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Perspectives

Chris Jepson

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I am fascinated by the human predilection for having it both ways. Republicans are frequently the best examples of this fondness for the “do as I say, not as I do” sort of mentality. It’s almost comical how many boys of the GOP are caught with their pants around their knees, or actually on their knees, often in the clutches of other men. Oh, my! All the while hypocritically professing their belief in the sanctity of marriage and/or loudly decrying homosexuality as such a grievous offense against the Christian god.

That has always intrigued me. What is it that deeply offends God? And how does lowly man know the mind of God? That, in and of itself, is a monumental example of hubris. That any group of human beings knows God’s intentions. But know they do because the Bible says it’s so. Let’s explore “that” knowledge by way of a fortuitous example.

David Swanson, senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, recently wrote an editorial in the Orlando Sentinel justifying why his church was at odds with the national body of The Presbyterian Church (USA). Swanson’s Orlando Church will not ordain gay and lesbian individuals to serve as church pastors. OK. And the reasoning?

Pastor Swanson claims, “God’s expressed justice means there are standards for right and wrong, and our determination of that is found in Scripture, a word created by that same holy God. In it, homosexual behavior is repeatedly shown to be contrary to God’s plan and purpose.”

How was it determined (justified) that gays and lesbians are unsuitable for leadership roles in the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando? The Bible.

But what I do not understand is the following: Are you allowed as a Christian to cherry-pick the words of God and to follow only those laws that are determined (in this case by the hierarchy of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando) as applicable? Is that how Christianity works? Oh, I’ll follow this rule but not that one?

My neighbor sometimes works on the Sabbath. It says that in Exodus 35.2 she should be put to death. Am I required to do it (put her to death) or should I first organize a committee or just have the local police do it?

While at Panera Bread last week, a casual acquaintance asked what I thought his daughter might be worth on the open market as he was considering selling her into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21.7. I recommended he contact his local “family values” congressman, who is, no doubt, conversant in such transactions.

Finally, I anticipate traveling to Costa Rica soon; would it be OK to pick up a slave there? I know we’re not to enslave our fellow countrymen but it’s perfectly OK if they are from outside the country. According to Leviticus 25.44, I can have slaves of either sex providing they are from neighboring nations. Having a Mexican slave today seems soooo gauche, don’t you think? But would a Costa Rican be OK?

It’s clearly ludicrous. But it isn’t. You cannot have it both ways. Oh, homosexuality is God-proscribed, according to scripture, but those other prohibitions (rules) are just the ramblings of a long-ago priesthood attempting to structure order out of chaos.

How about, we’re all human beings and leave it at that?

Quit cherry-picking!

Live and let live.