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Monday, October 3, 2022

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Opinion: If Leviticus is how you judge the world, you have a problem!

When I wrote about Israel Folau and his bigotry back in 2018 I thought it was an isolated event. The rugby world, at least in Britain and Australia seemed to have moved on and were embracing diversity in their ranks. 

But last week in Australia, a small group of players from the Warringah Sea Eagles refused to wear a rainbow detailed jersey that was celebrating the inclusion of LGBTQ people. The reason they didn’t like it was because it was contrary to their religious beliefs. 

Sigh. 

I’m not intending to go into that particular story. But I am going to share my thoughts about people who use ‘religious belief’ as an excuse to be prejudiced against a sector of society. 

Much of the anti-gay crap that comes from many Christians, and unfortunately a small number of rugby players concerns a passage from the biblical book of Leviticus. People use it to condemn gay men, and often claim it shows God hates gays.

So the rest of this opinion piece is directed at those fools who think that using a quote from the bible to back up their ignorance is a good thing to do. 

Dear prejudiced person.

You remember Leviticus right?  

It’s a part of that book you’re obsessed with that lists a whole load of things that apparently prohibited by God. 

But it wasn’t written for you, it was written well over 2,000 years ago for a select group of priests and lawyers. It was a code of behaviour for them because they saw themselves as, you know, ‘special’. 

Although it was never intended to apply to the general population it has been usurped by people such as you who consider yourselves equally ‘special’ as a way of creating distance from those you consider beneath you, such as the gays. However, you conveniently ignore the other things forbidden in Leviticus such as getting tattoos, or eating shellfish. 

So why do you pick and choose which bits of this ancient and somewhat crazy set of instructions to follow? Why do you SkyDaddy worshippers get so riled up over a bit of same-sex loving, yet you are totally chill with wearing two types of fabric together?

I suspect there are a number of answers. To begin with, I think sex scares the bejeezus out of you. It’s an urge we all have, and since you’ve been brought up with the notion that it’s kind of dirty and impure, your sexual thoughts really worry you. 

Problem is, sex is natural and normal and it’s really great. But you’ve been told that unless you are married and doing it in one particular way, then you’ll end up burning in hell for eternity. 

Just as an aside, why on earth would you worship a supposed deity who is so psychotic as to set his children on fire and torture them forever?  If that is what you believe in, then you really need some therapy.

But back to the picking and choosing thing. The other reason you do it, is because you really enjoy having control over other people right?  If you can make them feel terrified of sin and uncomfortable about sex, then you can tell them how to behave. 

More importantly, you are going to get a lot of confused and apprehensive people turning up in your church and paying a proportion of their earnings to you so that you can claim to wash away the sin you created in the first place.

But here’s the thing. The original flights of fancy in the bible were created to save a diaspora of people with no homeland from disappearing. Creating a set of rules for an oppressed minority meant they could keep their cultural identity across a range of countries and territories they found themselves in. 

In this modern age, those who quote scripture as a means to belittle people, simply show themselves to be as outdated as the stories they quote. 

And what weird and nasty stories they are. Here’s just a short sampler from the Old Testament:

Genesis 4:17 Cain has sex with his wife, but the only woman on earth at that time was his mother…..

Genesis 6:11-13 God kills everything on Earth in order to make the world less violent.

Exodus 9:14 God sends plagues so people can get to know him better. 

Ultimately, it isn’t God telling you to treat people like shit. It’s you!

You are already bigoted. In the case of gay people, you already hate us, or think we are beneath you. 

If you are racist, sexist, or homophobic already, you’ll find things in the bible that will help you feel better about your prejudice. Those things were written a long time ago by people who were also prejudiced jerks.  

Because it’s in print, it makes you feel better about your creepy views of other people. You think it gives you the right to have dominion over other people and to make money from them. 

Or, perhaps it’s something else. Maybe, just maybe, you have something in your own life of which you are ashamed. What better way to hide your own homosexuality, or your fraudulent activities, philandering, or addictions than by making a big song and dance about someone else’s life? 

If you accuse someone of being immoral, then surely no one will suspect you of hiding something. 

But let’s face it, essentially, you are a coward who hides behind the words written by someone thousands of years ago who was also a coward bent on making themselves feel special.

And you are doing so because despite your claims, it’s not God’s wish, it’s your wish. Admit it, you don’t like homosexuality. It’s personal to you for some weird reason, and you’ve found something in a book you love that makes you feel a bit better about your prejudice. 

Well, why don’t you show some courage, and try something different for a change. Why not look at your fellow human beings as belonging to the same family. Our diversity is what makes us fascinating. 

It’s ok if you want to believe in God, but why not step away from that dated bigotry, throw away that insane notion of ‘sin,’ which is only there to make you feel bad about yourself, and recognise all the diversity and beauty in the human race. I reckon you’ll feel better.

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