Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Leviticus Strawman

Many are quite fond of the following clip:



I am not. I see it as a strawman argument that if anything only weakens the position of homosexuals who still consider themselves Christians (like me).

Humorous yes. Persuasive, no. The big problem is that the whole argument relies on the Old Testament.

Even the Fundies recognize that the Old Covenant was broken, and Jesus created a new one. That's why Paul goes to such great lengths to show that Gentiles may be Christians and that many of the old laws are just not important (in particular I am thinking of a time when Paul argued that it's okay for Christians to eat meat that had been sacrificed). The big problem for homosexuality in the eyes of the Fundies is that while Paul argued that many of the old laws about works were unimportant, he still lumped homosexuality as one of those things that is still bad.

That's why any defense of Christian homosexuality must be functional as opposed to formalist, i.e. consider the themes of Christ's message, such as love and the way that religious legalism ruins faith. The problem is that for the Fundies, that just doesn't cut it. In The Conservative Soul, Andrew Sullivan argues that one appeal of fundamentalism is that it is that it is easy to apply: the Bible says that this is bad, so it always is, and we don't have to think any more about it. That means that functional arguments aren't enough. It might be if the New Testament were silent on the issue, but it is not. Case closed: this satisfies prong one of Chevron. (I can't believe I just made an administrative law joke)

The best that homosexuals can do with the Fundies right now is a "love the sinner, hate the sin" + "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" kind of relationship.

2 comments:

Tim in Italy said...

We all make personal choices regarding religion. I left the Church, primarily, because I couldn't convince myself that they knew what they were talking about. You have decided to try and reconcile your faith with your sexual orientation. Good on ya. Otherwise the discussion is moot.

We live in a democracy where, according to Thomas Jefferson, 51% of the mob carries the other 49 with the caution that the 49% have rights, too. So with that in mind, I don't care what the Fundies believe, they need to keep it to themselves. They have no right, whatsoever, under ANY circumstances, to try and impose those beliefs on me or anyone else in this country. EVER.

And the sooner they realize that, the better off we'll all be.

Tim in Italy said...

Does anybody know what Sheen means when he tells Tobey, "That's how I beat him." at the end of the clip?