Alright. Let's get one thing straight, fundie homophobes- you don't get a pass when you "quote" the Leviticus Bible verse saying:
If man lies with a man as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.
This may come as a shock to the "hate the sin, love the sinner" set, but by quoting that verse, it's not God saying that gays should be put to death- it's YOU. It's not simply a personal religious view or a debatable "political difference" or a great talking point. YOU are saying that I should be put to death.
This week we've heard it from everyone from a Ugandan Pastor to another California Beauty Queen, Miss Beverly Hills 2010 Lauren Ashley. And despite them both saying they 'don't hate gay people', there's not much love in saying I should have 'blood upon me.' That's not really a debatable point.
Of course we've all heard that Leviticus quote in every debate about homosexuality and LGBT rights that comes up. Everyone from Focus on the Family to politicians to Westboro Baptist Church throws that verse up as a bump-sticker quote that explains why they hate us- and why it's beyond their control that they do.
They just can't help it- God says so.
Uganda's Porn Peddling Pastor Martin Ssempa uses the quote to explain why his country should pass the "Kill the Gays" Bill, even while at the same time he says he doesn't hate gays. It's just about the act, not the person. It's out of his hands- that verse means we should die. It's not up to him.
Even the new Miss Beverly Hills 2010 Lauren Ashley uses the verse to explain why it's okay if she hates the gays:
The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. In Leviticus it says, 'If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.' The Bible is pretty black and white. I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that's a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life.
Yet in the same breath, she says she personally doesn't hate gays, we just have a friendly difference of opinion:
That isn't really the issue. I have a lot of friends that are gay, and ... I have a lot of friends who have different views, and we share our views together.
See? It's not Miss Beverly Hills who thinks you should die- just ask her gay friends!
This verse has become a homophobic cover for people to try to wash their hands of the damage they are doing and the violent, extremist views they hold. It's become an accepted talking point for bigots and haters, parroted without any real thought about the consequences of saying a swath of people should be killed because their personal idea of 'God says so.' (Oddly, the same people breeze over other 'abomination' verses in the same book and put on their mixed fiber clothing and eat their shrimp scampi after church.) I've personally heard that 'gays should be killed verse way too much in my life. It's what started my life as an activist when a skycap played it over the intercom in Fort Lauderdale Airport as a joke. Because saying I should die is simply hilarious.
Think it's a stretch to mention the Ugandan Pastor and a California Beauty Queen in the same post? It's not. It's the "trickle down" hate effect. Leaders crow about how gays should die and then small-minded bigots use it in casual conversation. It's all the same hate.
That's why it's important that we don't give passes to people like Miss Beverly Hills. She invoked 'death for gays' in a discussion on gay marriage (and pageants) and wasn't challenged by the interviewer. That's how accepted the talking point has become. That's what we are facing.
And that's why we have to always call it out.
Let's be clear: when you trot out this Bible verse, you are endorsing it, embracing it, and wrapping yourself in it. No amount of "I have gay friends", "it's just the act", or excuse-making will soften it. YOU are saying I should be killed.
You can't wipe your hands of it, you can't act shocked when violence happens to LGBT people, and you can't distance yourself from it. YOU own it. YOU are part of it.
And no amount of fancy pageant walking will change that.