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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Not this again.

Every so often (like every two weeks, it sometimes seems) someone hits on the "new" idea that people against homosexuality are hypocrits because they only read this one line in the Jewish Bible and no others. Hilarity ensues. (This meme has been around forever. Why do people treat it like someone came up with fresh each time?)

And, yes, they are. Either you believe that Christianity makes the Torah laws moot (other than those specifically referenced in the NT, I guess, plus, for some reason, the Ten Commandments) or you believe they are still in force, which contradicts the NT. (Not that people who aren't Jewish are liable for those laws anyway, but let's pretend they're for all the nations, not just one.)

So their point is, actually, right.

Except. They do it by *making fun* of those silly Torah laws that NO ONE follows, such as kashrut or shatnez, or maybe laws that aren't followed because they were voluntary in the first place - *if* you do this thing, this is the way to do it. If you don't do this thing, just move along to the next verse, although take a lesson in proper behavior along the way.

Unless - I couldn't get past the shrimp in the current video - they say something about converting to Judaism - that they know that there are people out there who actually obey these laws.


Well... for example, I don't look for a Leviite when I have a sore on my hand to inquire if it's leprosy.

I should hope not. You want a Kohen.

Ordinary levites don't help - you need a Cohen. Also, there are books for Cohanim to help them learn the laws of tzaarat - even books in English. However, ISTR chazal decreed that tzaarat no longer exists because we aren't careful enough about our speech(*). In any case, we don't wory about tumah and tahar except for niddah and cohen issues until the Beit Hamkidash is rebuilt.

I know ritual purity and non are less important than they used to be, but the point it many religious Jews wouldn't go looking for what to do about the skin sore (and yes I know it's not really leprosy, it's a bad translation).

Personally, I reserve my mockery for Christians who cherry-pick Old Testament admonitions to find the ones that support their personal horror of homosexuality while ignoring the ones that, inconveniently, condemn things they enjoy (shrimp, for instance). Particularly since, as you point out, there are inherent contradictions between the OT and NT that are, in part, the foundation of Christianity.

And I think that's usually what's being made fun of. It's that inherant hypocracy, not the law itself.

I see that you've mentioned the point that I was coming in to observe, which is that the laws for the Jews are different than the laws for the Christians.

The problem is that the people who are using the Levitical Codes as their justification for being against homosexuality seem to be mostly Christian and not Jewish, and thus should (theoretically) not be looking back to the Torah/OT for guidance at all. Which leaves them with one rather ambiguous statement by Paul that is more likely to apply to temple prostitutes than it is to male/male (or female/female) loving relationships, and that's not a lot to go on.

(Are you talking about God Hates Shrimp or something else?)

I have often wondered - and I don't say this because I have anything against the OT but I am wildly not very religious except in some extremely complicated ways (and I say all that to say that I'm really trying not to be offensive) - what it would be like to start a sect of Christianity that only looked at the NT, and only considered the OT as a historical document in the sense of "this is what was before Jesus and is interesting as backstory but not as guidelines for living".

Of course, that would still leave me with the problem that is the Pauline teachings, but...

Do you think I could make a living off of it? :P

There's a video going round with a Prop 8 musical.

Features Jack Black as Jesus eating shrimp. (Because Jesus was, apparently, a bad Jew. Or something.)

If they made a point of, oh, "Are you guys Jewish?" somewhere along the way, I might be happier.

(no subject) - (Anonymous)   Expand  

Your second para: almost exactly what "my daughter the theologian" says - the only difference is re the 10 Commandments: she says they are so heavily qualified in the NT that the two-item summary is all that is relevant to Christians.

She has the same views on the people you refer to as Beatrix Potter had on Unitarians (to whom her family belonged): anybody who is going to go down that road at all should do it properly and convert to Judaism. She does not approve of the "pick and mix" approach to Scripture.

She does not approve of the "pick and mix" approach to Scripture.

What other alternative to this besides fundamentalism is there?

(no subject) - (Anonymous)   Expand  

I understand the power the trivializing has for the intended audience, but I do find it offensive and uninformed, and also it's as if what is being argued is that the laws exist but are trivial -- sort of like rationalizing "everybody does it anyway" -- rather than that they are all laws that by the theological beliefs of the intended audience do not need to be followed. If the categorizing holds up, I agree, there really isn't a need to trivialize.
I haven't seen any arguments with respect to a polygamy counter-example. If the cherry-pickers believe civil marriage should be defined by biblical depictions, then of course they'd want not to limit a man to one wife. If their answer is that polygamy is no longer acceptable in our society, then they make the point that society changes and our understanding of laws evolve.
Can you imagine if it were the polygamists lobbying to make having more than one wife civilly legal? The hypocrites in question couldn't argue that the bible says no, and they aren't exactly students of and of course not adherents to rabbinical law.
It strikes me as so odd when folks like that look only at the plain biblical law with no context and no interpretation. We are so lucky to have the oral law and talmud and all the centuries of responsa. It's like eating raw something that is inedible uncooked, or at the very least like trying to reinvent the wheel, when I hear people cherry-pick Torah law and assume it means their literal understanding of it.

I find the argument about polygamy especially interesting, since the most visible group against Prop 8 are Mormons, who should want to make multiple spouses possible.

I have no problems with that. Polyandry is forbidden to Jews, of course, but I have no problems with any and all sorts of poly relationships, provided it's among consenting adults, of course, to be legal. Not that I have any intention of sharing jonbaker. He's MINE.

To be honest, even as someone who is no longer an Orthodox Jew that argument always annoys me too, but you put it much better than I could.

Though to be even more honest, that's part of where things started to fall apart for me: I realized I could no longer believe the homosexuality part and since it was all tied together...

(I tried looking at different interpretations but Orthodox people told me they weren't really Orthodox interpretations at all so I just gave up.)

I had a discussion of this recently. There is nothing in the Torah at all about f/f relationships, and I've seen Orthodox (yes, Orthodox) interpretations that it's only m/m anal sex that's actually forbidden.

However, yes, it is all tied together. I know gay Orthodox Jews who manage to reconcile things, but it can't be easy for them.

Edited at 2008-12-03 06:15 pm (UTC)

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

That Sorkin wrote that scene is intensely irritating to me. But that's true for many things about Sorkin.

I'm sure they weren't thinking, "Hey, maybe there are people who actually hold the laws we're mocking seriously." But people asking for equal rights need to consider things like that less they also be labeled hypocrites.

And, I'm sorry. Heinlein (who popularized the idea that the word is "poisoner")is NOT a Hebrew scholar. That phrase does mean witch - and is, in fact, feminine. There is no ambiguity about it. However, "witch" in this case might mean one who conjures the dead. It most certainly has NEVER referred to midwives. In fact, the one mention of midwives in the Torah is highly complimentary.

You said it sister!

Thank you!

Do you have a link or something?

Now I'm curious to see this video.

Re: Do you have a link or something?

I don't have a specific link, but if you go to my "friends-of-friends" list it's all over the place. I think klwalton linked it, but I'm not 100% sure, if you don't want to go poking around.

Edited to add: It is in klwalton's journal, but it's also here:


Edited at 2008-12-03 10:26 pm (UTC)

After you replied to my comment on pester's journal, I came over here to check you out...and spent 1/2 an hour reading this discussion. Can I friend you, please?

Of course you may! Friending you back, too.

(Welcome to the BEST friends list on LJ.)