Cherry Picking the Bible

Found this on Facebook:

The verse that is tattooed is Leviticus 18:22. Fast forward a mere one chapter, to Leviticus 19:28:

Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

How was your cafeteria lunch?

"I would have done that to get out of religious school if my grandmother had ..."

Catholic School to Punish Students for ..."
"No one cares about them because they ARENT THE TOPIC OF CONVERSATION. THEY ARENT THE ..."

AL Governor Thinks Moore Did It, ..."
"Hmm ? The light from our sun is undoubtedly white, but includes all the colours ..."

Catholic School to Punish Students for ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://rockstarramblings.blogspot.com/ Bronze Dog

    Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

    Someone should get that as a tattoo so they can show it to the guy in the photo.

  • Sadie Morrison

    I’ll leave any tentative diagnoses to Dr. X, but I really have to wonder at the psyche of one who would undergo physical trauma on his own flesh to convey a message of disapprobation. I actually feel kind of sorry for this person.

  • DaveL

    Apart from the obvious hypocrisy, does anyone else find that to be a very strange verse to have tattooed on one’s body? It implies that verse holds special significance in this person’s life, as if it were a central guiding principle, or a personal motto. Has anyone ever seen, say, a coat of arms with the motto “Gay Sex is Bad”?

  • Larry

    Dude is probably as queer as a $3 bill.

  • laurentweppe

    Someone should get that as a tattoo so they can show it to the guy in the photo.

    Already done:

    http://www.tattooartists.org/Images/FullSize/000024000/Img24783_HPIM0451b.jpg

  • harold

    The “closet case” point has already been made, but it never hurts to make it twice – this guy is likely to be a closet case.

    If you get hostile toward gay people when you see gay people, or when Fox News reminds you of gay people, you are a bigot (and possibly a closet case).

    If you are obsessively thinking about gay people when there are no gay people around, then you are probably deeply disturbed, and probably a closet case.

  • ewanmacdonald

    I don’t think it’s possible *not* to be a cafeteria Christian, given that the bible contradicts itself many times. Then again, the ability to hold two opposing thoughts simultaneously sounds oddly familiar…

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    I am the LORD.

    Why does He feel the need to shout?

  • CJO

    “The LORD” is a clumsy English stand-in for the tetragrammaton: YHWH, the four Hebrew consonants which comprise the name of God in Judaism. The issue for Jews is that you can write it, but not pronounce it out loud (though the strict Biblical justification for this is far from clear; it’s a longstanding tradition though). When a rabbi reads the Scriptures, he will substitute either HaShem (“the name”) or Adonai (“the lord”), so that’s why we have English “LORD” but it’s always struck me as stupid: you don’t say the name “Yahweh” in English, but the point of the practice in Hebrew is that you see the name in the written text but say aloud something else.

  • harold

    Incidentally, if the KJV Bible is to be taken “literally”, Leviticus 18:22 only forbids male bisexuality, and it only forbids it if you use the same sexual position with both genders.

    “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

    The meaning is pretty clear. If you lie with mankind, but not with womankind, or lie with both, but in different ways, then thou hast not lain with mankind as with womankind. Therefore no problem.

    Of course, some pedants might argue that it merely forbids lying with every man in the world (“mankind”) and then lying with every woman in the world (“womankind”), in exactly the same way. Also, some might argue that it could be addressed to women as well as men, in which case, theoretically, it also forbids bisexual women from lying with men in exactly the same way that they lie with women.

    Just don’t eat shrimp or pork. Those activities are forbidden in a much less ambiguous way.

  • ArtK

    You do have to wonder about people who obsess more, and more publicly about gay sex, than the randiest of gay men.

  • Abby Normal

    This reminds me of a kerfuffle a few months ago when a woman tattooed “Vegan” on her tongue. Turns out one of the more common ingredients in black tattoo ink is burnt animal bones. So this vegan woman now has an animal product perpetually in her mouth.

    Incidentally, if those bones are from pigs, is the a biblical double fail for our homophobic friend?

  • http://www.facebook.com/NathanLnoyournotavailable nathanlevesque

    I find the wording here a little ambiguous. Is it possible that it’s saying to not print words upon you for the dead?

  • http://themidwestatheist.blogspot.com Leo Buzalsky

    Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

    lol! A guy I used to work with joked once or twice about getting a tattoo that says that. I think he wanted to show the hypocrisy of Christians getting any type of tattoo.

  • carolw

    I saw the pictured young man’s tattoo a long time ago. From what I recall of the description of him, he is of the “bro” type.

    One of my tattoos is a memorial tat for a friend who has passed, just to cover my bases to piss off fundies who would like to throw Lev. 19:28 at me.

  • amenhotepstein

    This reminds me of a kerfuffle a few months ago when a woman tattooed “Vegan” on her tongue. Turns out one of the more common ingredients in black tattoo ink is burnt animal bones. So this vegan woman now has an animal product perpetually in her mouth

    Actually, she already has an animal product permanently in her mouth – it’s her tongue!

  • CJO

    Is it possible that it’s saying to not print words upon you for the dead?

    The whole context is the prohibition of the cultic practices of local polytheists (at the time Leviticus was written). So likely it’s two separate things: ritual tattoos, and ritual cuttings made on the body to express mourning. For all the justification and elaborate explanation for this stuff engaged in by rabbis for millennia now, the whole of Torah could almost be summed up: “Don’t behave like those other people, they are abominable in my sight. I am Yahweh, and I will fuck your shit up.”

  • Michael Heath

    Sadie Morrison wrote:

    I really have to wonder at the psyche of one who would undergo physical trauma on his own flesh to convey a message of disapprobation. [emphasis mine – MH]

    Word of the day.

  • Michael Heath

    Supposedly Yahweh:

    “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

    Harold writes:

    The meaning is pretty clear. If you lie with mankind, but not with womankind, or lie with both, but in different ways, then thou hast not lain with mankind as with womankind.

    I’ve always understood this differently though admittedly less pedantic than your version. It’s God ordering men not to have sex with other men, where’s he too cowardly to describe that which he’s prohibiting and instead falls back on an analogous euphemism – similar to how people use “sleep with” rather than “had sex with”.

    Of course this god is a piss-poor communicator whose communication skills are closer to Sarah Palin’s than that of a standard-issue corporate middle manager, let alone humanity’s finest communicators. I continue to be bemused at how Christians who claim the Bible is God’s word are unable to figure out how insulting that would be to an authentically omnipotent deity given the rank incompetence and idiocy of what the Bible’s authors and editors claim for him.

  • michaelcrichton

    Actually, there’s an argument amongst religious tattoo-aficionados that the key words in that verse are “for the dead”. Tattoos and other scarifications are blasphemous only if done in a pagan religious context. Tattoos that are purely decorative are allegedly A-ok. Some Christians will also claim that tattoos for _their_ religion are also fine, but I’ve never heard of a Jewish person making that argument.

  • timberwoof

    Someone once told me that one perfectly reasonable pronunciation of YHWH is “Yahoo!”

    And please, please don’t give us all those closet cases! Augh, there’s nothing so obnoxious as a former rabid homophobe insistent on expressing his sorrow and anguish by offering blow jobs to every gay man he meets.

  • savoy47

    I think the statement he trying to make is – if you’re gay you should do it standing or on you knees because god don’t want men to have horizontal sex.

  • harold

    Michael Heath –

    Of course, I was just pointing out the absurdity of literalist claims, in a light-hearted way.

    As it happens, unlike some non-religious people, I’m a fan of the KJV Bible as a psychologically powerful and culturally important work. I also see the Bible as a valuable historical and anthropological document. If you’re studying the history or anthropology of the ancient middle east, you’re better off with the most original forms you can find, but it you’re studying the history or anthropology of early modern England, KJV is a powerful resource.

    As an unambiguous book of rules, it isn’t much good, except that certain rules, the ones mainly ignored by creationists, are pretty clear.

    (Although, again, I’m not religious, and not an expert, I will note that the Bible overall is obviously very ambivalent with regard to homosexuality. It barely mentions it, and implies that at least one positive figure, King David, had homosexual relationships. The same is true about prostitution. Non-specific words that are translated as “harlot” or “whore” are sometimes used in a negative way, but overall, the Old and New Testament abound in positive references to female sex workers and women who use sex to bargain with men.)

  • otrame

    For all the justification and elaborate explanation for this stuff engaged in by rabbis for millennia now, the whole of Torah could almost be summed up: “Don’t behave like those other people, they are abominable in my sight. I am Yahweh, and I will fuck your shit up.”

    There is even a song about it. NSFW unless you have your headphones on.

  • pa747sp

    He could have saved a lot of money by just having ‘I’m a dumb bigot’ on his arm. Or even his forehead, just to make sure no one was under any delusion about his idiocy.

  • vmanis1

    The older `Jehovah’ (`Yahowah’) is nothing more than `YHWH’ with the vowels from `Adonai’. More recent translators believe `Yahweh’ is closer to how it was actually pronounced. Orthodox Jews still write `G-d’, while Reform Jews write `God’. (`God’ has to be a title, since it clearly isn’t an English translation of `YHWH’, so I think the Orthodox have it wrong; cf the White Knight’s Song from Through The Looking Glass.)

    As for the Holiness Code, it’s generally believed to have a substantial component of separatism in it. Along with provisions based on the Ten Commandments and other aspects of ritual purity, there are a fair number of constraints of the `they do it, so we won’t do it, to show we’re better’ variety. Some provisions are purely symbolic: sowing a field with two different kinds of seeds is bad because it’s a symbol of Israelites and other peoples mixing. Some feel that Lev 18:22 is about some variety of same-sex temple prostitution practised by non-Israelites. Of course, now it’s a bit late to tell.

    Although no mention of sexual relations is made, the Book of Ruth is often considered lesbian-positive, in that Ruth and Naomi form an intense strong bond (`And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God’). That has a strong emotional resonance, because the point of the book is inclusiveness: Ruth was a Moabite, and therefore `the enemy’; yet as the book points out in its conclusion, she was an ancestor of King David. (Marriage in `Ruth’ is shown clearly to be a contract with a financial and property basis, a fact that NOM carefully ignores.) Likely Ruth was written as an argument against the kind of separatism I just mentioned.

  • jakc

    It will be okay because when this closet case comes out, all he’ll have to do is add “if you’re doing it right” after abomination.

  • ManOutOfTime

    I had a girlfriend once who put a post-it on the fridge to remind her not to eat ice cream when she was dieting. Same idea.

  • briandavis

    The “closet case” point has already been made, but it never hurts to make it twice – this guy is likely to be a closet case.

    As fun as it is to imagine him in discomfort when we wakes from a fevered Justin Bieber dream, some people are just haters without being closet cases. When I see someone with white power tattoos I don’t assume that they’re overcompensating for their shame at being a multiculturalist at heart.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    IIRC this social reject was arrested for beating up a gay student.

  • Pingback: Religious freedom is Islamic | Susan Campbell()