The News Quiz is a satirical take on the week’s events which is aired on the popular 6:30 comedy slot on BBC Radio 4. This week one of the topics in the spotlight was the Church of England’s debate about the ordination of gay bishops.
The banter included a tirade by one of the News Quiz regulars, the comedian and evangelical atheist Jeremy Hardy. He presented to a guffawing audience the following summary of the Bible’s stance on homosexuality:The Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination. The Bible also says that eating shellfish is an abomination. So much for the Bible. He quoted chapter and verse. The audience loved it.
In case you’re interested in what the Bible actually says on the subject …
Leviticus chapter 11 lists the animals that were ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’to the Israelites. Of the unclean animals it says ‘they shall be an abomination to you’. this includes shellfish. (The book of Leviticus in the Old Testament contains the laws which God gave to the Israelites, which became known as the Law of Moses.)
Leviticus 18:22 says that homosexuality is abomination.
Mr Hardy asserted therefore that homosexuality is equivalent to eating shellfish.
Actually, that’s rubbish:
1.Although the English word ‘abomination’ is the same in some English translations, the original Hebrew words that are used in the two chapters are different. The word used in Leviticus 11 means simply ‘loathsome’. The word used in Leviticus 18 means ‘morally disgusting’.
2.The Bible’s stance on homosexuality does not rest purely on Leviticus, as many of its critics infer. Condemnation of homosexuality is a consistent stance which the Bible maintains from Genesis through to the New Testament. (If you’d like some references, see Genesis chapters 18 & 19, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9.)
Christians are not told to observe the Jewish laws of clean and unclean animals (e.g. Acts 15:19-20). It’s perfectly OK for Christians to eat shellfish. However, the condemnation of practising homosexuality is as clear in the New Testament as in the Old Testament. (Note that we say ‘practising homosexuality’ – that’s what’s condemned. There are those who experience the tendency and resist it, the Bible does not condemn them.)
If you’d like to make a comment or know more about this subject, please get in touch.