Many Americans will not eat pork. Many Americans site biblical injunctions as their reasoning for not eating pork. And, many Americans will not eat pork for other religious or health reasons as well.
Nonetheless, in America the sale of bacon is still legal.
Similarly, there are Americans who interpret the biblical prohibition against boiling a kid in its mother’s milk as meaning that they should not consume milk and meat in the same meal. But it is still legal for Americans who enjoy milkshakes with their cheeseburgers to do so.
The Bible is not and must not be the basis upon which laws of this country are made. The basis of the laws of this country are to be found in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as the hearts of our elected and appointed representatives.
Why shouldn’t we use the Bible as a basis for our laws? Because our society is thousands of years more complex than that of Biblical days. Because the Bible tolerates slavery, the slaying of disobedient children, and ownership of women. Moreover, countries in which religious doctrine is used as the basis of law have been governments that the United States of America has historically opposed.
Consequently, any citation of the Bible with regard to the civil law of marriage especially with regard to same-sex marriage, is moot.
Simply put: much like those who believe that God doesn’t want them to eat dairy and meat simultaneously abstain from eating bacon-double cheeseburgers, if you disapprove of homosexual unions, don’t enter into one.
I am very proud to tell you that I am a featured theologian in the soon to be released documentary For The Bible Tells Me So which explains how the Bible has been misinterpreted by the religious right with regard to homosexuality.
(It will be screening at Outfest in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, July 17 and will open nationwide in October. Get tickets quickly, it’s selling out.)
And, if you care to, click here to see this post on the streetprophets site where this article went up last week and received some comments.
Finally, a web version of this article is available here.
Ask R.Abbi – This Month’s Question
Dear R. Abbi –
How much does it bother you when Christians quote the New Testament to you? We’ve seen Jews in conversations when this happens explain they don’t adhere to the New Testament and don’t find it authoritative anymore than most Christians look to the Apocrypha for guidance. But we have Jewish friends who remind us that the majority of the NT (New Testament) is quoting the Torah (Old Testament) anyway so they don’t get too annoyed — except for that Yoshea-is-the-Messiah thing. What say you?
What a wonderful question! Let me answer it with another question, “Why should I be offended or bothered?”
I think we as religious people need to keep our eyes on the prize, so to speak.
Differences in what we call our Holy Books (whether you call it “The Gospel,” “The Talmud,” or “The Qur’an”) or what words are contained in each don’t really matter when you keep your focus on the greater goal: to live a life in concert with (the) God (of our understanding).
Us and them is a wonderful way to establish a false sense of self.
Moreover, it separates us from each other. The goal, when you really think about it, isn’t to be a part from, it’s being a part of.
With regard to that “Yoshea-is-the-Messiah thing,” I know of Christians who don’t believe this and Jews who do. To me, it’s about the goal . . . love, feeling satisfied, peace-filled, etc.
With eyes on the prize, –
If you have a question that you would like R.Abbi to answer, please e-mail: R.Abbi@rotb.org