I have known literally many hundreds of Christians who miss it. The point is this: If you are going to pick one passage from the Bible, whether it's the book of Leviticus or another, and claim that has validity for us today, then you must say the same thing about all the commands that God gives in the Bible.

You cannot pick and choose. You cannot say, "Well, that was valid then but times have changed and so we must interpret things differently today."

 Mr. Swanson is my foil and I don't give a wit about him as he is an ignorant and vicious person who defames the name of his Lord. But there are too many ignorant souls who believe as he does. You cannot claim that homosexuality is an "abomination" or an "abhorrence" while at the same time neglect to honor the Sabbath or fail to follow the rules for God's "sacred occasions."

And you cannot say that the latter apply to the ancient Hebrews but not to us today and especially not to Christians today because we are no longer bound by the "old" Law. For if that were true then the passage relative to homosexuality must be thrown out along with the rest of the commands that God gave in the book of Leviticus and elsewhere. You can't grill a hamburger on your patio and claim homosexuals deserve to die. You cannot get a tattoo and shave your beard and treat illegal immigrants poorly! It comes down to this: If homosexuality is wrong, so is wearing a piece of clothing which contains a mix of materials.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Swanson! 

Notes:  The photo comes from Raw Story.  There is an article dealing with this topic at Raw Story here.  

Biblical quotations are from "The Jewish Study Bible - Tanakh Translation."

1 comment:

Bob Poris said...

I wonder what Leviticus thinks of Swanson.

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