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Condemning others or condemning ourselves?

shlomo_amar_joseph_sherman_ohr_somayach_jerusalem_israelOn the margin of what the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem recently said about homosexuals –  that homosexuality is punishable by death – I would like to propose a reflection on some passages of the Bible.

The only one who can really afford to say that homosexuals should be sentenced to death is just the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Do you know why? Because for him all the Old Testament is normative for the Jewish community that he represents. But is it also true for us?

First of all let’s read ALL of the chapter from which the verse that condemns homosexuality is taken (Leviticus chapter 18):

None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LordThe nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness. The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. 11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman. 13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman. 14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. 15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness. 17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. 18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time. 19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. 20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her. 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

Why we condemn homosexuals and we don’t condemn with the same ferocity those people that have sex with a cousin? Leviticus 18:6 says instead: None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.

Why nobody condemns overtly and strongly those people who betray his wife or her husband? Many people say that there is the confession. Again, the chapter where homosexuality it is condemned is very clear about this question (Lv 18:20): Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her. Jesus never speaks of homosexuality in the gospels. He has instead words of fire against those people who betrayed the wife or the husband.

To say nothing of those who have sexual relations with animals. It maybe it’s something so reprehensible that there is no need to condemn. But why don’t condemn overtly and strongly this practice? Leviticus speaks clearly: Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

Only the Old Testament homosexuality is punishable by law. In the New Testament, St. Paul speaks about it in reference to the Christian community of Rome (cf. Romans 1:26 ff.) and not to all Christianity.

There are only two choices. Or we observe all the Old Testament, as the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem does, or we accept what Jesus says that all the Law and the Prophets are summed in the ‘law of love’. The rest is just the Old Testament.

In short, my job is not to defend gay people, but to question us if behind all this fury against homosexuals there are unresolved psychological problems. It may be that people who condemns homosexuals – it isn’t the case of the Chief rabbi of Jerusalem – has unmentionable feelings … what’s the problem?. The important thing is only one: we don’t have to be hypocrites before God and we don’t have to point the finger against other people, projecting our problems on the others.

Simone Venturini

Scrittore

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