Alex Haiken, blogger of On Being Jewish, Christian and Gay, gave a well thought objection on my previous article: Homosex: Thus Saith The Mosaic Law. This is partly my answer to his objection re-posted as an article for the benefit of those who are interest in this Ethical issue.
20th century discovery of“Ras Shamra” manuscripts, increased our understanding of Canaanite religion and culture. One notices that Canaanites practiced infant children sacrifice to Molech, snake worship, sexual intercourse with animals, sexual intercourse with same gender, shrine prostitution et cetera to appease and win blessing favor over their fertility gods viz. gods of reproduction of crops, livestock and women’s conception of children.
“Leviticus 18:22, [is] against engaging in sex with a cult prostitute, is sandwiched right between two other forbidden pagan cult rituals: one in verse 21 against child sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech, and another in verse 23 against women having sexual relations with animals.” Haiken argues.
Therefore “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Le. 18:22) is true only in association to pagan fertility cult ritual. Because “these vile cultic practices” are not “applicable to gay brothers and sisters” today. Leviticus 18:22 does not forbid same gender sexual intercourse per se.
More over “[a]n abomination = a pagan cult practice often to seek fertility.” says Haiken.
Responding Alex Haiken’s Objection:
I would re-post the context summary of Leviticus 18:22. “Context refers to the willed meaning that an author gives to the literary materials surround his text.”(Robert H. Stein, Playing by the Rules)
- 1-18 for the most part forbids sexual practice(“uncovering ones nakedness”) within family(incest).
- 19 forbids sexual practice with a woman in her menstrual uncleanness.
- 20 forbids sexual practices with ones neighbor’s wife.
- 21 forbids infant sacrifice to Molech.
- 22 forbids sexual intercourse between a male as with a woman.
- 23 forbids sexual practices with an animal.
If Leviticus 18:22 forbids sexual intercourse between a male as with a woman only because of its association with idolatry viz. pagan fertility cult ritual then it would logically follow that Leviticus 18:23 sexual practices with an animal, and Leviticus 18:21 infant child sacrifice are also forbidden only because of their association with idolatry.
Logic Behind Response To This Objection
- If it is the case that Leviticus 18 forbids sexual practices between a male as with a woman only in association with idolatry then it is the case that Leviticus 18 forbids sexual practices with an animal and infant sacrifice only in association with idolatry.
- It is not the case that Leviticus 18 forbids sexual practices with an animal and infant sacrifice only in association with idolatry.
- Therefore it is not the case that Leviticus 18 forbids sexual practices between a male as with a woman only in association with idolatry
If this argument is sound, then Alex Haiken’s objection fails. Haiken has to show how infant child sacrifice(18:21) and intercourse with animal(18:23) are morally binding despite their association with idolatry, while sexual practices between a male as with a woman(18:22) is not.
Last Word Study Abomination:
To’ebhah occurs over 130 times in OT, generally expressing a strong moral disapproval. I have attached a PDF word study of a word “abomination” ,thanks to Logos Bible Software 4, to every place to’ebhah occurred. It shows that Haiken is in error claiming that “abomination = a pagan cult practice often to seek fertility.”
N.B: To a layman: I would encourage you to read the context in each passage.
Comments and Objection: This article is about Leviticus 18 and 20, I do pray in love, gentleness and kindness, we will be able to discuss this issue at hand without straying away to other topics. I would so much appreciate a clear and to-the-point comments.