So-called “religious freedom” laws have been in the news way more than they should, especially since it’s 2017. In most cases, “religious freedom” is a euphemism, created to avoid saying “homophobic and/or Islamaphobic laws”. States such as North Carolina and Indiana have enacted “religious freedom” laws. Proponents of these bigoted pieces of legislation insist they were created to defend the rights of Americans to practice firmly held religious beliefs. This only appears to be the case with respect to the Christian faith, and only in situations where those firmly held beliefs are used to deny others equal access or rights.
When pressed, defenders of religious freedom laws insist that their opposition to gay marriage is not rooted in homophobia, but in following the word of their God. Interestingly enough, they don’t hold other sections of the Bible up to the same standards as those they read to expressly prohibit gay marriage. Interestingly enough, Jesus himself never mentioned gay marriage. Homosexuality is only referred to in the Old Testament, specifically, in the rules and laws prescribed by a strict reading of Leviticus. Specifically, Leviticus 18:22, which states “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus is an entire book devoted to prescribing rules for followers of that time. Essentially, if you’re against homosexuality because “the Bible tells me so”, you might accidentally be in violation of hundreds of other rules.
In fact, I would wager that even Mike Pence himself has committed a number of sins equally as grave as homosexuality, according to the section of the Bible often quoted as proof God was anti-Adam-and-Steve. These are just a few things supporters of religious freedom laws need to stop doing immediately, lest they unintentionally commit a sin as grave to them as homosexuality.
1. No Bacon For You
Leviticus 11:7 prohibits consumption of pigs, quite literally, “you shall not eat…the swine…they are unclean to you.” The Lord is pretty clear that this law is meant to be enforced. Later on, Leviticus 11:46-47, God reiterates that He means business: “This is the law of the beasts…to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.” Other animals that are off limits to religious freedoms supporters: rabbit, any part of the pig, ostrich, shrimp, lobster, clams, and crab among others.
2. Put That Football Down
Looking forward to the weekend, getting outside, and tossing the ol’ pigskin around? Not if you believe God is anti-gay. Leviticus 11:8 specifically prohibits you from touching the carcass of a swine. Thankfully, slippery synthetic pigskin is available from many sports manufacturing companies. But better check the label just to be safe.
3. Held A Homophobic Attitudes Towards Women
Leviticus only prohibits a male from having sex with another man, and is curiously silent with respect to women. Conversely, the provision of that same chapter of Leviticus prohibiting bestiality specifically mentions that it applies to men and women. Since the Bible is uncharacteristically silent, those who support religious freedom laws based on a strict reading of the Bible need to ease up on their anti-Lesbian rhetoric.
4. Ever Talked Back To Mom And Dad (i.e. went through teenaged years)
We’ve all been teenagers, even Mike Pence (one suspects, anyway). And no one curses out their parents more than teenagers. I’m sure we’ve all done it once or twice, even Mike Pence. Who knows, maybe Dad wouldn’t let him go to a Bread concert or something. Regardless of the cause, we can all pretty much agree that at one point, we’ve been less than respectful to dear old mom and dad, right?
Bad news guys. The penalty for this is pretty severe: “for everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” This is the same penalty that applies to homosexuality, so God must mean business when it comes to respecting your elders.
5. Wearing A Stylish Cotton Blend
Since the Bible is silent on manufacturing blended materials, I’m pretty sure Donald Trump is safe in this regard. But those who wear them are in a bit of trouble. Leviticus 19:19 is pretty clear about mixing source materials. It specifically states that “you shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.” That seems like an easy sin to avoid, but keep in mind that a wool suit with a linen label sewn in, or even stitched together with linen thread would be prohibited.
6. Reject Immigrants And Refugees
Those who want to do away with gay marriage and other equal rights should take a close look at their own viewpoints on immigration. It’s a controversial issue lately, with so many, the President-elect included, advocating for a total ban on immigration from certain countries or individuals of a certain religion. However, God makes it pretty clear that He expects immigrants to be treated with respect. Since he’s silent on which specific immigrants are deserving of respect and which aren’t, it’s safe to assume He meant all immigrants. Leviticus 19:33-34 states “and if a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. But the stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” As far as passages from the Bible goes, it doesn’t really get much clearer than that.
7. Shave And A Haircut
Nothing quite like a good old-fashioned shave and a haircut to get you ready for church on Sunday, right? Not quite. Leviticus 19:27 instructs men not to “round the corner of your head, nor destroy the corner or your beard.” Taken literally, it means that men cannot destroy, ruin, or spoil the hair on their heads or their beards. To put it practically, men are prohibited from cutting their hair or shaving their beards. Perhaps Pence and his ilk will have to think twice before stopping by the barbershop next.
8. Take Advantage Of The Poor
Leviticus pretty clearly sets out God’s viewpoint on the poor: they need to be helped. In fact, God advocates for the provision of money and food, without interest or profit. Leviticus 25:35-38 instructs God’s followers to help out if one of their “brethren becomes poor…take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God…you shall not lend him your money for usury, no lend him your food at a profit. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan”. God so strongly wants His followers to do the right thing, he slipped quite the guilt trip in those instructions: “Guys, I GAVE you Canaan, the least you can do is help your neighbor pay some bills and maybe eat a meal or two.” Earlier on, Leviticus 19:10 essentially instructs the faithful to leave some wine for “the poor and the stranger”. In a passage that should be especially troubling to Trump, Leviticus 19:13 strictly prohibits fraud, and specifically instructs followers to pay their employees, saying “the wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning”.
Of course I am not advocating we move to this type of reading of the Bible, nor am I implying that remaining kosher or following Torah law is hypocritical or wrong. What I am saying is that it is hypocritical of proponents of religious freedom laws to point to the Bible as a defense for their own brand of hatred when they don’t even follow all the rules they profess to be moral law.